ARUA. Former Arua district police commanders were on Wednesday arraigned before the police disciplinary court in Arua Municipal Council hall and charged with neglect of duty.
Jonathan Musinguzi, the former regional police commander for West Nile region appeared before the court chaired by Mr. Denis Odongpiny alongside Mr. Abas Senyonjo, the former Arua district police commander and Mr. Edward Mugweri, then deputy regional police commander.
Others are Mr. Francis Onen, then traffic officer, Mr. Herbert Wanyole, then regional CID officer and Mr. Robert Onena, the commanding officer of the Field Force Unit (FFU).
While in court, Odongpiny charged the suspects with neglect of duty, a charge they all pleaded not guilty to.
"You are hereby charged with neglect of duty contrary of section 44(1) of the police act. In the particulars of the offense, SP Jonathan Musinguzi while deployed as the RPC West Nile and SP Abas Senyonjo while deployed as DPC Arua on August 13, 2018, in the district of Arua, together neglected and failed to sufficiently deploy police personnel and equipment under your command and yet there was a likelihood of chaos due to the charged political rally," Odongpiny read the charge in part.
"This led to the President's convoy being interrupted by rowdy members of the public who were on foot and a slow moving caterpillar resulting in the stoning of one of the cars in the President's convoy," Odongpiny added.
When given the chance to take a plea, Musinguzi first regretted the incidence that led to the attack on the President's convoy but later blamed some senior police officers from the Headquarters for failing them on the ground.
According to Musinguzi, they adequately deployed on that day only that top police bosses from the IGP's office failed their operations.
But Mr. Evans Vuata, the head of professional standards unit for West Nile region testifying as prosecution witness stated that he was not aware of any operational order from above to justify those senior commanders had taken over command.
He said there were signs on the ground prior to the incident that the situation would turn violent but the officers failed to make correct judgment of the situation that resulted into the incident.
The officers in their defense stated that they deployed appropriately during the period leading to the incident but regretted what happened.
However, Odongpiny said despite not pleading guilty, the court will continue hearing the matter since the prosecution has enough evidence to pin the suspects. Hearing of the case continues.
The 13th August incident in which the presidential convoy was alleged to have been stoned also resulted into the arrest of Kyadondo West MP Mr. Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) Mityana Municipality MP Mr Francis Zaake, Mr Gerald Karuhanga, Mr Paul Mwiru and 30 others who were later charged in a court in Gulu.