There was Drama at the Kampala Central Police station today when four suspected kidnappers who were being arraigned before the media, instead turned against the police and accused them of bribery.
Police identified the suspects as Okello Silver a businessman, Corporal Mushabe Benjamin, a UPDF soldier, Haman Katende, a plumber and Fred Kayondo, a boda boda cyclist.
They were arrested for their involvement in the arrest and unlawful confinement of Joseph Baingana, a Uganda Taxi operators and Drivers association- UTODA revenue collector in Mpererwe.
Simeo Nsubuga, the police spokesperson, says Baingana was kidnapped from Mpererwe stage by the suspects who were traveling in a Toyota Land cruiser. The incident occurred on October 31st.
They allegedly beat him, forced him into the car and sped off to Nakawa and later drove to CPS where they were arrested from.
However the alleged Kidnap is shrouded in controversy. While police maintain that the suspects attempted to kidnap a UTODA official, the some drivers under the Drivers and Conductors Central Association (DACCA), a newly formed Association say that Wednesday's alleged kidnap is a ploy by UTODA to victimize drivers that have refused to pay the unreceipted fees.
They say the UTODA Official attempted to force the drivers at Mpererwe stage to pay a loading fee but the drivers refused prompting a rowdy scene.
Benjamin Mushabe the UPDF Corporal, in the company of Silver Okello a taxi driver, and two boda boda cyclists, made a stop over at the scene to inquire about the fight.
Mushabe says the UTODA workers demanded to know why he was prying into their business. Mushabe together with three other men then arrested the UTODA Official and took him to Central Police Station. Police however referred them to the Headquarters of Rapid Response Unit in Kireka. The Rapid Response Unit reportedly refused to take up the case and instead referred the group back to CPS, from where they were arrested
During a press briefing, the suspected Kidnappers stirred a scene when full of rage poured scorn on the police spokesperson saying they were being falsely accused because claiming that Simeo is on UTODA's payroll.
Katende- one of the suspects, who claims to be the secretary general of the Taxi drivers and conductors central association, said they did not kidnap Baingana. He however said that Baingana was arrested for collecting welfare money from Taxi drivers, which was last month stopped by the Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen Kale Kayihura.
//Cue in: iHow can a police officer#.
Cue out: # the money and they took it.i//
In September this year the Inspector General of Police Major General Kale Kayihura issued a directive instructing UTODA to stop collecting the unreceipted fees. He said that UTODA is only mandated to collect the daily charge of 4,500 shillings and the monthly sticker fee of 20,000 shillings.
Kayihura's directive followed repeated complaints raised by the drivers over the unlawful and forced collections of fees by UTODA Officials. UTODA claims the extra collections are contributions to the welfare fund.
But UTODA has however defied the directive by the police chief and their officials continue to collect fees from the different stages.
Nsubuga maintains that the four have no authority to arrest anyone and that the act was criminal. The suspects were taken to Buganda road court from where they were charged and sent on remand to Luzira prison.
Uganda Radio Network has learnt that the incident is related to an ongoing row between UTODA and some taxi drivers who are opposed to the remittance of unreceipted fees.
Speaking through an interpreter, DACCA's Publicity Secretary explained the incident.
//Cue in: The problem we have#
Cue out#security personels.i//