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James Ruhweza: The thorn in any demonstrator’s flesh

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Mr James Ruhweza (R) exchanges words with Col Dr Kizza Besigye during one of the demonstrations led by the latter in Kampala in November last year. photo by Faiswal Kasirye 

By Dear Jeanne

Posted  Saturday, January 25   2014 at  02:00

In Summary

Synonymous. Mention the name Ruhweza and images of a police officer calmly commanding other officers to quash a riot will pop to mind.

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James Ruhweza, then Divisional Police commander (DPC) Kira, which covers Kasangati Police Station, became the first commander of the April 2011 Walk-To-Work demonstration, which has been marked as one of the most challenging demonstrations in the Uganda Police Force history.
On the second day of the demonstration, Mr Ruhweza took charge of two areas under his command, moving to arrest DP chairman Norbert Mao in Ntinda where he was beginning his walk and then proceeding to arrest Dr Kizza Besigye from Kasangati, not once losing his cool.

From a distance, Ruhweza observes all supporters of Dr Besigye as they gather on Gayaza Road with Dr Besigye seated in a trench, having been stopped from proceeding with his journey.

For about 30 minutes, Mr Ruhweza contemplates the next move, aware of the criticism from all media houses in and out of the country as well as the public. Any decision could have been regarded as the wrong one.
His quietness is a reflection of a commander in thought, yet approachable, which gave the opposition politicians who visited Besigye in detention an upper hand as they were able to try and negotiate with him.

Double faced?
As much as Ruhweza has been praised in some circles, his face has hit the international media as an example of a Ugandan police officer that abuses human rights; with his pictures in action being used to display brutality.
However, the Ugandan police force seems to have congratulated him for a job well done, transferring him to take charge of the Central Division, under which are the most critical and crucial institutions, which include the state House, Bank of Uganda, Parliament of Uganda, Ministries and many other foreign installation including embassies.

As much as his name is synonymous with the uniform; Ruhweza has a life outside his job; a life that is lived in few minutes as his job demands full time alertness. Without a wife or children to capture the remaining part of his time, much of it is spent on hobbies and friends.
Though delivered with a serious face, every minute with Ruhweza is covered with jokes that some people may mistake for pride and arrogance.

Who is James Ruhweza?

Having joined police in 2007 after his graduation from Makerere University Business School, Ruhweza passed out in 2008 as a cadet.
Mr Ruhweza served at different stations as the OC before becoming the District Police Commander (DPC) of Kawempe Police Station, DPC Kira Road.
He was made the DPC Central Police Station (CPS) at the end of 2011. He made two years as the DPC CPS in June last year before being made Regional Police Commander (RPC), Kampala Metropolitan South a few weeks later.

In 2012, Ruhweza was promoted from the Rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) to a Superintendent of Police.
According to Ruhweza, joining the Police force was a childhood passion emanating from wanting to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Arthur Ruzambira, who served in the British Police force.

As part of his love for the police force, he dreams of the time when he will be sent off with a gun salute.
Ruhweza views himself as being a patriotic Ugandan who would walk into danger to protect his country without thinking of his own life.

djeanne@ug.nationmdia.com