The national army has spoken out on reports claiming that the actual commander of the military police unit that clobbered journalists was not penalised.
The man behind the operation that left several journalists in crutches and others nursing injuries, was identified as Lt Col Franklin Namanya aka “Napoleon”.
Lt Col Namanya was the operation commander on Wednesday as armed military police operatives beat up journalists as they covered Robert Kyagulanyi while he presented petition to United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UHCHR).
Seven of his juniors were instead arraigned before the lower court martial in Makindye – the military police Unit Disciplinary Committee (UDC) and charged with conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline of the UPDF.
Asked why Lt Col Namanya was not charged in connection with the beating of journalists in the line of duty, the UPDF spokesperson, Brig Gen Flavia Byekwaso, told Daily Monitor the operation commander did not beat anyone and there is no evidence that he ordered the seven army men and women to assault and injure journalists and other citizens.
“The officers who are on the list are the ones that we have charged, no one can tell that he ordered them to beat up any one, people are charged as individuals, everyone is responsible for his or her action. Did you see him beating anyone? Everybody is responsible for his or her actions,” Brig Gen Byekwaso maintained.
In a recorded video, deputy army spokesperson Lt Col Deo Akiiki said the military has levels of command.
“We have tactical command which is the lowest. We have operational command which is in the middle and mission command which is the most superior one.”
He added: “So if the mistake is made at the tactical level, the tactical commander is charged. And for that matter, Capt Jessy Odwenyi was the commander at that level and has been charged.”
Lt Col Namanya joined the Uganda People’s Defence Forces in 1997 as a cadet officer and attended the Gaddafi School of Infantry in Jinja District.
He has served the army in different capacities and those who served under him at SFC call him “boss”.
From 2001 to 2018, Lt Col Namanya served in the SFC unit.
In 2019, he was transferred to Military Police Unit as head of operation and training up to date.
Bobi Wine makes claims
According to Bobi Wine, Lt Col Namanya Napoleone Kyabihende is the Director Operations Military Police and formerly from Special Forces Command (SFC).
“He used to head Museveni’s inner security circle. He was named in the shooting in the Kasubi tombs on 16th March 2010 which saw three people dead and five injured.”
“He commanded the military interception on us in Busega on 27th December 2020 as we rushed Ashraf Kasirye to hospital after he was shot on the head during our campaign in Masaka. In Busega, as we pleaded to be allowed to rush Ashraf to hospital, Napoleon and his men, driving a military police truck run over our comrade Frank Senteza and killed him. Some of our comrades were brutally beaten and are still nursing wounds.”
He commanded the militarily raid on my campaign team in Kalangala Island on 30th December 2020, an ambush which saw over 100 of our comrades arrested and tortured. Most of them are still languishing in Kitarya prison.
The same man, Namanya commanded the group soldiers who beat up and badly injured journalists and elected leaders and also smashed and vandalised their vehicles at the UN Human Rights office when we had gone to deliver a petition against the ongoing Human Rights violations in Uganda. Namanya personally hit NTV’s John Cliff Wamala on the head, causing a deep wound.
When the military paraded soldiers that they claim to have beaten journalists, I did not see Namanya.
This should teach everyone that in Uganda today, some people commit crimes while others pay for the crimes.”