I never sanctioned beating of Besigye supporters - Ruhweza

By Farooq Kasule

Ruhweza said he only gave Police officers instructions to escort Besigye peacefully from high court to Kasangati.

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James Ruhweza, the Kampala Metropolitan area police operations commander has denied having instructed Police officers to beat up supporters of Dr. Kizza Besigye.

Appearing before Police disciplinary tribunal on Friday at Naguru chaired by Senior Commissioner of Police (SCP)Denis Odongpiny, Ruhweza said,he only gave Police officers  instructions to escort Besigye peacefully from high court to Kasangati,his home area.

“Personally I did not see Police officers beating people until I received a call from one of my bosses (Baraza), who had watched the incident on local televisions. He instructed me to stop them. I called CPS boss Aaron Baguma who was with them and gave him the same instructions.” he added.

Ruhweza said before they began the journey, they held a meeting with DPCs from Wandegeya, Kampala Central Police, respective Field Force Unit commanders and Tactical support Unit commanders with instructions to ensure that Besigye reaches home safely.

On July 12, Besigye was temporarily released from remand at Luzira prison by Justice Wilson Masalu Musene pending hearing of treason case against him.

The case stems from a video footage, showing Besigye being sworn in as the president of Uganda.

He narrated that they set off from high court via Ssezibwa road, fair way roundabout up to Yusuf Lule road but when they reached Kalerwe market, the crowds gathered in the middle of the road forcing his vehicle to stop.

 “From high court, Besigye was standing at the top of his vehicle waving to his supporters standing along the streets up to his home.”  Ruhweza said.

When Ruhweza was further interrogated by Commissioner Herman Owomugisha, he disclosed that the sticks which were used to beat Besigye supporters were supplied to police constables by their respective Field Force Unit (FFU) commanders.

Ruhweza was testifying as prosecution witness number two in a case where Wandegeya DPC, Moses Nanoka and police constable Robert Wanzala are charged with use of unnecessary force to disperse Besigye supporters at Kalerwe. He stressed that there was no need of using excessive force because the people were peaceful.