Lamwkaers in Uganda are divided over an apology issued by the country’s Inspector General Of Police (IGP) General Kale Kayihura with regard to accusations of torture levelled against the force.
Reports by local news agencies indicate that some legislators are describing the apology as an admission of guilt while others say it is a step in the right direction.
While in the eastern district of Mbale over the weekend, IGP Kayihura publicly apologised over police brutality against civilians following publication of gruesome pictures of suspects tortured by police officers. The published pictures were for suspects arrested in connection to the shooting dead of three police officers including former police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
Kaweesi, his driver Godfrey Mambewa and bodyguard Kenneth Erau, were gunned down on the morning of March 17 this year in Kulambiro, a suburb of Kampala.
Police launched a massive investigation to find and apprehend the killers. In the process, dozens of people were arrested and detained at the Jinja-based Nalufenya Special Detention facility. It is from here that pictures of tortured suspects emerged.
The gruesome pictures sparked off condemnation from the public and parliament which called for the prosecution of police officers involved in the torture.
President Yoweri Museveni later wrote a letter to his security chiefs warning them against torturing suspects to obtain confessions.
On Sunday, while speaking to civilians at Nauyo Primary School in Mbale, Kayihura asked people to forgive police for using excessive force when executing their duties.
His apology has now raised reactions from legislators with Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi describing it as an admission to police brutality.
Kivumbi said that Ugandans need fewer apologies from IGP Kayihura but justice against police officers who torture suspects. He also demanded police fairness to all Ugandans arrested citing their immediate production before the courts in line with the laws of the land.