Police chief Gen Kale Kayihura and Abdallah Kitata who leads a group known as Boda Boda 2010 have been sued over an incident in which young pupils were harassed and tortured by goons claiming to work for the police. A court application seeks to have the group disbanded and the perpetrators of the inhumane acts penalized.
On October 3, a bus carrying pupils of Winterland Primary School was intercepted by men belonging to Boda Boda 2010. The men claimed to work for police then beat up the pupils and their caretakers accusing them of engaging in anti-government protests due to the red color in their uniform.
In the wake of the contentious political debate on the proposed constitutional amendment to remove the Presidential age limits, the Opposition have been dressing in red attire in protest of the Age Limit Bill.
The school children were heading to Nkumba where they were slated to entertain guests during the annual Police Community Policing celebrations.
Video footage by the media showed police officers looking on as the pupils were subjected to the ill treatment.
It is upon this background that three caretakers from Winterland Primary School; Jamil Kiragga, Daniel Mayobwe and Evarist Kalungi through their lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuzi have filed a case in the High Court seeking justice for the youngsters.
The three decry the “inhuman and degrading treatment” subjected to school girls all aged below 10 by men united under Boda Boda 2010 “in the presence of police without [police] hindering or stopping the violation of the law”.
They argue that the actions of the goons violated the principle of the rule of law and protection of law enshrined in Article 21 (1) of the Constitution, and the the right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under Article 24 of the Constitution.
The court application filed on Monday demands that “Boda Boda 2010 be declared an unlawful society” and that “respondents pay punitive and compulsory damages to the applicants at 20% interests”. The complainants further seek that the respondents pay the costs of the application.
“Continued existence of Boda Boda 2010 is a danger to the public and the same needs to be declared unlawful and its members punished,” the application states.
Applicants further claim that the goons who beat up the young girls were each paid Shs 20,000 at the Natete Police Station on the evening of the fateful day.
Lawyer Rwakafuuzi told SoftPower that parents of the victimized children have also requested to have them (children) join the court case since they were traumatised by the incident.
Days after the incident, Police had denounced the group claiming it had no ties with the men who beat up the kids. Police spokesperson Asan Kasingye said the people seen beating the school children were not working for police or under its instructions.
A general inquiry relating to the matter has since been opened and some arrests made but the group leader Abdallah Kitatta who is also the Rubaga Division NRM chairperson is yet to be apprehended. Instead, Kittata has recently stated that no children were beaten.
Boda Boda 2010 was formed in the year 2010 with a leadership organ of the Boda Boda industry but has since been implicated in numerous cases of extortion, torture and confiscating motorcycles belonging to non-members with the protection of police.
The group has also been accused of fighting political battles, particularly beating up anti-government elements during protests with impunity.