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


4 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. John Nsubuga,

    Allan and others,

    Of late, you have heard and seen how president Museveni is introducing blue prints in parliament to use these barbaric laws to abuse his authority with impunity. He has the numbers, so he is assured of victory regardless of how evasive and treacherous that law may be. Every time president Museveni is faced with a challenge, he orders for a either a review of the existing law, an amendment, introduces a fresh law, where it is not possible, he simply flouts the existing ones. A case in point is when he recently withdrew a colossal sum of tax payers money, to apparently purchase defence equipment. He informed the nation later.

    Indirectly, government has sided with Arinaitwe after his shameful, uncivilised and brutal mishandling of Dr Besigye’s arrest. If Arinaitwe was executing his duties under the provisions of the law as claimed by Kiveijinja and some debaters, then laws that clearly keep him in check should have been invoked. But they only focused on the laws that allows them to disperse rioters. Those are the paragraphs they recite.

    Some forum members have quoted sections of the law to justify the brutal actions of security agents since the “walk to work” demonstrations were launched, and that brings us to “the freedom of speech, assembly and association law”. Paragraph (a), (d) and (45) should particularly be of greater interest. Please pay special attention to freedom of press and other media, in addition to peaceful and unarmed demonstrators.


    Protection of freedom of co-science, expression, movement, religion, assembly and association.

    29. (1) Every person shall have the right to-

    (a) freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media:
    (b) freedom of thought, conscience and belief which shall include academic freedom in institutions of learning;
    (c) freedom to practise any religion and manifest such practice which shall include the right to belong to and participate in the practices of any religious body or organisation in a manner consistent with this Constitution;
    (d) freedom to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peacefully and unarmed and to petition; and
    (e) freedom of association which shall include the freedom to form and join associations or unions, including trade unions and political and other civic organisations.

    Human rights and freedoms additional to other rights

    45. The rights, duties, declarations and guarantees relating to the fundamental and Human other human rights and freedoms specifically mentioned in this Chapter shall not be regarded as excluding others not specifically mentioned


    When some debaters on the forum confuse laws that allow the police to disperse rioters, and use them to crack down on peaceful demonstrations, then we have a problem. Even then, they do so with out examining the limitations, “unarmed, peaceful demonstrators” should be allowed to go on with their business. I do not need to remind any body that, the organisers of these demonstrations have clearly stated that, these are peaceful demonstrations, a statement which clearly rules out police intervention to stop them. Some of these demonstrations have turned violent because the police has been high handed. The government has an international legal obligation to protect peaceful demonstrators, and to maintain the right to peaceful protest.

    Where this has been the case, we’ve seen them end peacefully. A case in point is the Jinja road police boss, who peacefully escorted Olara Otunu to uganda house recently. But because the state is not into this to uphold the rule of law, this police officer was reprimanded, and transferred to a less interactive department, as punishment. My assessment is that, he would have been relieved of his duties all together, had it not been for the wide media coverage that the matter attracted. My question is therefore, if you’re advocating for the rule of law, why don’t you simply escort participants to their destinations peacefully? I hear some of you say, the organisers have never informed the police about these peaceful demonstration.

    Then I ask you, since when did any body require a walk permit to walk to work? After all, it has always been a walk between friends, three or four people at most.

    Again I hear some of you say, “some of these high profile people attract crowds when they walk”, really!! But you have stopped them even when they drive to work, on the basis that they have not complied with you to driving via your chosen route. Is the IGP suggesting that those who want to drive to work should also apply for permits, and a road map to their destinations dictated by the police? These people have only attracted large crowds because the police has created an environment conducive to exactly that.

    Behind all this, we have a state that has lost legitimacy, therefore, afraid of any demonstrations or processions, so they concoct prohibitive stories, to subject the people to brutality, in order to instill intimidation. Arinaitwe Bwana is a classic example of a grumpy state that can no longer look “fear” in the eyes. The Director of Public Prosecutions is culpable, for he is the officer of government who directs police on criminal matters and prosecution. For that matter, he is aware of these deliberate concoctions and distortions, to incriminate peaceful demonstrators, and therefore violate their rights. He is an accomplice

  2. Peter Okello Maber,


    You have put the point blantantly clear. The police acted within the ampits of the law. Dr. Besigye was requested, persuaded, appealed to, urgued, begged etc to leave the road but he refused obey the police. The whole drama took 3hours.

    Where else in the world does a political leader behave like that and wind up as hero? In America and UK perhaps? But last week I saw the mayor of Washington submitting himself to arrest without causing a fracas. Why must lawless conduct by political leaders in Uganda be rewarded?

    Lastly, it seems in Uganda the political rights of politicians are more supreme than those other rights Ugandans. What about the rights of other people who just want to get along with their lives – don’t they matter? In which other country are demonstrations not regulated?

    The Besigye riots on every Mondays and Fridays have denied people their economic rights to do business, they have denied the sick the right to go to hospitals, they have traumatised school children and disrupted schooling (Besigye’s child attends school in New York), they have led to the destruction on public and private property, they have interfered with the right of movement of people by blocking roads etc.

    The opposition in Uganda are probably probing in the dark for hero. But unlawful conduct should at leat not be one of the ways to create them.

  3. kuflord,

    thank you very much otto, thank you very much okello!! i simply cannot add anything to that.

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