Crime & Investigation

Police: We Arrested Kamuswaga to Protect VP Ssekandi

The Inspector General of Police, more about Gen Kale Kayihura has spoken out on circumstances under which BBC journalist Catherine Byaruhanga and her crew were arrested at Abim Hospital in Northern Uganda on Saturday.

In a brief message on his Twitter handle, cost Kayihura said Byaruhanga “was asked to go to the police station after the Abim Hospital superintendent called the police for assistance.”

Kayihura further said, “after ascertaining her identity and reasons for being there she was advised to follow the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.”

Byaruhanga was at the hospital for a news story.

The medical facility became the centre of attention when opposition strongman Dr Kizza Besigye exposed the horrid conditions under which patients are treated.

The images of broken beds, non-functioning water pipes and rotten mattresses stirred public anger.

The Health Ministry would later issue instructions to all government medical facilities not to provide access to politicians and press without express permission from the Permanent Secretary.

The Ministry stressed that hospitals are restricted areas which could not be visited by anyone at any point in time.

“Official visiting hours are provided for relatives and other persons wishing to visit the patients. The privacy of patients and staff integrity should be respected. All information, especially clinical information is strictly confidential,” stated the PS in his instructions.

Dr Lukwago noted that “photographing, filming and interviewing of patients and staff are only permitted for certain purposes such as approved research by a relevant authority.”

Politicians intending to make official visits to health facilities were advised to seek permission first from the hospital administrators and to speak only to authorised people.

“For operational matters, the in-charge of the health facility is the official spokesperson. Matters of policy and political nature should be handled by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health,” he added.

Byaruhanga and her team were released on Saturday evening.
The Uganda Police have regretted the arrest of Kamuswaga Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli but quickly added the security detail of Vice President Edward Ssekandi acted decisively to protect the senior government official.

Kabumbuli was arrested on Friday before being transferred to Masaka Police Station.

Pictures of police dragging the cultural leader from his car have sparked public anger.

The Chairperson Interagency Communication Task Team, abortion AIGP Asan Kasingye, described the incident as “truly unfortunate.”

He said Kabumbuli “who was casually dressed and driving himself, attempted to dangerously overtake the convoy of H.E The Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, in a manner that drew suspicions from his security who arrested him, on what they believed was an individual who wanted to harm H.E The Vice President.”

Kasingye added: “We want to inform you that the IGP upon learning about the incident intervened and immediately ordered for the release of the cultural leader and extended his apologies to him, his family and the wider Kooki fraternity, over the distress and dishonor it could have caused him.”

He said Kayihura’s gesture was “very much appreciated by the cultural leader as he looks forward to a meeting with the IGP. The matter was also brought to the attention of State House, and has since been put to rest after the two parties opted not to further with the matter.”

The Kooki leadership had threatened legal action against police over the incident.

Kasingye said although police continue to believe that the incident “was based on very poor judgment on the part of the officers, it is going to focus more on the highest standards of conduct of all officers, to ensure that all cultural leaders are afforded the dignity and respect they deserve.”


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