Saturday, July 22, 2017

#Uganda police starts clean up of its force, threatens opposition #AgeLimit crackdown

Police start massive cleanup of Force

The Uganda Police Force has started a countrywide screening exercise that will see corrupt, lazy, incompetent and unfit officers kicked out of the Force.
The Uganda Police Force has 43,000 officers countrywide.
The screening, which started from police stations in Kampala Metropolitan Police area, has sent shivers across stations as hundreds of police officers were sent away and others placed under investigation by the Professional Standards Unit (PSU).
Some of the officers who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity, claim that police managers are depending on allegations made in public meetings to kick them out of office.
Mr Vincent Ssekate, the PSU spokesman, said after weeding police stations around the city of wrong elements, the exercise will soon roll out to the rest of the country.
“Our teams have been at Wakiso Police Station, Mukono Police Station, Land Protection Police Unit and Katwe Police Station. We are focusing on mismanagement, illegal detention of suspects, extortion, corruption and non-performers. We are to audit all police stations in the country,” Mr Ssekate said yesterday.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen Kale Kayihura, recently ordered the PSU to carry out screening of officers countrywide following President Museveni’s directive to clean up the police, which he said had been infiltrated by wrong elements.
After the killing of former police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi in March, an infuriated President Museveni asked Gen Kayihura to “clean up his house”. He has since then lashed out at the Force for harbouring criminals within their ranks. The head-of-state has also variously accused the police of failing to conclusively investigate criminal cases.
“All these murders, I have followed myself. There are always clues leading to the criminals but the criminals have infiltrated the police,” President Museveni said at Kaweesi’s home in Kulambiro, a city suburb.
“You get a situation where they are intimidating the witnesses, killing the witnesses,” said Mr Museveni, before adding, “that is why the public fears to give information (about criminals) to the police.”
Kaweesi was gunned down by unknown gunmen who were reportedly riding on motorcycles commonly known as boda boda.
Mr Museveni singled out the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID), which he accused of bowing to the criminals, saying instead of arresting suspects, the officers arrest those volunteering information.
“The police have been infiltrated by criminals, especially the CID group,” Mr Museveni reiterated.
The President gave an example of a man in Rakai District whom he said had killed up to nine people but the police instead arrested those giving clues to the Force.
“Instead of arresting this man, the police arrested the informers,” he said.
Since then, the police management has been drawing several plans to clean the image of the institution.
Gen Kayihura started by establishing two committees. The first committee is investigating case backlog, while the other is focusing on mismanagement of criminal cases.
Police investigates less than 80 per cent of criminal cases, according to the police 2014 annual crime report.
The PSU is one of the units that have been empowered through increase in its finances, equipment and roles. The PSU funds are buried in the Command and Control budget, which is Shs53.567b this financial year.
The unit now carries out counter intelligence within the police in effort to clean up the Force.
Huge task
Despite the financial muscle and equipment, the unit is still thin on ground to screen all the 43,000 officers countrywide. The unit has less than 500 officers around the country.
Mr Ssekate said after screening at Katwe Police Station, officers in rooms seven and 14 were removed from office and sent to PSU for investigation. The officers were accused of offences ranging from extortion to mismanagement of cases.
“Some of the officers have been recommended to be taken back for refresher courses, while others have been reverted to general duties,” he said.
The screening will also target officers found to be physically unfit and alcohol addicts.
Two arrested
Meanwhile, the police Professional Standards Unit and the Flying Squad Unit have arrested two men who reportedly extorted $30,000 (Shs107m) from a Chinese businessman in Bwera, Kasese District pretending to be Flying Squad operatives investigating a criminal case against him. The men were arrested in Kampala City and they are to be transferred back to Bwera to face justice.

Police vow to block age limit campaigns

Police authorities have warned civil society groups and Opposition politicians against holding “illegal campaigns” opposing the removal of age limit from the 1995 Constitution.
Addressing a joint news conference in Kampala on Friday, a coalition of civil society groups announced nation-wide rallies against attempts to remove Uganda’s “last kidney”. The reference to a kidney denotes unproven ploys in the corridors of power to amend Article 102b of the Constitution, 12 years after the removal of the term limits in 2005.
Not relenting
Police spokesperson Asan Kasingye, however, vowed to block unauthorised Opposition and civil society anti-age limit removal campaigns and spelt out conditions they must fulfil before they are allowed to traverse the country.
AIGP Kasingye said anything that contravenes the law would not be allowed, warning that “civil society leaders should first engage the police before they embark on their national-wide activities or else they will be stopped.”
“We have just cleared the [Forum for Democratic Change party ] FDC members about their activities. We also have no problem with civil society activities as long as they engage us and we get to know their programme,” he said.
Civil society’s take
At the news conference, Ms Irene Ovonji Odida, the Fida-Uganda chief executive officer, accompanied by several other civil society leaders, said they are going to move to different parts of the country to educate the public on why they should reject age limit and land acquisition proposals.
“The framers of the Constitution considered the political history of this country and that was why they put term limit and age limit. This was to ensure the citizens have a right to reject rulers and chose leaders,” Ms Odida said.
The civil society members equated age limit removal to raping the Constitution and donating the country’s “last kidney” to President Museveni. They said the first kidney that the citizens sacrificed to Mr Museveni was when he removed the term limits.
On Wednesday, President Museveni, however, scorned at those campaigning for the removal of the presidential age limit, saying he was not involved. He said if the proposal comes up, it would be discussed accordingly.
Dr Livingstone Ssewanyana, the executive director of Foundation for Human Rights (FHR), said the public should understand that keeping quiet won’t help them but would instead send back the country to its past political turmoil.
“Some people have characterised us as idle people because we are protesting the lifting of the age limit. But we want to tell you we are not idle but concerned citizens. We should protect the Constitution as a tool that protects us from police oppression,” Mr Ssewanyana said.
The civil society also called upon Ugandans to reject the proposed land Bill that if passed as law, it would empower government to take citizens’ land for government projects before compensation.
The Lands minister, Ms Betty Amongi, however, insists that the proposed land amendments is in good faith and that it is intended to speed up development in the country.

800 desert police in five years

More than 800 police officers have reportedly deserted the Force in the last five years.
Quoting the statistics at the manpower audit office, a senior police source, who did not want to be named for fear of reprimand, said 887 officers have deserted the Force between January 2012 and December 2016 for various reasons, including meagre pay, harassment and poor living conditions.
“The number of officers who have deserted the Force could be more than 1,000 because records for some months in 2013 and 2015 are missing, yet at least 10 officers desert the Force every month,” the source told this newspaper this week.
The police acting director of human resource development, Mr Felix Ndyomugyenyi, could not confirm nor deny the development, but said the Force was doing well despite the fewer numbers.
“My directorate focuses on giving the necessary skills to the officers we have no matter how few they are. But for those statistics on death and desertion, you can speak to the director human resource administration [AIGP Moses Balimwoyo],” Mr Ndyomugyenyi said.
When contacted, Mr Balimwoyo said: “I can’t give you that information but you can get it from the spokesperson because it is at the policy level.”
This year alone, police have issued three statements on officers who have been declared deserters for Absence Without Leave. The first one issued in February listed 21 officers, and the second and third statements issued in May and June had 23 and 38 officers, respectively.
The police source said the Force has been losing an officer daily either to death, retirement or desertion. Citing records at the Force’s manpower audit office, the senior officer said the institution has in total lost more than 2,000 officers in the last five years.
“The figures I have seen show 1,200 officers have died due to natural causes, accidents, hacking and shooting. More than 90 are on medication and will soon be released because they have chronic conditions such as cancer and HIV/Aids,” the source said.
Improved welfare
Ms Evas Ainomugisha, the spokesperson for police welfare and health directorate, said police had improved welfare and health services for officers by starting up a Sacco, duty free shops, established clinics, health centres and constructing housing units.
“We have a Sacco where officers get loans to fund their projects. Every officer is entitled to a loan regardless of the rank. We have health amenities at every barracks and station. But most officers are not aware of their entitlements,” Ms Ainomugisha said.
Police manpower
Numbers. Early this year, the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, in an interview with journalists at Kabalye Police Training School in Masindi District, said the Force’s manpower stood at about 43,000. He, however, said they need 100,000 more officers to match the international policing standards of one officer manning 500 people (1:500).
Recruitment. Police’s last recruitment was in December 2015. In that exercise, 1,250 cadet officers and 3,700 police constables were taken up.
Loses. Records indicate that 2016 and 2015 registered highest number of police personnel lost by killing. This includes the 20 officers who were reportedly killed during last year’s Kasese clashes, five who were killed during political confrontations, three killed in Kapchorwa attacks and others in Namayingo, Gulu and Kabarole districts.

Police vow to block age limit campaigns

Saturday July 22 2017 The civil society also called upon Ugandans to reject the proposed land Bill that if passed as law, it would empower government to take citizens' land for government projects before compensation. The Lands minister, Ms Betty Amongi, however, insists that the proposed land amendments is in good faith and that it is intended to speed up development in the country.

800 desert police in five years

Saturday July 22 2017 Police's last recruitment was in December 2015. In that exercise, 1,250 cadet officers and 3,700 police constables were taken up. Records indicate that 2016 and 2015 registered highest number of police personnel lost by killing.

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