As the excesses of the regime Police in Uganda gets out of hand, Ugandans are pouring their outrage on the ruling NRM’s Police Chief Kale Kayihura.
Ugandans can sometimes be funny; they are now out there questioning the Police’s impartiality in the political playing field.
Both the elite and the ordinary Ugandans are expressing dismay over Police’s partisan conduct in favour of the incumbent military dictator.
They forget to ask themselves as to why the military dictator had to appoint the two serving military Generals and top regime cadres; Kayihura and Gen Aronda Nyakairima as Inspector General of Police and Minister of Internal Affairs, respectively.
At the time a few Ugandans raised a red flag but as usual the matter was swept under the carpet.
Under the Ministry of Internal Affairs falls the former Uganda Police (now NRM Police), the Prison services, the Citizenship and Immigration Services, NGOs Registration Board, private security regulatory authority etc.
Although Gen Kayihura enjoys unlimited access to Museveni, the later issues him orders from Gen Aronda.
Because the two Generals are tested regime cadres whose personal loyalty to Museveni will never wither, they have exclusive powers to design and implement any decisions that ensures the survival of the regime.
It is these two cadre Generals who through their personal attachment to Rwanda’s Kagame had to successfully amicably resolve the Museveni/Kagame fallout before both regimes realised that they need one another not to survive but to extend their life span.
Before being appointed Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Aronda had successfully accomplished the privatization of the Army whereby he curved from the main force the elite Special Forces Group under the command of Museveni’s son Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
The rest of the army (without strategic vital units) was placed under the command of Generals Katumba Wamala, Wilson Mbadi and Charles Angina in order to please some Ugandan communities.
At the time Gen Kayihura was already making progress in taming the former Uganda Police which had been ‘hostile’ to the Museveni regime.
Because Museveni wanted to conform with the changing political terrain (mass protests sweeping Africa), he needed to strengthen management of internal affairs not in the interest of Ugandans but for regime survival.
That is why cadre Gen Aronda was appointed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to reinforce Gen Kayihura’s schemes in the former Uganda Police and to also privatize the other components of the ministry.
When Gen Aronda was dropped as Army Chief, out of ignorance some sections of Ugandans speculated that Museveni had sidelined him because the former was allegedly opposed to the defunct Muhoozi Project.
The two cadre Generals have managed to militarize the Police, transform it from Uganda Police to a regime Police, discard the old northern Uganda dominated leadership, and ensured that the strategic command positions are held and dominated by officers from one region.
They enforce the Public Order Management Act, the Interception of communication Act and the Anti-terrorism Act that are used to curtail activities of political opponents.
They design and execute ‘covert schemes’ aimed at instilling fear in the public, hoodwink foreign donors and curtail political dissent.
They have fused some units of the regime Police with the army’s SFG and the intelligence services thus creating parallel structures that have undermined performance but ensured regime survival.
They have successfully disbanded the traditional Uganda Police intelligence management unit – the Special Branch and replaced it with very many outfits to suit the regime’s schemes.
They have managed to transform the former Uganda Police from an organisation charged with keeping law and order through detection and prevention of crime to a component of the regime charged with orchestrating and exploiting lawlessness for regime survival.
They have managed to raise a regime youth militia in the name of Crime Preventers that is already on the path of orchestrating anarchy in the country.
They are successfully militarizing the citizenship and immigration services and making it a structure within the Intelligence Services.
That is why the recent recruitment of Immigration Officers and Assistants was marred by allegations of bribery and nepotism; prompting Gen Aronda to institute a commission of inquiry.
The diversionary commission of inquiry headed by the Deputy Commissioner General of Prisons Mr James Mwanje (he betrayed NRA’s Patrick Karegeya and other fighters during the bush war and they were captured) will not achieve anything because intelligence officers are never recruited by the Public Service Commission.
He has brought the traditionally nonpartisan Prison Services on board such that the regime’s secret agents can access and torture detainees while on remand without any hindrance as revealed during the ongoing trial of the Kampala bombing suspects.
Also, the High Court recently issued an order for the Minister of Internal Affairs constitute an inquiry into the torture and killing of inmates.
The NGO bill once passed will go along way in curtailing the activities of the civil society more especially regulating their source of funding.
Therefore, focus should also be on Gen Aronda who pretends to be shy but is more sectarian, corrupt, mischievous, ‘silent burner’, master of intrigue etc than even Gen Kayihura.
However, behind Gen Aronda, there is Gen Museveni thus no one should be deceived that the Police is acting alone.
It is Museveni who is using the former Uganda Police to fight off and suppress political dissent.
Sarah Nalukenge, the author, is a social and political commentator