8 February 2016

Uganda: Kooki Declares 10-Day Mourning for Chief's Arrest

Entebbe — Aggrieved by the manner in which their traditional leader was manhandled by Vice President Edward Ssekandi's police guards during his arrest last Tuesday, Kooki Kingdom has announced a 10-day period of mourning to express its annoyance.

The Kamuswaga of Kooki Chiefdom, Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli, has also asked the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, to punish the officers who allegedly tortured him. In a February 4 notice through his lawyers of Muwema and Company Advocates, the cultural leader alleges that he was "unlawfully and unjustifiably tortured by the vice president's guards. "Your officers' acts were not only intended to torture our client but to humiliate him ... despite the fact that he was driving his official vehicle well embodied with the official emblem," the lawyers demand notice states.

"The purpose of this letter is to demand that you immediately reprimand whoever was involved in the torturous acts of a very respectable member of society, make an official public apology to him and his subjects and duly compensate him for the humiliation occasioned to him and his subjects."

Speaking at Entebbe Airport moments before the Kamuswaga left for medical treatment in Germany on Saturday, Kingdom officials said the mourning period is meant to express their dissatisfaction. Images have been awash on social media showing men dressed in police uniform appearing to arrest the Kamuswaga who lay helplessly on the tarmac.

The Kamuswaga, who was casually dressed and driving himself on the fateful day, was arrested at Kinyanya on Masaka-Bukunda section on Masaka-Kyotera road. Commentators have said the manner of arrest was dehumanising and not befitting a person of his standing in society, especially among his subjects.

The Vice President's office has since not commented on the matter. However, a statement issued by Mr Asan Kasingye, the Police Force's chairperson interagency communication task team, said police apologises to the leader, his family and the wider Kooki fraternity, over the distress and dishonour it could have caused him. He said State House has been informed about the matter.

Accusation

The Kamuswaga was accused of overtaking the Vice President's convoy in a dangerous way.

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