The Uganda People’s Defence Forces -UPDF has tendered its apology to Parliament, Uganda Police Force and the Nation for the action of its soldier who was captured on video roughing up a traffic police officer.
UPDF Deputy CDF Lt Gen Peter Elwelu tendered the apology before Parliament during the Wednesday afternoon plenary, and described the soldier’s action as “unforgivable”.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has consequently proposed that Uganda Police Force and Uganda Prisons Service also get representatives in the House. Tayebwa, was also incensed by the video clip circulating on social media in which a UPDF soldier was seen forcefully pulling a traffic police officer to a clearway for their vehicle registration number D02DF08P. The scuffle reportedly happened around Mukwano Mall, along Kyaggwe road at Kiseka Market in downtown Kampala.
Tayebwa described the incident as ugly, and typical act of impunity exhibited by the soldier against a fellow officer from a sister force, adding that the act distorts the image of the country and must be addressed.
It’s on this basis that Tayebwa argued that such an unbecoming act calls for the Police, including Prisons to have slots for their representatives in the House. He also told MPs that Parliament will petition President Yoweri Museveni over the same.
Gen Elwelu, the Deputy CDF and UPDF Representative in Parliament, apologized to the House for the incident describing it as unfortunate and condemned acts of some errant military officers interfering with police work.
Gen Elwelu disclosed that the soldier, who has been identified as Private Derrick Tumwine, has since been arrested to face the Disciplinary Court of the of the UPDF in order told him accountable for his actions.
However, Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu, the Kalungu County West MP rose up on the floor of the House and condemned rampant acts of impunity by the army officers, arguing that slots for the army in Parliament should be scrapped.
The recent altercation is among a series of other incidents involving army officers interfering, assaulting and shooting traffic officers while on duty, yet no concrete punitive measures have taken to hold the offenders accountable.
Previous Incidents On February 24, 2019 Maj Gen (Rtd) Matayo Kyaligonza and his guards assaulted Esther Namaganda, a female traffic police after she tried to call to order Kyaligonza whose vehicle made a U-turn in the middle of the road at Seeta in Mukono Municipality.
On January 16, 2022 UPDF soldiers shot Police Constable Robert Mwebembezi, a traffic officer attached to Ntinda Police Station after. Mwebembezi was seated was towing a military Toyota Prado TX registration number H4DF 1391 after it was involved in an accident.
However the most outrageous incident of police abuse by an army officer so far occurred in 2020 when a Maj Gen Paul Lokech beat up a uniformed senior police officer who was regional commander for traffic and road safety, a lady ASP Ruth Kyobutunyi, and drew a gun at her for trying to stop him from driving on the pavement. The senior traffic officer was prevailed upon by her own superiors from pursuing legal action against the general for assaulting her.