Uganda: Museveni Has No Powers to Recruit Police Officers

Chief Justice David Maraga and his three colleagues in the historical decision which nullified Kenya's 2017 elections stated that "... the rule of law "is the heritage of all mankind" and "a salutary reminder that wherever law ends, tyranny begins... "History has shown, sadly, that even the best rulers have fallen prey to the cruel desires of naked power, and that reliance on the goodwill of politicians is often a risky act of good faith. The moment we ignore our Constitution that Kenyans fought for the decades, we lose it."

In Uganda, Museveni's regime ended the law and it's now tyranny at work with naked power. In the past two weeks, the exercise of naked power has created problems and a disaster. It is problematic for the secretary to the Judicial Service Commission to tell me that she has no CVs for Chief Justice Bart Katureebe and Justices Arach-Amoko, Jotham Tumwesigye and Elizabeth Musoke, which I need as evidence in my age-limit case in the East African Court of Justice, for which I launched a fundraising drive.

The Chief Registrar wrote that she cannot avail me the particulars of service of judges unless with a court order. It is disastrous for Museveni to "recruit" several army officers into Uganda Police, giving them a rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police, which was itself created by Museveni by Statutory Instrument No. 17 of 2002, signed by the late Eriya Kategaya, to dilute the known police command just like he has now created the position of "Police Chief of Staff" to create a semblance of military command. He did not refer to any law because there's none giving him these powers. He used tyranny and naked power.

The president neither commands the police nor prisons. The only command given to him under Article 98(1) of the Constitution is of UPDF because armies deal with enemies to our sovereignty while police and prisons are trained to handle citizens.

Article 213 of the Constitution provides that "In the performance of the functions under clause (3) of this article, the Inspector General of Police shall be subject to and act in accordance with the laws of Uganda; except that on matters of policy, the President may give directions to the Inspector General." Mr. Museveni, recruitment of military persons and assigning them police ranks is not a policy matter.

Although Section 8 of The UPDF Act mentions the president as a commander-in-chief, sections 5-12 of The Police Act on command of the force don't have the president as the commander. Section 14(2) provides that "The Police Authority shall establish the procedure and form of application to be adopted in the appointment of senior police officers to the force."

It is now well known that every police recruitment is advertised for keeping in line with Article 214(b) of the Constitution "ensuring that members of the Uganda Police Force are recruited from every district of Uganda". Although former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura's era had its own way of violating this provision hence the lack of regional balance among the commanding officers.

Getting a police rank is not an event; it is an elaborate process known to career police officers. Section 9(1)(b) of the Police Act provides that "Subject to the Constitution, the functions of the Police Authority are -- to advise the president on the appointment of -- the Inspector General of Police; the Deputy Inspector General of Police; Assistant Inspector Generals of Police; and Commissioners of Police."

The president has no powers to send names of people to occupy police command positions without the advice of the Police Authority. Question is, did he get this advice before appointing Katumba Wamala, Kayihura and Ochola as IGP, Sabiiti Muzeeyi as Deputy IGP or the now Museveni named AIGPs? No. That is because the Police Authority cannot advise persons who are not in police service.

'Recruited' officers must know that they are holding offices illegally because a police officer is not created by merely abandoning an army uniform and putting on a police one; it's beyond that. Tomorrow, Museveni may appoint a prison officer to head UPDF.

malehmkk@gmail.com

The author is a Petitioner against Age-limit Removal.

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