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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Senior Policeman demoted over brutal arrest: Selective justice!! How about Besigye’s tormentor Arinaitwe


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Senior Policeman demoted over brutal arrest

Publish Date: Apr 23, 2012

By Donald Kiirya

A senior police officer has been demoted after he was found guilty of brutal arrest of a woman who was suspected of instigating violence that marred the election of the Buikwe district L.C 5 chairperson, last year. Assistant Superintendent of Police, Andrew Gidoi, former Officer in charge (OC) of Njeru Police Post in Buikwe was found guilty of negligence of duty that resulted into a cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment of an individual. Gidoi believed to be in his early 50s was consequently demoted from the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) to Inspector of Police (IP) and also suspended from duty by Police disciplinary court on Thursday.

The court that sat at the Jinja Central Police station was chaired by a Superintendant of Police Pufredic Lukooya. Sections o f the media (Bukedde of February, 27th, 2011) showed Gidoi and his subordinate, sergeant Tabu Bruhan, throwing Annet Namudu a resident of Njeru town council onto a Police patrol truck.

On the fateful day, when Police received a call over election violence at Bujowali Church Polling Station during the elections of L.C 5 chairpersons on February 25, Gidoi commanded his colleagues including Tabu and a Police constable to arrest the alleged ring leaders of the confusion, Namudu and Haruna Wagaba both residents of Njeru. However, they handled Namudu in a manner described by human rights activists as inhuman, by throwing her on a Pick-up truck with her legs in the air and head down.

Activists argued that the act exposed her to shame as Gidoi watched the proceedings. Gidoi and Tabu were first summoned at the Professional Standards Unit at Nalufenya Police Station in Jinja from where they were arrested. Tabu later was absolved since he was being commanded by his boss Gidoi.

During the court proceeding, Lukooya said prosecution investigated the case and found that the Police personnel inhumanly handled Namudu during the time of arrest under the command of the defendant (Gidoi). “The defendant’s evidence in his defense was so discredited since he failed to disgrace evidence by the prosecution,” said Lukooya. The prosecutor, detective inspector Henry Magoola told court that the Gidoi was a senior police officer whose main role was to protect life and property in partnership with public. Magoola, who is also the CID Officer at Njeru Police Post, said Gidoi failed to accomplish his duty because of negligence or lack of knowledge.

“Article 24 of the Constitution of Uganda provides for the dignity and respect of an individual. It prohibits cruel, degrading, inhuman treatment of an individual yet Article 20 (II) of the constitution provides for promotion and preservation of human rights by organs of government,” said Magoola. He added that Gidoi, being a member of the Police force which falls under the executive arm of government would have upheld Uganda’s constitution of 1995. Lukooya later requested Gidoi to say something during the session. Gidoi said “I would like this court to be lenient to me because I am a parent and have 13 children to look after.

 I am a serving officer without a bad record and I have never been in court since I joined the Police force in 1980.” Lukooya adjourned court for ten minutes as he prepared his verdict. When court resumed Lukooya said “I have listened to the submission of the prosecution, opinion of members and the defaulter says he has served Police for the last 32 years but he could not have errored as a Senior Police officer.” Lukooya added that Gidoi’s punishment would serve to restore discipline in the force.

 “Pictures that were published in Bukedde might have contributed much damage to the confidence that public has in the Uganda Police and it might take time to rebuild, therefore this court recommends a reduction in rank of ASP Andrew Gidoi,” said Lukooya while reading the verdict. He said that the defaulter was convicted to reduction in rank due to his scandalous manner contrary to section 44 code 14 (2) of the Police Act adding that they ignored the alternative charge of discreditable or Irregular conduct under section 44 code 12 (28) of the same Act. Lukooya said the second charge was ignored because the defaulter could not be punished on two counts, contrary to the law. He said Gidoi had a right of appeal to the Police council appeals court in a period of 14 days from the day of the sentence.

Gidoi said he will appeal against the sentence in a higher court. Namudu who attended the court session clad in the very attire she wore on the fateful day, expressed happiness about the verdict adding that she never believed Police could convict one of their own over misbehavior in public. She commended government for setting Police disciplinary courts, which she said would help instill discipline in police officers. “I call upon the public to copy a leaf from me, they should not fear reporting police officers who harass them, report them so that justice takes its course,” a happy Namudu said.