Ugandans are now demanding that the chief of police, Gen Kale Kayihura, steps aside for playing partisan politics instead of serving as a police officer.
The Ugandan constitution bars serving officers in police and army to participate in active politics, something citizens accuse Kayihura of not abiding to.
The call for his resignation came up at the close of last week when police admitted that they were training crime preventers to boost the force, the same crime preventers that have been cited in partisan politics like the burying of former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, in Gulu town.
However, Rene M Ndyomugyenyi, BA (Hons) Law, PG Dip LPC, Msc Counter Corruption and Counter Fraud, denied allegations that they were training militias like Rwanda’s Interahamwe who executed the 1994 genocide.
In 16 April 2014, The Observer quoted senior opposition politicians who demanded a parliamentary investigation of Kayihura over alleged involvement in the politics of the ruling National Resistance Movement.
They based their demand on leaked spy recordings that Kayihura made of Mbabazi and his wife Jacqueline to the benefit of President Yoweri Museveni.
Labelling him a “partisan cadre, eager to execute covert political projects at the behest of Museveni and his wing of the NRM”, Olara Otunnu, then UPC party leader, demanded Kayihura’s immediate suspension.
FDC President Mugisha Muntu said Kayihura had undermined the standard of professionalism and IGP’s office.
Col Dr Kizza Besigye, the former FDC president, said the recordings confirmed all state institutions have been fused with NRM.
In April, 2011, The London Evening Post, faulted Kayihura for overseeing the most “cruel and brutal” police force.
Human rights activists criticised the manner in which police reacted to the opposition protesters during Besigye’s walk-to-work protests against hiked food and sugar prices.
Besigye was arrested alongside other opposition leaders; Wafula Oguttu, Jack Sabitti, Abdu Katuntu, Busingye Phiona, Kansiime Peace and their supporters, in large numbers, who were dumped in dungeons.
The Public Order and Management Bill, 2009 gave Kayihura and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, wide discretionary and unjustifiable powers over the management of public meetings.
Kayihura campaigns for Museveni
In August, 2014, Kayihura told Daily Monitor that although he does political work, he is not partisan.
In October, 2014, during a lecture at Makerere University, Kayihura was quoted saying President Museveni should not leave power.
““I hear some people say he [Museveni] should go because he is old. Those who talk like that are sick. There is no one on this continent who has a more youthful vision than Museveni.”
Kayihura said Museveni is a rare leader whose vast knowledge of Uganda’s geographical and economic aspects should be emulated by young aspiring leaders.
“If some of you do not value him [Museveni], for me I still value him,” he reportedly said.
In August 2015, Kayihura told police to stop using teargas and bullets to control crowd violence but opt for other means of crowd control.
Kayihura advised police to instead opt for other means of crowd control within their means like the use of water cannons in their possession.
During walk to work protests, police shot indiscriminately and wantonly used teargas in schools and hospitals suffocating kids and patients.
Kayihura still urged the police to work well with crime preventers.
The Minister of Finance, Matiya Kasaijja, while at a workshop last week cautioned the Minister of Internal affairs to reign in on Police so that they do not unnecessarily use teargas saying the use of teargas was affecting the country’s economy and had tarnished Uganda’s image abroad and made the country an unattractive investment destination.
Ugandans ask Kayihura to step down over crime preventers training
Patrick Olwit Ogwang: As a force you may pretend and claim there is no ill intention in their recruitment and training but Ugandans know. For instance, does Uganda Police Force have a common charter to work hand in hand with Kakooza Mutale [notorious Kiboko squad leader]? When the so called crime preventers start meddling in election affairs, do you expect serious Ugandans to sit back and watch? Are you not aware of Gen. Kayihura’s involvement in partisan politics?
Isingoma Senior Geofrey: Some of them [crime preventers] don’t know what they are supposed to do, they’ve not been good people in society, have hatred with some people over years. So people mistake them to be criminals.
Raster Phill Rajahb: These…[crime preventers] work for Museveni to persecute Ugandans.
Wilbert Vundru Drazi II: I have interacted well with the police whenever I have to. But on this crime preventers thing I must say I am disappointed. Why do we have a surge of the crime preventers’ training around this time?
Musinguzi Deus: They are trained to support Museveni. Do you think that we are parochial or myopic!
Nyende Ronald: My question is how do you screen them before recruiting these so called crime preventers? How sure that actually you’re not equipping criminals with more sophisticated skills?
Ivan Wenwa: You guys of Uganda police you’re the most corrupt, I member the last campaigned I join crime preventer in Budada. We undergone training for 3 weeks, they deployed us during elections but they never gave us time to case our vote.
Danesse Nyapidi: Humanity demands fairness to fellow humans, respect of their human dignity, rights and above all – life. The so called “crime preventers” use their office to infringe on human rights. This is only instillation of fear in the people to manipulate them, coerce the so as to enable them commit the crime.
Allie Unique: Aren’t they the same people who turn into criminals when elections end, given the fact that they aren’t absorbed into the police force, and therefore remaining unemployed and redundant?
Andrew Kaggwa: Rubbish! When you even have stick wielding Kiboko thugs aka kiboko squad emerging from Central Police Station, how can you deny the militia? Actually the whole so called Police Force is now a Museveni militia.
Enachu Frederick Edmos: Crime preventers lack professionalism, we need more trained and disciplined police officers not crime preventers, in Lira they are acting like Militias and they were NRM t-shirts from their training wing, what is the sign of this?
Egesa George: Militia group, not crime presenters….we are gonna keep posting pictures of these elements on social media just to prove the point. Secondly conclusion to tagging them militia was drawn from the irresponsible utterances of a one Kakoza Mutale. Such people should be arrested for being a threat to the security of the people of Uganda.
Asiimwe Dancan: Certainly, when I see these youths being trained by Kakooza Mutale, I remember “imbonerakure of Burundi” “interahamwe of Rwanda” and Janja weed militias of Sudan”.
Muheirwe Richard: If so, why are you training only youth? Why are selective in choosing those to be trained? Now. Are those militias so called crime preventers employed? Police. Stop and stop your partisan operations. Why are crime preventers putting Museveni’s T-shirts?
Kalanzi Manisulu Why do you train militia groups whenever we are heading to elections?
On many opposition rallies, we have seen police moving with goons beating up people like at Kasubi.
Just one week back, your crime preventers attacked Mr Mbabazi’s home but since they were ill trained, they were decisively defeated.
Do every nonsense when you are aware that Ugandans are not fools and warn Kakoza Mutale to style up this time.
He should be aware that he is going to deal with bold determined angry brave tired Ugandans ready to deal with whoever threatening them.
Mr Kayihura, Mr Museveni please step aside.