May 2011
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Day May 4, 2011

It was Arinaitwe’s Duty to be ‘Brutal’ and Possibly Kill Dr.Besigye- Says NRM

Police 'bundling' Besigye into a police car

Dear Ugandans,
I have seen some of you declaring a ”fatwa” on Gilbert Arnaitwe and some of you are lawyers, annoyingly. According to Uganda laws, what is wrong with what that young man did as a result of which a 3-hour long impasse was resolved?

The law drafted by you, lawyers, even gave him latitude to cause death in the process of executing his duties. Fortunately nobody died! What do we hear? Brutality! Are you people aware of the law? Why do you want to break the law blatantly and you expect that same law not to break you? The law is simply like that. Either you amend or you bend it.

Read below an excerpt of the Uganda Police Act (Chapter 303), particularly Part IV, Section 36:

”If upon the expiration of a reasonable time after a senior police officer has ordered an assembly to disperse under section 35(4) the assembly or procession has continued in being, any police officer, or any other person acting in aid of the police officer, may do all things necessary for dispersing the persons so continuing assembled, or for apprehending them or any of them, and, if any person makes resistance, may use all such force as is reasonably necessary for overcoming that resistance, and shall not be liable in any criminal or civil proceedings for having by the use of that force caused harm or death to any person.’’

The Police Act Section 32 on how to regulate assemblies and processions also says:

(1) Any officer in charge of police may issue orders for the purpose

(a) regulating the extent to which music, drumming or a public dress system may be used on public roads or streets or at occasion of festivals or ceremonies;

(b) directing the conduct of assemblies and processions on public roads or streets or at places of public resort and the route by which and the times at which any procession may pass.

(2) If it comes to the knowledge of the inspector general that it is
intended to convene any assembly or form any procession on any public road or street or at any place of public resort, and the inspector general has reasonable grounds for believing that the assembly or procession is likely to cause a breach of the peace, the inspector general may, by notice in writing to the person responsible for convening the assembly or forming the procession, prohibit the convening of the assembly or forming of the procession.

(3) The inspector general may delegate in writing to an officer in charge of police all or any of the powers conferred upon him or her by subsection (2) subject to such limitations, exceptions or qualifications as the inspector general may specify.’’

The trouble with Dr Besigye is that he wants to go back to the bush, but also remain in the civil domain. He is sitting on the wall. If in fact he attempted another Luwero and did so with full justification, then the law would cover him. Interestingly, go read the constitution!

The police Act that I am quoting above was not authored by me. The most helpful thing the opposition can do is to focus on what it is that Gilbert Arinaitwe did that detracted from or conflicted with what he was required to do as stated in the law. That should be the focus of their argument. Their references to brutality are neither here nor there.

When the law states that “…use all such force….and shall not be liable…for having by the use of that force caused harm or death to any person”, it ought to be clear to you that, all which cannot happen by merely massaging and kneeling before the person or persons that you are targeting. What you may want to call brutality is implicit in that law.

When you study the legal framework within which the police are acting, it becomes clear that the wolokosoists’ brutality is Arinaitwe operational effectiveness. What should be of fundamental concern is the fact that some of you seem not to be aware of that law and you among others are always making anaemic reference to the rule of law. Why do you allow to be governed by such laws? That should be the question you should address. Just forget about Arinaitwe and all that little excitement of yours of “kewakwata” and such other nonsense. It does not take the debate or the country anywhere.

The opening sentence of the section above is “…If upon the expiration of a reasonable time….”. That implies the existence of some standing operating procedures (SOP) and rules of engagement (ROE). Was there a reasonable time given to the procession to disperse or Arinaitwe just popped from some bar and within seconds, just started “brutalising wanainchi”….those angels of yours?

Let us get all those facts and argue from an informed point and forget about exciting each other unnecessarily. Remember that when some of you eventually sober up, that Section 35 that I quote will still be staring you (and Dr Besigye) right in your face. I did not quote it from my diary. Just petition for Arinaitwe Gilbert to be given a medal for not causing the kind of death that the law actually allows him to occasion.

The same views seem to be supported by President Museveni who defended the police’s brutal actions while at press conference in Nairobi. Minister Kirunda Kivejinja also released a statement after this brutal act by Arinaitwe supporting the way the police handled the whole issue.


As for Gen Aronda’s statement, I bet you tomorrow he will castigate the papparazzi for putting words in his mouth. But even if he does not, he will not convince any professional that the Rapid Response Unit that was facing Besigye had gone for a vehicle recovery operation. Unless he intended to say that they should have towed Dr Besigye to police. Towing? Rapid Response? That is Oil and Water. Anyhow, have you seen Matia Kasaija now retracting what he had said earlier?


Uganda has seen more term limits than most African countries and we are yet to outgrow our unique style of term limits. Here we go:

President Edward Mutesa: 1962-1966…..0.8 of a term
President Militon Obote: 1966-1971….1 term
President Idi Amin: 1971-1979…..1.6 terms
President Yusuf Lule: 1979-1979…0.037260273 of a term
President Godfrey Binaisa: 1979-1980….0.179178082 of a term
President Militon Obote: 1981-1985….0.8 0f a term.
President Okello Lutwa: May 1985-January 1986….0.15 of a term

1962-1986 average: 0.792857142 of a term.

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

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