Sunday March 25 2018

Should we have trust in Ochola’s ‘weeviled’ police?



Alex Nsubuga

Alex Nsubuga  

By Alex Nsubuga

When President Museveni made a public statement in Luganda during the recent Women’s Day celebrations in Mityana that police was infiltrated by “kawukumi” (weevils), my Senior Three child asked me whether the President was equating the police to beans. According to him, weevils are associated with rotten beans at his school.

The element of weevils leaving the police caused increased curiosity in the public as to whether the author of the statement meant his former confidant, Gen Kale Kayihura. Though he did not elaborate on whom he meant to be a weevil in the police force, most Ugandans made their different assumptions.
Mr Museveni’s statement came days after he fired his once trusted cadre as IGP and replaced him with his deputy, Mr Martins Okoth-Ochola.
Ugandans were equally shocked by the revelations by the new IGP during his interface with the Parliamentary Appointments Committee that professionalism in police ended 13 years ago!

Every ordinary Ugandan understands that as Kayihura’s deputy, Ochola used to preside over some of police activities such as approving transfers of police officers and signing off some police messages to different destinations.
As a lawyer, why did Ochola accept to be a deputy IGP for an unprofessional police force for 13 years without making any hullabaloo? Isn’t this a sign of hypocrisy on his part? Should we continue trusting him if he says police needs to undergo a serious restructuring to ensure professionalism?

Two weeks in office, he has already made a number of changes in the police administration, which is okay. But where was this professionalism being referred to before the establishment of the Justice Julia Sebutinde commission of inquiry in 1999 which unmasked the police force as having lost its way and only short of being a criminal organisation?
The commission found out that police officers were not only collaborating with thugs against the population but in many instances actually initiating and leading criminal activity.

Is Mr Ochola aware that some of current police directors were implicated in the Sebutinde commission report? Besides that, former deputy police chief Julius Odwe has often come out to criticise Kayihura’s work methods. What did Ochola do to bring the military man back to the drawing board before the sinking of the ship?

Though the issue of collective responsibility applies in such circumstances, why wouldn’t he (Ochola) initiate a whistle-blower’s report to relevant authorities to show how unprofessional Kayihura was?
I don’t want to appear to be apologetic to Kayihura’s failures, but Ochola needs to inform Ugandans how some of the new units that are being phased out in police such as Special Investigations Unit, were created without his knowledge and consent as Deputy IGP.
Has he ever presented any objection on police work methods on a number of times he appeared before Parliament’s Internal Affairs Committee to answer queries on police operations on a occasions he represented Gen Kayihura?

Back to the ‘weevil’ attacks, who is safe in government if Gen Kayihura, who the President only recently heaped praises on after re-appointing him IGP, can be treated like this?
Besides police, I believe President Museveni needs to be reminded that most of his government agencies have been attacked by weevils, if one looks at the bickering amongst ministers, corruption reports in government institutions and sex for marks reports amongst top academic institutions.
Amazingly, he happens to sit with most of these weevils at his dining table at State House.

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