By all standards, the brutal execution in cold blood of the AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, together with his driver and body guard was extremely daring.
It was as clinical as it was accomplished with chutzpah. A broad daylight attack on a senior police officer with an armed escort. The scene, a busy road in a populated area, with a police post nearby. The gunfire was sustained for about 10 minutes with time added to check that the victims were dead. It is like they were assured of not being caught.
He who does that can fall in about four categories. He is either a member of a State sponsored hit squad (even intelligence organisations from developed countries like CIA, KGB, M-16, the Mossad, etc reportedly have such squads) that is on a mission for the government.
Or they may be an off shot of such an organisation; where insiders with fore knowledge take advantage of State cover and facilities to get even with a target. The other is an outright terrorist attack where the assailant signs his will before he sets off for the mission.
The last is a well-facilitated rebel outfit that has the potential to threaten a sitting government like the NRM/A did during the five year Luweero war against the Milton Obote regime.
All of the above are not good in anyway. If the State is assumed to be killing its own people, then fear and tensions arise and are likely to give birth to divisions plus preemptive strikes. No wonder, the NRM has always emphasised that assassination is not their preferred modus operandi.
Repeated terrorist attacks or rebel activities that leave people dead without bringing the perpetrators to book, have similar effect. The populace goes into high tension mode and loses confidence in the police/government. It creates a state of anarchy.
Now that we have had so many unexplained murders procured by gunmen riding on motorcycles, the police need to use the latest one to clear the air.
This will definitely not be done by simply putting out sketches of the faces of the suspects (one wonders who was brave enough to see the shapes of their noses during that gunfire.) Neither will making pronouncements laced with bravado. We have heard about arrests of most of the people suspected of committing murders in the recent past. What we are yet to see is a victorious day in court.
Successful prosecution secures confidence in the law and order system. Failure emboldens the perpetrators instead and makes a mockery of those charged with ensuring our safety.
But the police have to think hard and long. Successful prosecution is back breaking work that needs hard, long and painful investment. It means getting your manpower, trained, and equipped with sophistication in forensics, intelligence, information gathering plus technology, and not to forget, great motivation. It also requires a public that has confidence in the police in order to provide human intelligence and vital clues.
That confidence will only come with assurance that the police have integrity and respect their own uniform. I am afraid the status quo does not inspire that confidence. What with all the dodgy characters who have come along to ‘help’ the police in brutalising people? The Kiboko squad, Black Mamba and now the crime preventers. Many of the pseudo police operators actually facilitate crime. Many times the police feigns ignorance of the activities of these stick wielding characters. Yet they act alongside the mainstream force in quelling riots, by beating people. It taints the image of the police and alienates them from many people.
Then the habit of the Police Force standing with especially those who defy court orders particularly in land evictions is another that puts its credibility as a law abiding entity in doubt.
That aside, another vital aspect the Police should think about is the creation of equity and parity. For instance, for the sake of motivation, there should be well-publicised criteria on how one gets promoted and elevated in the Force so that every individual can put their career under scrutiny on this scale.
If it is loyalty, it has to be known how, and to whom officers should be loyal and the manner in which they may demonstrate that loyalty.
Otherwise, if an officer however good has served for a decade and is rapidly promoted unlike the one with three under his belt, it works against motivation in the Force and causes division between ‘them and us.’ A divided Force can’t be effectively focused on fighting criminals.
Correspondingly the Police Force should come up with a strategy to counsel and educate its officers and men about using their meagre salaries to create wealth and ensure financial security. This is because some of them who have been in the Force for a relatively short time, are not known to have inherited wealth or to have any investments or patents that bring in good money, have amassed a lot of wealth unlike many of their peers. This creates disharmony and discord. Some shrug their shoulders, look the other way and let criminals be or work with them for a fee, thus the infiltration of the Force by criminality.
Nicholas Sengoba is a commentator on political and social issues.