6 March 2018

Uganda: Ochola's Long Walk to Become IGP

Mr Martin Okoth- Ochola is the new Inspector General of Police, replacing Gen Kale Kayihura, who has been at the helm of the Force for more than 12 years.

Mr Ochola was born in Agumiti Village, Mulanda Sub-county in West Budama County, Tororo District on September 19, 1958.

He started his education at Abweli Primary School in Tororo District in 1965. In 1967, he joined Rock View Primary School.

He was later shifted to Kisoko Boys Primary School, where he sat his Primary Leaving Examination.

He joined Namilyango College, where he did Senior Four and Senior Six.

In 1983, he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in law and obtained a post-graduate diploma in legal practice the following year from the Law Development Centre.

His employer was Owori and Company Advocates in Mbale Township, where he was the legal assistant between October and December 1984.

He left Mbale for Kampala Capital City and worked as a legal assistant in Kampala City Council for three years.

Joining police

The National Resistance Army's 1986 power capture resulted in a massive restructuring of the police in 1987. Of the 10,000 police officers in the country, only 3,000 were retained. More officers were recruited.

It was an opportunity for Mr Ochola to join police.

He applied and was admitted in the police as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police in January 1988 and started a nine- month basic training.

From the training school, he was posted at Entebbe International Airport as the officer-in-charge of Airport Security in February1989.

In November the same year, he was transferred to Entebbe Police Station and appointed the OC Prosecutions. A month later, he was again transferred to Buganda Road Court and appointed OC prosecutions. He remained in the same position for three years.

In October 1993, he was redeployed to Kampala Extra region as the staff officer for the Criminal Investigations Department.

He left Kampala Extra region in October 1993 to a new position at police headquarters as the acting assistant commissioner of police in the legal department.

Three years later, he was promoted to the rank of superintendent of police.

He was again given the rank of senior superintendent of police after two years.

However, it was in that office that challenges in his police career shot up.

Ill-advice

In the early 200s, Justice Julie Ssebutinde Commission of Inquiry into corruption in the Uganda Police Force found him to have unnecessarily and unlawfully exercised authority when he ordered police officers to release an impounded vehicle to Richard Oketch, who had opened a fake charge of car robbery in 1998.

The vehicle had been bought by Elias Kakonge Musisi, but he only made partial payment to the owner.

He was also accused of giving police ill-advice to cancel a tender without following the law.

Mr Ochola asked for forgiveness, saying he wasn't well grounded on commercial law. The Sebutinde commission recommended that he and others be charged with neglect of duty. He wasn't.

Nevertheless, in the general recommendation of the commission, Justice Ssebutinde said despite his shortcomings, he had abilities for leadership.

"He demonstrated ability to handle problems brought to him in the scope of his duties. There were a few cases, where the officer acted negligently... however, the officer was quick to admit his mistakes and to try to remedy the situation," she noted in the report.

The commission further noted that: "We think that Mr Ochola has potential for leadership in the Force. We recommend him".

In May 2001, he was appointed the deputy director of criminal investigations and remained in that position for seven years after which he was promoted to commissioner of police.

The then Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, elevated him to the position of the director of CID but remained in acting capacity for nearly a year.

He was confirmed as director CID in August 2008 and was promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police in 2009.

He stayed in that position for only 10 months before he was transferred to police headquarters as the officer in charge of special duties for three years.

In August 2011, President Museveni appointed him the Deputy Inspector General of Police.

IGP's job isn't stressful

While Gen Kayihura was away in Turkey last year, Mr Ochola, who was acting, said the IGP's job isn't stressful.

"My brother, I have 30 years' experience in policing. I have been on top of things. When there is no major incident in the country that is how you can gauge how the institution is being run," Mr Ochola said.

The country will keenly watch for what he brings on the table to turn Uganda Police Force around, if approved as IGP by Parliament, as all indications show.

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