Uganda: Woman Injured By Teargas Demands 500m Compensation From Police

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A woman in Kampala has petitioned the inspector general of police, Martins Okoth Ochola demanding compensation of Shs 500 million after being hit and injured by a teargas canister.

Agnes Nakavuma, a resident of Kilombe, Nsambya, says she was injured by a teargas canister fired by police officers who were dispersing a procession by Makindye West Division legislator, Allan Ssewanyana following his nomination on October 15, 2020.

Through her lawyers of Nalukoola, Kakeeto Advocates and Solicitors, Nakavuma says she sustained physical injuries on the right upper limb and right part of her abdomen among others. According to Nakavuma, she was walking to the market along Makindye-Mubaraka to purchase fruits and vegetables for her business when she was hit.

Through her lawyers, Nakavuma says that she was rushed to St Francis Hospital Nsambya unconscious where she is still admitted. Her lawyers led by Nalukoola Luyimbazi say that their client has undergone several surgical operations and yet, even more, have been recommended.

“To that extent, therefore, our client is mentally traumatized and has since sustained physical injuries at the hands of the police officers who are constitutionally mandated to protect people and their properties. However, neither the commanding officer of that operation nor any officer of Uganda Police Force has ever responded and or made any attempt to ensure that the victim receives medication,” reads the petition in part.

Adding that, “The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the fact that your subordinates committed the impugned wrongs against the victim and no steps were taken for reinstitution, compensation and general treatment of the victim.”

The lawyers are demanding compensation of Shs 500 million for their client and Shs 10 million for legal fees payable within 14 days – failure of which will leave them no option but to commence legal proceedings against the police boss.

The deputy Kampala Metropolitan Area police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire said that they are aware of what happened to Nakavuma and officers from Katwe police station were dispatched to visit the scene and record statements on what transpired. Owoyesigyire says their preliminary findings show that Nakavuma is not as innocent as she claims.

“The allegation is the victim was among the protestors and a teargas canister was thrown and allegedly landed on her arm. Well, we have made several visits to the hospital and f it reaches on the issues of petitioning the IGP for paying such an amount of money, I believe our legal department will look into the petition and will make the necessary decision,” said Owoyesigyire.

At the time Nakavuma got injured, the Electoral Commission had stopped all parliamentary aspirants against holding processions during their nomination so as to comply with the COVID-19 restrictions.

Each candidate was expected to show up at the nomination centre with not more than 10 people including their nominator, seconder and driver among others. However, some politicians still ahead to mobilise their supporters to escort them, which put them in direct confrontation with the police force.

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