Today, October 23rd, a group of women from political parties and women’s rights groups, went to see the Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura, to express their disappointment at and demand action against police brutality.
The meeting, which was requested by women, through Uganda Women’s Network, was supposed to take place at 11:00 a.m. at the Police Headquarters in Naguru. However on arrival, the women were told that the IGP was out of office, and yet his office had confirmed the meeting date and time. The women still demanded to get an official explanation as to why the IGP was not there to meet them. The women also demanded that their grievances be heard both today and at a later date at an in-person meeting with the IGP.
After some back and forth with police officials, the women were able to meet with one of the officers in the Legal and Human Rights Department of Police. The women put the following demands to police:
- That the police stop forthwith, their ill treatment of Ugandans who are peacefully protesting, and especially put an end to their manhandling of women.
- That all incidences of police brutality against women be investigated and any errant officers be dealt within the bounds of the law
- That police act in accordance with the law and treat all citizens humanely
- The the police make public the protocols/procedures they are supposed to follow when making arrests.
- That the police make a clear commitment against brutality and re-commit to adhering to their code of conduct.
- That the police respect women’s bodies and women’s lives.
After the presentation at police headquarters, the women then went to see the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, to put the same demands to him (The Ministry of Internal Affairs oversees the work of the police in Uganda). The Minister met the women along with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, as well as 5 senior officials from Uganda Police Force.
One of the commitments the State Minister made was the institution of a commission of inquiry into police brutality and the women promised to follow up this commitment.