Wednesday September 14 2016

Museveni orders police field force unit out of Kampala

Some of the Field Force Unit officers being

Some of the Field Force Unit officers being addressed by their leaders. File photo 

By Andrew Bagala

KAMPALA. President Museveni has ordered the police chief to withdraw the Field Force Unit from Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) area and instead deploy the General Duties Department.
More than 10,000 officers of the Field Force Unit (FFU), who have been at the forefront of quelling riots and conducting patrols in the city, will be affected.
Police chief Gen Kale Kayihura in compliance has instructed the new Kampala Metropolitan Police commander, Mr Frank Mwesigwa, to follow through the presidential directive.
Mr Mwesigwa will replace the exiting Field Force Unit with officers he trained at Police Training School Kabalye, Masindi District.

Gen Kayihura said the FFU will be re-equipped to deal with military-like threats and armed violence, especially in the countryside.
“At the moment, Kampala is being policed by Field Force Unit officers. Now we are going to replace them with officers who have been undergoing training at Masindi District,” Gen Kayihura said.

The removal of FFU comes after President Museveni raised concerns about their ethical conduct and dismal performance in Kampala.
The police leadership subsequently established a monitoring and rectification campaign led by the Chief Political Commissar, Mr Fred Yiga, to straighten out the problems.
Police sources said the FFU officers withdrawn will be redeployed in areas that have armed and ethnic violence, including the Rwenzori region. One police source said although FFU officers were able to crackdown civil disobedience of all forms in urban areas, many were aged and had no education competences to hand criminal cases while others had indiscipline issues. Some of the FFU officers are now facing disciplinary charges in police court for beating up Dr Kizza Besigye’s supporters.

Mr Muwanga Kivumbi, the shadow minister of internal affairs, said the FFU officers were brought for a specific mission to help President Museveni rig elections, which they have achieved.
The Field Force Unit was formed from the Anti-Stock Theft Unit and Mobile Police Patrol Unit before 2010 to deal with violence that was anticipated to occur in the 2011 general election. It was to be built to the level of the Special Forces Unit under the Milton Obote regime in 1980s.
Most of the trained FFU officers were sent to KMP and urban areas where they later battled opposition supporters during the Walk-to-work protests. The FFU officers replaced those from the General Duties Department, whom Gen Kayihura then said were complacent, slow and office-based.
.At the height of Walk-to-Work protests, Special Police Constables, were transferred to FFU in the city.