“(i) The affidavit evidence of A1, A2, Capt. Isingoma, AIP Kisa Claire and Mr. Kabagambe when considered in totality look that like a movie. A1 and A2 are arrested through the use of trickery as if they were on the run whereas not. A1 is deceived that he was reporting for deployment on an operation. When he reports at the appointed time and place he is literally abducted. He is made to leave his vehicle unattended at a fuel station as if he was a terrorist.
(ii) A2 was called by a fellow driver at midnight claiming he needed help having got a mechanical problem. He is lured in the middle of the night and arrested like a terrorist” (High Court, 12.09.2022).
The state sponsored torture story of Robert Asiimwe Akanga (A1) and Kalemba Stevens (A2) is nothing new, but it needs to be told. These two gentlemen won their case against the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). This case just shows how the state uses torture and keeping people illegally detained without producing them to the courts within the 48 hours deadline. That happened to the people of this case and it is significant, but not shocking.
This sort of case should be spread, because it shows what the state does and how it operates. The authorities are acting like this on the regular. They are allowed to operate like this and it has no consequences. The state is paying damages and costs of the case, but the officers and the authorities will not clean up their act. This is how they are and it’s only a few of these stories that ends up in the Courts. Most of the torture cases are happening in silence and the victims cannot or have no options but to stay silent.
Just read these quotes… and it should make you shiver…
It all started with this: “The allegation is that on the 28th day of February 2021, Al and A2 being employed by Uganda Revenue Authority as a customs officer and driver respectively stole USD 410,000 the property of GAK Express Co. Limited. The two deny the charges” (High Court, 12.09.2022).
So, this all starts with alleged criminal behaviour, which is directly false. The authorities have pinned two men and because of their role in URA. They were easily targets as the work of Customs Officer and a Driver. However, there was never any proof or evidence of this crime.
That didn’t stop the state from doing this to them, which is quotes from the Court Ruling…
About the Arrest and Torture methods used on A1:
“In his affidavit in support dated 25th March 2022 A1 stated that on 3rd March 2021, he received a phone call from Paul Karatunga, the In-Charge Operations Team 1 informing him of a planned operation along Entebbe road. Karatunga assigned A1 to lead the team. They met at Total Petrol Station, Kajjansi at 6.30 am. Karatunga was in company of two soldiers namely Captain Charles Isingoma and Captain Winnie Kusiima plus two armed escorts. A1 was instead arrested under gun point and pushed him into a vehicle. He was taken to URA offices where he met other UPDF and Police officials attached to URA. He was handcuffed. Lt. Col Zaakye informed him, the arrest is in connection with theft of money belonging to a Sudanese national. He denied participating in theft” (…) “Col. Cassette Ignatius Wamundu asked him to confess to the theft of money or be tortured by the Joint Anti -Terrorism Taskforce until he does so. That he was denied a right to contact his lawyer or make any phone call. On 6th March 202l at 7 am was picked by a team from CMI, blindfolded and taken to CMI Hqrs at Mbuya where he was subjected to torture” (…) “It was executed by 10 well-muscled men using weapons such as guns, sticks, batons, metal bars, pliers, chains, ropes and electric wires. He maintained his innocence as they demanded for the money he is alleged to have robbed. He lost consciousness due to prolonged torture. He regained his senses to realise he was in a corridor. He was bleeding and still chained. He was taken back to Custody at SIU Kireka during darkness. He could not walk” (High Court, 12.09.2022).
About the Arrest and Torture methods used on A2:
“A2, in his affidavit of 25th March 2021 states that on 2nd March 2021 at around midnight, hg received a call from Sekweyarna, a fellow driver at URA, claiming to be stuck near his home and needed help. A2 responded only to find army captains who put him under arrest at gun point. Col Cassette Ignatius Wamundu asked him about the money. He denied knowledge of where the money was. He punched him in the right eye and as he fell down. He was kicked in the ribs at gun-point before his children and wife who cried and shouted. He threatened to shoot him unless he admitted having stolen money on 28th February 2021. Present were Captains Isingoma. Diana Museveni and Winnie Karugwara. They took him back to his home” (…) “That on 6th March 2021 he was taken to CMI offices in Mbuya and taken to a room where four muscled men had assorted weapons including guns, sticks, batons, metal bars, pliers, chains, ropes, electric wires among others. He was undressed. He was badly and severely beaten using the electric cables, hang on hand cuffs up the ring as his legs were tied down and suspended in one position for a whole day as he was being beaten” (…) “He was tortured again on on 8th March 2021. His body became swollen with wounds on the legs, back, hands, ribs and abdomen. He did not receive any medical attention or have access to a lawyer or family members. Further mistreatment went on until he was produced in court after an ordeal of 16 days in detention” (High Court, 12.09.2022).
The damages they are getting for all of this:
“Taking all these factors into consideration I award A1 as the main target and focus of torture a sum of 200 million as compensation for pain, suffering, and physical injuries. I award another 50 million to A1 as punitive damages for subjecting him to humiliation and embarrassment. I Award a sum of 100 million to A2 as damages for pain, suffering and physical injuries. I award another 50 million to A2 as punitive damages for subjecting him to humiliation and embarrassment. A1 and A2 are also awarded taxed costs of this consolidated application” (High Court, 12.09.2022).
We know the state will only condone but not act upon the mischief. These sort of cases never cease to exist. There is no retribution or stop of the practice. This has been going on since the inception of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and done by the government before it too. The NRM promised to end it, but they never will…
The damages of 400m shillings won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things. The officers, the men who did the torture and the authorities will not go after the ones who did it. No, the mentioned high ranking officials and others will walk free. The only thing happening is that the gentlemen who was arrested, harmed and tortured will get damages. The system will not change… and that’s how the story goes.
A1 and A2 are reminders of how the NRM and the Authorities are working. This isn’t a one of or an isolated case for that matter. No, this is how they move and allowed to work. It just happens that this one ended up in the High Court. Peace.