Crime preventers have thrown their support behind police chief Kale Kayihura who currently faces torture charges in courts of law.
Last week, police organised a mob that raided Makindye Chief Magistrates Court and placed it under a siege protesting the prosecution of Kayihura for torturing opposition leader Kizza Besigye supporters.
The mobs carried placards protesting the alleged intended humiliation of the police chief who they praised as a hardworking officer.
In one of the posters, the mob suggested that Kayihura runs as president of Uganda come 2021 presidential elections.
Moses Omujugujugu, the Director Communications, National Crime Preventers Forum [NCPF] says the masses are against Kayihura’s appearance in court.
“I watched wanaichi as matched to parliament holding many play cards bearing messages like IGP waffe aziira musango which is a Lusoga directing meaning our IGP is innocent, one also argued in any case if your son steals do they imprison you his Dad?” he wondered.
Omujugujugu said the placards bearing Kayihura’s achievements since being put at the helm of police; indicate that the political fight against the police chief is not that simple.
“Ugandans let’s stand against Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism. Let us stand with Uganda Police. Remember community lives entirely because police exists. I stand with IGP,” Omujugujugu said in a statement.
“Crime preventers” are a volunteer force of civilians recruited and managed by police to report on and prevent crime in cooperation with the police and communities.
In practice, crime preventers are strongly affiliated with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, according to Human Rights Watch.
Its members have acted in partisan ways and carried out brutal assaults and extortion with no accountability.
Kayihura for president?
General Edward Kalekezi Kayihura, a lawyer, military officer and policeman, holds the highest rank in that branch of Uganda’s government [the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the Uganda Police Force].
In 1982, following his graduation from the University of London, he joined the National Resistance Army, a rebel outfit that fought the regime of Milton Obote II and captured power in 1986.
He has since grown in military rank and held multiple offices in the army and public service, including: an Aide de Camp to the Commander of the Mobile Brigade, from 1982 to 1986, Staff Officer in the Office of the Assistant Minister of Defence, from 1986 to 1988, Chief Political Commissar and simultaneous Director of Political Education in the National Resistance Army, Operational Commander of the UPDF forces in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Military Assistant to the President of Uganda.
General Kayihura is still an active member of Uganda’s military and was previously the Head of the country’s Revenue Protection Services.
He is one of the officials President Yoweri Museveni trusts enormously.
While Kayihura has never showed any political interest, the statement made by last week’s mob leaves a lot to be desired.
The police chief has the loyalty of the force as well as about 11 million crime preventers across the country headed by Blaise Kamugisha.
It was the work of crime preventers that foiled opposition political manoeuvres in February presidential elections handing Museveni a victory against Kizza Besigye and former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.
A government militia reportedly serving as a police reserve force, crime preventers have been widely condemned for being partisan and upholding the ruling government, which Kayihura preserves.
It is still too early to speculate whether Kayihura is actually interested in the highest office in the country.