Kirumira’s policing style endeared him to many

Monday September 10 2018

Muhammad Kirumira, former Buyende D

Muhammad Kirumira, former Buyende District Police Commander. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI 

By Tom Malaba

Kampala- The death of Former Buyende District Police Commander Muhammed Kirumira at the weekend was greeted with shock by the whole country.

Kirumira alongside a female friend were shot in Bulenga, Wakiso District, on Saturday evening by two assailants travelling on a motorcycle. The friend Resty Nalinya, died on the spot while Kirumira succumbed to injuries at Rubaga Hospital about an hour later.

Born on May 20, 1983, Kirumira is survived by a widow and four children.
Many Ugandans wondered why people would kill a man who was known for fighting crime during his different assignments as a police officer.

Kirumira joined the Uganda Police Force on January 29, 2005 as a constable and was posted to Kibaale District to serve as a detective.

A police officer, who worked with him at Central Police Station in Kampala, says Kirumira was in 2008 brought to Kampala to work as a detective constable.

The officer, who prefers anonymity in order to speak freely, says Kirumira then got some problems with his bosses and was reverted into uniform.

He says Kirumira’s reversion to uniform was a blessing in disguise since he was able to showcase his professionalism.

“Kirumira knew how criminals operated and used this knowledge as a detective to cement himself in the hearts of ordinary people suffering with criminals,” he says.

Kirumira was deployed at Nansana Police Station in Nansana Municipality where his hunt for criminals, who were giving residents sleepless nights, earned him respect and admiration. In the process, his promotion was fast-tracked, becoming an assistant inspector of police.
Kirumira was then to be moved to different suburbs in Kampala to quell rising criminal activity.

He was later sent for training and on completion, he was promoted to the rank of Inspector of Police and deployed in Bwera, Kasese District.

From Bwera, Kirumira was elevated to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police and posted to Old Kampala as the Division Police Commander (DPC). In Old Kampala, Kirumira made daily televised raids on criminals’ hideouts in Kisenyi, Nakulabye and Old Kampala and residents there praised him for restoring peace.

Kirumira was later removed from Old Kampala and taken to Buyende as DPC from where he started attacking some of his bosses, claiming they were involved in committing crime.

Another senior police officer describes Kirumira as a very bright officer, who spoke his mind openly.

“He was swift and impatient with those he thought were negative, unproductive and unfocused. He was a good communicator,” he says.

The officer adds that Kirumira stood out because he defied conventional policing as laid down in the law books to fight criminals. Kirumira won the admiration of many in the aftermath of the murder of Andrew Felix Kaweesi, a former police spokesperson, on March 17, 2017.

On several occasions, he voiced displeasure to the fact that some police officers offer protection to criminals. This fact was alluded to by President Museveni, while eulogising Kaweesi who was gunned down together with his driver and bodyguard.

In January this year, Kirumira went public in a Facebook post and announced his resignation from the police, claiming his image would never change before his bosses.
Kirumira’s announcement came days after the police leadership decided to drag him before their tribunal for the offences he allegedly committed when he was in-charge of Nansana Police Station and Old Kampala Police Division.

Police brought a total of 17 charges against him, which included torture, extortion, corruption, bribery, unlawful arrests and excessive use of authority.

Prosecution alleged that Kirumira used his position to torture and extort money from civilians, charges he denied.

However, Kirumira argued that dragging him before the disciplinary tribunal was intended to taint his reputation.

“I want to leave the police since it is clean and I am branded dirty. I will not accept to hold office when I am being tried,” he said.

During the trial, police produced evidence to the effect that while he was in-charge of Muzaana Police Post in Kisenyi, Kampala, in 2013, Kirumira arrested Robert Kalefu and James Kakaire and he demanded from them a bribe of Shs150,000.

He was also accused of arresting Doreen Mutiibwa, who he found with aviation fuel, and demanded a bribe of Shs210,000.

On March 15, 2013, Kirumira also allegedly arrested Moses Byamukama and received a bribe of Shs500,000 to release him. Kirumira also allegedly arrested Yusuf Lutankome whom he accused of selling drugs and he demanded from him Shs2m to release.

However, many of these charges were later dropped for lack of evidence. Kirumira was sentenced to a demotion in rank.

Police have condemned his murder and promised to hunt down his killers.
“As we serve we face various challenges, Kirumira was taken before the disciplinary committee, which found him guilty. He appealed the demotion and he appealed the sentence and, therefore, he retained his rank,” said Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima at a press conference in Kampala yesterday.

Kirumira’s Stellar rise

1983. Muhammad Kirumira, born May 20, 1983, joined police on January 29, 2005 as a probation police constable and underwent training in Police Training School at Kabalye, Masindi District.
2006-2007: He was deployed in Kibaale District as a detective.
2008. He was transferred to Kampala Central Police Station as a detective.
2009.He was again posted to Kaliiro District as a detective.
2009.He was reverted from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to Operations and transferred to St Balikuddembe Market as the officer-in-charge. In the same year, he was posted to Kulambiro as the OC Station to fight criminals who had taken over Northern Bypass.
2011. He was promoted to Assistant Inspector of Police and again transferred to Nansana as OC Station in Wakiso District.
2014. He was sent to the Uganda Junior Staff College and trained for six months.

2015. He was promoted to Inspector of Police and posted to Bwera Police Station as OC. When the Station was upgraded to a division, he became a Division Police Commander (DPC).

2016. He was promoted to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police and transferred to Old Kampala Division as the commander.
2017. He was sent to Buyende District as the commander. He was taken to court over allegations of rights abuse and mismanagement. He was later convicted and demoted to the ranks of Assistant Inspector of Police. He appealed, but he died before the case could be heard.

Compiled by Andrew Bagala

Social media reactions

“Kirumira’s killers are cowardly pigs,” President Museveni
“NRM continues to strongly condemn these brutal murders and call upon the President of the Republic of Uganda and Commander-in-Chief to task the security team to bring such incidents to zero level,” Kasule Lumumba, NRM Secretary General.

I feel strange. Very strange...Like of my country being strangled. Forget the common brutal murders. No. My conscience tells me something strange has happened, is happening or will soon happen. Feeling it too loud. But is it only in my head? Do you hear the loud silent noise in the air? I am afraid. Very afraid,” Patrick Luganda.

“I am so saddened by the terrible news of the shooting of my good friend, and outspoken police officer, Muhammad Kirumira. Very sadly, that is the country we are living in. No one is safe. Our country is bleeding. This is very painful,” Robert Kyagulanyi, Kyadondo East MP.

“He was a brave young lion whose blistering roars against injustice struck deep fear in the camp of impunity. Kirumira was feared by the enemy and loved by his people. He responded to the right clarion call of his time. Rest well Afande, Rest well Kirumira,” – Crispin Kaheru.
We no longer ask about who did it or the motive, the question we now ask is; who is next,” Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

“Picture this! A group of folks sitting together planning how the entire plan will run. Who will execute plan a, b and c. Picture them after the mission is done. Do they drink champagne in celebration?! A fallen world. God have mercy! Joy Mirembe.

Compiled by Tom Malaba