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KAMPALA- Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga has raised a red flag over the violence meted out on Ugandans by police in recent days, accusing the Force of deviating from the “fundamental change” promised by President Museveni in 1986.
Delivering a sermon at Rubaga Cathedral yesterday, Dr Lwanga became the latest voice to condemn the high-handedness that has been employed by police to disperse residents of Kampala, expressing dissatisfaction with attempts to impeach the Lord Mayor, Mr Erias Lukwago.
“Former President Amin is always referred to as a brutal president but what some of the State organs are doing is not any better from what Amin did. President Museveni in his inaugural speech said he had brought a fundamental change not a mere change of guards but some state actors seem to have forgotten [that],” Dr Lwanga said.
He added: “What we are seeing on the streets is surprising. Police are beating, mistreating and humiliating people which is far from enhancing the rule of human rights. When we see such things, we wonder whether state organs respect the rule of human rights.”
Yesterday, Mr Ofwono Opondo, the executive director of the government Media Centre, quickly issued a rebuttal, indicting the cleric for using the wrong forum to express dissatisfaction against the police.
Mr Opondo tasked the Archbishop to provide details of specific cases of police brutality.
“That is his opinion. He is an adult who is entitled to his opinion. He lived here during Amin’s and Obote’s regimes and if that is his assessment, well and good. Let him bring specific cases against the police. Avenues of complaints against the police are not in church, they are in courts of law or administrative units of the police,” Mr Opondo said.
Mr Lukwago, accompanied by NRM and Opposition MPs, attended the mass that was filled to capacity to mark the World Aids Day.
Earlier, MPs representing the constituencies of Kampala attacked Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi for suggesting that the government still considers Mr Lukwago impeached.
The cleric’s concerns come after Parliament’s Human Rights Committee summoned Gen Aronda Nyakairima, the minister of Internal Affairs, and the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, to explain why the force was unleashing violence to breakdown peaceful assemblies.