Sunday August 3 2014

Police might have failed, but Kayihura comes in handy

By Prof George W. Kanyeihamba

I wish to publicly express my heartfelt gratitude to Gen Kale Kayihura for coming to my rescue every time my security and life have been seriously threatened. Last week, I was physically assaulted by a named suspect whom the police at Kajjansi had arrested for a grave crime on credible evidence but either through incompetence or corruption was released without warning me or my bodyguard to take extra care. The senior police officers who I had gladly facilitated during the arrest of the suspect released him.

When I first retired from the Judiciary, the unschooled Police VIPPU leaders withdrew my police escort, reasoning that retired judges are not entitled to be guarded.

When the Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura, learned of this incredible ignorance, he personally directed that police guards and escort be provided for me immediately.

He educated the police who had reasoned so erroneously that it is after a judge has retired from office that he or she needs protection. He correctly reasoned that retirement offers the best opportunity to those who lost cases when the judge was performing judicial duties.

At other occasions when my colleagues and I needed protection and the General’s subordinates appeared ignorant or reluctant to provide it unless they were facilitated, Kayihura would personally perform their functions decisively and remedy the situation.

During the hearing of a high profile case in which I was involved and giving evidence, Gen Kayihura hearing that my life had been threatened, personally directed that both my residence and my person should be guarded by the Counter Terrorist Police Unit and possibly as a result of his wise decision, I am still alive today to tell the story.

Last week, senior police officers at a police station on Entebbe Road, which the press declined to name presumably for their own protection, refused to protect my life even though they had asked for, and I paid them money, they demanded for transport.

As a result of their refusal to protect me or apprehend the culprit, my escort and I were forced to drive directly to the residence of General Kayihura and seek sanctuary. We were warmly welcomed by the police who guard his residence and those who are nearby in a security unit.

They were able to contact the General who was actually on duty upcountry and through the efforts of the IGP and Assistant IGP, Andrew Kaweesi, a security police vehicle escorted me to my residence.

I reported my experience with the various police officers at this particular station to the Director of CID and the Assistant Inspector General of Police who were astonished by the unprofessional behaviour of the senior officers at this particular station. We had also learnt that an accomplice of the suspect had also committed another serious criminal offence at Ddewe.

I facilitated the police with more money and my personal vehicle to go and investigate. They arrested the accomplice who was taken to the same police station.

Late that same night, farm workers at Ddewe reported the arrested suspect had turned up and threatened to harm them if they did not open for him.

When they bravely refused to do so and requested him to produce a police note, he shouted at them that he was going to his criminal gang and they would forcefully break in at the farm that night. Indeed that is what he did. Apparently, he brought house breaking instruments and smashed a padlock on one of the workers’ houses and went in to steal.

The Assistant Inspector General of Police who is reputed for quick action solemnly promised that the accomplice would be rearrested that same night. Nothing of the kind happened. By Tuesday last week, the police officers were not answering my calls or those of my body guard. It is only God, the Almighty who protects us.

Prof Kanyeihamba is a retired Supreme Court judge.