The Use of Private Criminal Prosecution as a political tool is abuse of legal process

The attempt at the Makindye Court to exploit the Constitutional right of a citizen to conduct private prosecution as a tool of making a political point was a blatant abuse of the legal process. The constitutional right of a citizen to conduct private prosecutions was purposely embedded in our law to enhance full participation by the citizenry in order for the population to cope with the serious threat to society posed to the public by the DPP’s improper interest orinaction in criminal prosecution. This right is useful in constitutionally safeguarding against capricious, corrupt, biased, failure or refusal of the Police and the office of Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute offenders against the criminal law. However, the constitutional right of a citizen to institute private prosecution can only be exercised after the magistrate has granted the complainant permission to file a public interest case, which permission is granted through the exercise of discretion by the magistrate who is enjoined by law to exercise that discretion judicially, sparingly and only on extremely good grounds to avoid the misuse of this right for personal vendetta and vengeful intentions. In the case of the private prosecution of the op police officers, there was no and still is no any evidence to show that efforts to petition the DPP to prosecute the officers was lodged and not heeded to. On the contrary,there is evidence that the perpetrators of the infamous beatings were arraigned before the Police disciplinary court and charged with the respective offences. There was, therefore, no need to commence parallel proceedings in the magistrate’s court. Therefore, the events leading to the Makindye court attempt to prosecute privately the serving top echelons of the Police seen in this context were a sheer abuse of this Constitutional right. The precursor to the chaos at the court was the public announcements stated to be carrying a message of a leading

Opposition figure calling on all and sundry to tum up in big numbers at the Makindye court and witness the Inspector

General of Police and other top police brass in the dock. The negative impulse to destroy ruthlessly and recklessly the Reputation of an individual and institution built over years was obvious. Good order and decency were sacrificed at the altar of malicious motivation and political expediency. In a curious turn of events, the crowd which heeded the call of the opposition political personality was perceived to have been mobilized by the Inspector General of Police and have been consistently referred to as supporters of Gen. Kale Kayihura. That perception notwithstanding, the political elite who had orchestrated the mass tum up at the court to witness the drama of the serving police brass in the dock, turned around and blamed the Police of not doing enough to quell the mob and protect the honour of court. It was a boomerang  scenario which was only saved by the very police which the perpetrators had sought to humiliate. The scheme was, therefore, clearly not an honest exercise of the constitutional right to private prosecution, but was clearly an abuse of legal process only reminiscent of an epoch lost in the night of lime.

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