President Yoweri Museveni has cautioned security agencies against the use of torture in order to extract confessions from suspects. He says that the use of torture is unnecessary, wrong and has possible mistakes that may interfere with the fight against crime.
Museveni’s caution is embedded in a letter dated May 15, copied to the Chief of Defence Forces, The Inspector General of Police and the Director General of Intelligence Services.
He points out that the wrong person or somebody who is totally innocent may be unfairly tortured and that sometimes, somebody may admit guilt just to be spared from torture.
Museveni further argues that confessions by criminals are not necessary. He adds that even if the suspects do not admit their guilt, criminals can get convicted if the investigators do their work well through finger-prints, photographs, DNA tests, eye-witnesses accounts and the use of other scientific methods.
The letter comes barely a week after glaring images emerged of the Kamwenge town council chairperson who was reportedly tortured in the hands of the Uganda Police Force. The victim Geoffrey Byamukama had gaping wounds on his knees and ankles, which he said resulted from beatings by police while in detention at Nalufenya police station in Jinja.
Several other suspects charged in the recent murder of police commander Andrew Kaweesi recently complained in court of being beaten while at the same facility. Police Spokesperson Asan Kasingye acknowledged that Byamukama was tortured by police officers, who have since been arrested to answer for their sins.
But Museveni says that was uncalled for. He argues that security agencies should use patient means to gather evidence, adding that evidence from torture is not reliable. He says that anger should not push security personnel and operatives to use torture as a tool of investigation.
“Of course, the criminals are most annoying by using the cowardly but shallow methods of the bodabodas, taking advantage of the large number of vehicles and people in order to commit crime and hide. That, however, should not make us panic and go back to the defective traditional methods of okutatsya,” read the letter in part.
“We defeated Lakwena, we defeated Kony who was being heavily supported by external elements, we defeated the ADF that was, again, being heavily supported by foreigners, and we defeated the UPA of Teso and disarmed the Karimojong cattle-rustlers by removing 40,000 rifles from them. We cannot fail to cope with cowards using bodabodas to kill people…” Museveni said.
He adds that with a little adjustment, Uganda shall avenge the deaths of All Persons Who Have Been Killed Violently in the recent past. These include Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga, Prosecutor Joan Kagezi, Hajji Daktur Muwaya, Sheik Jowat Madangu, Sheikh Yusuf Ssentamu, Sheik Yunis Sentuga, Hajji Mohammed Ssebaggala and Tito Okware.
The others are AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi his body guard Cpl Erau Kenneth and Driver Godfrey Wambewo, SPC Karim Tenywa, PC Babale Muzamiru, Owori John Steven, Cpl Owori Julius, SPC Isiko, Macho Steven, Okumu Ronald, Sheik Rashid Wafula and Major Mohammad Kiggundu.