The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen. Kale Kayihura, on Monday met the European Union Ambassadors to clarify some issues the police say were misreported by the media.
The meeting at the Police headquarters was also intended by the Police to address concerns that were raised within the last few weeks, especially by the donors over the Police conduct, according to a statement released by the Police spokesperson Fred Enanga.
Enanga said the meeting was requested for by the Uganda Police Force.
Kayihura, during the meeting, again denied what he termed as "inflammatory" comments attributed to him by some newspapers and assured the ambassadors of absolute impartiality of the Uganda Police Force in the upcoming February 18 elections.
“We shall guarantee peaceful, secure, free and fair elections. All parties should be rest assured that the UPF is committed to act in a non-partisan way in order to ensure equal rights of all candidates and, especially, of the people of Uganda,” Kayihura told the envoys.
The police chief acknowledged that in isolated incidents during the electoral campaigns, especially involving supporters of the opposition, the Police could have acted inappropriately in use of force.
In such cases, the IGP confirmed that investigations were carried out, and appropriate disciplinary action was taken, including removing responsible officers from their positions of appointment.
He emphasized however, that these incidents of unnecessary use of force were localized, and not sanctioned by himself or national command of the Police.
Kayihura further explained the role of crime preventers.
According to Enanga, two opposition-leaning youth leaders, who pioneered the crime preventers programme at Makerere University also attended the meeting and described the positive role that the crime preventers had at the university and how well they are appreciated by the communities.
The youth leaders, who were not identified however, also explained how the crime preventers programme took inspiration from a successful South Korean model of Neighbourhood Watch.
It is understood they explained the crime preventers are not partisan.
Meanwhile, the Police agreed to work closely with the office of the UN Commissioner on Human Rights to address some concerns that were expressed and to ensure that the guidelines for crime preventers conform to the UN standards on law enforcement and human rights, without compromising the need to adapt to the unique environment of the country.
Police and the EU Ambassadors agreed to have a more direct, open, and regular dialogue to ensure transparency and fairness especially during the election period.
Enanga’s statement didn’t give details of the ambassadors’ responses.