8 March 2018

Uganda: Seize This Chance to Let Police Play Their Right Role

Photo: The Independent
Left to right Henry Tumukunde, Kale Kayihura and President Yoweri Museveni

On Sunday evening, President Museveni ended Gen Kale Kayihura's 13-year tenure as Inspector General of Police (IGP). Gen Kayihura did a great job in improving the quantity and quality of officers. We have many more educated police officers today than we ever had before. The Force is also better equipped, has better headquarters, training facilities and accommodation in some areas. Those testify to his good work.

Gen Kayihura, however, cannot be said to have done such a great job in managing the investigative arms of the police such as the Special Branch and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), which had been directorates in their own right. Under him, the Special Branch, a specialised unit for preventive intelligence to avert crime, was disbanded on grounds that it bore more allegiance to the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) than to the office of the IGP.

The CID had previously had highly trained and experienced trainers with their own training capabilities, which allowed for seniors to transfer investigative skills and knowledge to their juniors. That had ceased. The training capabilities died along with practices such as maintenance of serious crimes' registries right from the regions to the centre in Kampala.

Haphazard reorganisation of the department saw well trained and experienced detectives replaced with inexperienced and ill-trained young officers. Little wonder that crimes such as the killings of Assistant Inspector General of Police, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, senior principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi and Muslim clerics like Sheikh Daktur Abdul Kadhir Muwaya, Mustapher Bahiga, Ibrahim Hassan Kirya and Maj Muhammad Kiggundu remain unresolved to date.

Now that Mr Okoth Ochola, a career policeman with a background in criminal investigations has taken over as IGP, the country has a real chance of reorganising the Uganda Police Force, reconstitute the Special Branch and recall some of the experienced investigators, who had either quit or opted to sit back and watch what was going on.

We have a chance to once again tap into the brains and experience of seasoned investigators such as Moses Sakira, Peter Kakonge, Peter Were and Christ Musana to crack some of these cases.

Now that kidnaps are becoming commonplace, we should be able to tap into the expertise of our trained expats like Abbas Byakagaba and David Magara, who has since retired.

Above all, we have a chance to let the Uganda Police Force simply be the police. Let us seize the opportunity.

The issue: Police woes

Our view: We have a chance to once again tap into the brains and experience of seasoned investigators such as Moses Sakira, Peter Kakonge, Peter Were and Christ Musana to crack some of these cases.

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