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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Why the suspension of #Uganda police officers is just business as usual




Last week Uganda's Police chief, Gen. Kalekyezi appeared before the Museveni's Land Probe Committee over rampant police involvement in illegal land grabbing.  He was particularly grilled over the past midnight illegal eviction in Jinja by his top police officers.  He claimed ignorance of the illegality before pushing the blame onto NRM Cadre Felix Kaweesi who was murdered in Mach 2017. The implicated senior police officers who were also in the company of Gen. Kalekyezi used the slain Cadre Felix Kaweesi as the scapegoat.

The unimpressed commission tasked the police chief to take action against the officers and report back within two weeks.  Gen. Kalekyezi told the commission that he was to act immediately.  The following day, the IGP purported to suspend four senior police officers pending investigations by the Police Professional Standard Unit (PPSU).  The affected officers are: ACP Julius Mucunguzi, SSP Edgar Nyabongo, SSP Apollo Kateeba, SSP Felix Mugizi.  They are the usual scrupulous players; where are the Okellos, Anguduas, Masabas, Olupots, Kakaires, Ofonos, Mutebis, and Balukus???????????

Gullible Ugandans are jubilating over the suspension of the four officers as if it’s something new. They have easily forgotten the following more serious incidents that have been swept under the carpet.
1. It took years and a lot of national outcry before the police surrendered Kampala Central DPC, Aron Baguma to face murder charges.  Even if he was eventually charged, the case has never taken off and Baguma is attending a promotion course.

2.  In October 2013 then ACP Joel Aguma kidnapped a high-profile Rwandese Refugee and former Kagame body guard before illegally handing him over to the Rwanda government.  The government, UNHCR and Police condemned the action and announced that it had suspended him.  However, in July 2015, he was appointed the Deputy Director of Crime Intelligence.  In February 2016, he was promoted to SCP and appointed Head of Professional Standards Unit (PSU).  He is now an Assistant Inspector of Police and serving under the AMISOM Peace Support Mission.

3. In February 2017, the IGP claimed to have suspended seven officers of Kawempe police station for a so called unlawful arrest instead of kidnap. The seven officers had gone to Nakasongola and arrested a one Dissan Musisi over a land dispute before shooting live bullets and tear gas.  Among the seven officers was the CID boss, Katusiime. That was the end of the matter.

4. In May 2015 the police claimed to have arrested the then Head of Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Charles Kataratambi and four other officers over theft of US $ 450,000 exhibit money.  The recovered money was part of the US$ 1.45M stolen from Equity Bank.  The arrest was ordered by Museveni but the officers have never been charged.  One of the suspects, SPC Kevin Kabanda is said to be in Rwanda running business.

5. In January 2016 the police claimed to have arrested the then O.C Malaba Central Police Station, Julius Jjingo over coordinating theft of imported cars in transit.  Since then he has never been charged.

6. In April 2015 parliament begged the then Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen. Aronda to arrest the two senior police detectives, Kato and Komurubuga who had taken billions of bribes money in the 165b shillings pensions scam.   Nothing has ever been done to the two; instead their boss, CID chief, Grace Akullo was sent into oblivion when she attempted to poke her nose into the matter.

7. In May 2015 the police arrested Captain Mushabe of CMI over a series of deadly armed robberies targeting cash in transit and Chinese investors.  The manhunt and arrest is said to have been ordered by Museveni.  Because Capt. Mushabe enjoys the protection of strong god fathers like Col. Charles Tusiime, no charges have ever been preferred.

8. What about the theft of confiscated illicit drugs and wildlife and replacing them with sheet flour and wood respectively by police officers of the Aviation Police at Entebbe Airport?

9. Early last month, the same commission discovered that a Ugandan-Kenyan police technical advisor, Ambrose Murunga had not only illegally acquired 400 acres of land in Luwero but had used the police to arrest and torture Ugandans.  Earlier on, he had been linked to the 4.5b shilling Equity Bank money theft together with the suspended former SIU head, Charles Kataratambi.  No one can touch Murunga because he has been ensuring the survival of the Museveni regime.  As to whether he is Ugandan or Kenyan, it doesn't matter because even Gen. Kalekyezi's wife is a Kenyan of Rwandese origin.

The list is endless but what is clear is that IGP Kalekyezi very well knew about the Jinja eviction.  The officers he is pretending to suspend are some of the top regime cadres who have ensured its survival.  In private, he must have reassured them that the so-called suspension is just a public relations gesture. Otherwise, if the officers abused office, why not take them to court and the DPP sanctions the same charges for trial?
The so-called PSU is just a tool for covering up police crimes instead of handling minor misconducts like absenteeism, drunkards, late comers, insubordination and service offences in general.  Otherwise, once the storm settles down, the same officers will be reassigned.  Moreover, land grabbing is an official regime policy for which the police is the lead implementing agency.

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