Sometime in September 2013, stomach Sergeant Enock Tumwesigye was enjoying a cup of tea with roasted cassava at Jeza Police Station in Mpigi District when something strange happened.
All of a sudden, nurse he was informed by his superiors that elements from the Police Flying Squad were in the area on a manhunt of a suspect in the gruesome murder of Kampala businessman Wilberforce Wamala.
The tycoon had earlier been murdered from his plush residence in Mutungo, shop sowing seeds of terror in the leafy Kampala suburb.
Armed with tracking devices, the muscular men were searching for Hassim Ssali who was suspected of killing the little-known but hugely influential businessman.
Heavily-armed with assault rifles, rounds of ammunition and telephone call printouts, the Flying Squad operators were commanded by a one Patrick Ssegujja.
As a detective, Tumwesigye was expected to render all the necessary support in the pursuit of the suspect.
Luckily, Ssali was intercepted from Butambala.
He was driven at breakneck speed to Kampala before being detained at Bukasa Police Station in Muyenga.
The following day, Ssegujja, who was liaising with detective Sulaiman Mukhooli, tried to obtain an extrajudicial statement from Ssali before a Magistrate at Nakawa Court in vain.
It was after a few days that William Okalany, head of Homicide at CID headquarters, nominated a detective identified as Ojoket to ensure a Magistrate was obtained to oversee the recording of the extrajudicial statement.
After recording the statement, Ssali was found dead in the police cells. The first medical report showed Ssali had committed suicide by hanging.
The death caused a stir in the police leadership, with many wondering how Ssali had killed himself.
IGP Gen Kale Kayihura ordered a fresh inquiry into the cause of Ssali’s case.
In an operation led by then Kabalagala CID boss, Deo Kikomeko, Ssali’s body was exhumed from his burial grounds in Gomba for fresh examination.
A postmortem report by Dr Sylvester Onzivua indicated that Ssali was first strangulated before being hanged.
This report corroborated an eyewitness’ narration of events leading to Ssali’s death.
According to a minor’s testimony before Makindye Grade One Magistrate George Watyekere on June 10, 2015, Ssali was possibly murdered.
“I was detained at Bukasa police post for theft. I was in the cells with four people when Hassan was brought in under critical condition; he was bleeding profusely and he was being held by someone who was granted police bond hours later,” the boy narrated.
“Ssali told us that things had turned against him when a ‘murder deal’ he was pursuing went wrong and that his bosses had refused to pay him,” the witness added.
“On that very night at around 3.00 am, Ssali asked me for some drinking water, and I told him to talk to Mzee, one of our elderly inmates. But he was so feeble, that he couldn’t even move. He just crawled.”
However, recalled the minor, “to our utter shock, we were woken up the following morning by Mzee, telling as that Ssali had committed suicide. Indeed his body dangled naked right above us on a jacket. Blood was still dripping from the body and interestingly, it was being collected in bucket underneath, which bucket was in a distant corner by the time we went to sleep.”
“We were surprised and we kept wondering how a man that could not even sit by himself, was able to hang himself on the cell’s ceiling. There was also a fork near the body despite the fact that forks were forbidden inside the cells and all food that comes in is checked thoroughly.”
This was evidence that Ssali had been murdered. The motive of the killer/s remains unknown to date.
But the mysterious death would later spark a storm that is yet to settle and could even claim lives.
Wamala’s widow claimed then that the late AIGP Andrew Kaweesi had a hand in her husband’s death, a charge the police officer vehemently denied when he was still alive.
As many started losing interest in the case, Kaweesi was gunned down in Kulambiro, a Kampala suburb.
Sgt Tumwesigye was in his office when he was informed by his Officer in charge of Station, James Aduba that he was under arrest.
Aduba was working on orders from Mpigi DPC only identified as Kimera.
Surprised by the unfolding events, Tumwesigye tried to inquire why he was being apprehended. There wasn’t enough time for explanation.
Tumwesigye was later detained at Mpigi Police Station where he met with officials from Police’s Professional Standards Unit (PSU).
Tumwesigye would be transferred to PSU headquarters in Bukoto where he was questioned about Ssali’s death.
According a trove of documents obtained from PSU during our investigation, Tumwesigye explained that all he did was “facilitate the arrest of Ssali” who was later taken to Bukasa.
Whatever happened to Tumwesigye was unknown to him apart from what he read in the media.
However, under file number PSU/KMP/GEF/148/2013, Tumwesigye was faulted for “professional misconduct that led to the death of a suspect in custody.”
We have on good authority that then PSU boss Fortunate Habyara directed Kiira Road police boss Michael Kasigire to detain Tumwesigye. This was in March 2017.
Almost three months down the road, Tumwesigye has not seen a doctor for medical attention or lawyer for representation.
Article 23(4) of the Constitution of Uganda, provides that a “person arrested or detained for the purpose of bringing him or her before the court in execution of an order of the court; or Upon reasonable suspicion of his or her having committed or being about to commit a criminal offence under the laws of Uganda, Shall, if not earlier released, be brought to court as soon as possible but in any case not later than forty eight hours from the time of his or her arrest.”
Legal experts told ChimpReports that the violation of Tumwesigye’s Constitutional rights could render his prosecution a nullity and entitle him to compensation in accordance with Article 23(7) of the Constitution.
Like any other officer, Tumwesigye looked forward to rising through the ranks to serve in higher positions of the force.
But the arrest and incarceration, he told relatives and friends, threatens to destroy his once budding career.
At the age of 36, Tumwesigye is the breadwinner of his small family. His wife and four kids live in Mpigi. All his boys are out of school due to lack of school fees.
“It’s hell here. My kids lack basic essentials including food. My wife has just given birth and is not working,” Tumwesigye said in a message to some of his friends last week.
Tumwesigye’s mother, Judith Barore, 80, is battling cancer that has so far eaten up a good portion of her arm.
“The day Tumwesigye’s mom came here to check on his son; all our officers were shocked. She was so weak and helpless. It’s a tearful moment for us all,” said a cop at Kiira Road who preferred anonymity so as to speak freely.
Asked by his mother whether he was taking any action to help himself, Tumwesigye reportedly said he had contacted the legal department of the police which was also yet to give a hand.
Sources in police told this investigative website that Tumwesigye wrote several complaints to high ranking police officers to rescue him in vain.
“If my memory serves me right, PSU took Tumwesigye’s file to CID headquarters. It was handled by Assistant Commissioner, William Okalany and a one Monday,” recalled a deep-throat source.
Okalany and Monday drove to Kiira Road Police Station where they recorded Tumwesigye’s concerns.
“Imagine from March 18; I have been detained from this place when I am innocent. What do you want me to do?” Tumwesigye was overheard telling Okalany.
It’s understood that Okalany’s group told Tumwesigye that Gen Kayihura had to personally order his release from detention.
“Every time Tumwesigye tries to follow up the case, he is told that the concerned people are yet to meet the IGP. That the IGP is very busy,” said a close associate of Tumwesigye.
“Tumwesigye’s worry is that his rights are not only abused but could be linked to Kaweesi’s assassination. Otherwise, why detain someone for months? He has not even contacted lawyers fearing to create a situation that he is fighting the entire police institution. He is living in fear.”
Police speak out
Contacted to comment on this sad situation, Police spokesperson AIGP Asan Kasingye expressed shock that such a thing could happen in the police force.
“It’s not in order to detain someone for this long,” said Kasingye, adding, “We cannot accept this.”
Kasingye said Tumwesigye was being held simply because a detective identified as Monday was still investigating the case.
“It’s not allowed anywhere,” Kasingye charged.
The police publicist said Tumwesigye’s file should be taken to the DPP for sanctioning so that the suspect can be formally produced in court.
“The issue is simple. He was arrested by police and is being investigated by homicide department… You can’t say that three months down the road you are yet to charge someone,” he emphasised.
Asked why detectives wanted to secure clearance from Kayihura before taking the next course of action; Kasingye responded:
“It’s not the IGP who sanctions the charges. It’s the DPP to sanction the charge.”
Cases of police holding suspects for long without trial have been on the rise in recent months, the latest being the case of tortured Kamwenge Mayor, Geoffrey Byamukama.
ChimpReports’ Investigation Team managed to secure Twesigye’s photographs at Kiira Road Police Station where many suspects are said to be languishing without trial.