KAMPALA. On July 2, 2017, Commissioner of Police Moses Kafeero Kabugo graduated with a master’s degree in peace and conflict transformation at the National Police College in Musanze, Rwanda.
He was the seventh senior Ugandan officer to graduate from the Rwanda National Police College that was established five years ago.
The college was previously a police academy before it was upgraded to teach strategic studies.
The Rwandan police officers currently managing the college were surprisingly trained in Uganda after the Rwanda Genocide in 1994. At that time Rwanda government depended on Uganda Police Force for training and capacity building.
The first Rwandan police officers after the genocide were trained by Ugandan non-commissioned officers at Kibuli Police Training School in Kampala, which has since been closed.
Two decades down the road, senior Ugandan police officers are going to Rwanda for benchmarking, learning best practices and training from the officers whom they trained.
A senior police officer, who did not want to be named because he is not authorised to talk to the media, said failure to prioritise training and poor budget management are the main reasons Rwanda National Police has an edge over their Ugandan counterpart.
The officer said in Rwanda, a police college is semi-autonomous and has its own budget to manage. But in Uganda funds for training and building structures are put in one pool with other items and when there are emergencies such as riots, money is diverted.
“Every time we ask questions, the answer is that the National Resistance Army didn’t use such facilities when they were coming to power. They say all lessons were learnt in the jungles of Luweero Triangle. When you hear that argument, you stop there,” the officer said.
Although the police spokesperson, Mr Asan Kasingye admitted that Rwandan police academy has higher standards compared to Uganda police college in Bwebajja, he denied claims that training has been neglected. He said under the East African Police Chief Cooperation agreement member states share expertise.
“We also help them in forensic expertise and counterterrorism. What we are looking at is having same standards in the region and Africa,” he said.
Rwanda’s reward in infrastructure and training investment has been witnessed in peacekeeping missions.
Rwanda police officers are serving in United Nations peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, Sudan, Liberia, Haiti among others.
These peacekeeping missions come with expertise and allowances.
Mr Kasingye said the National Police College of Rwanda is the biggest police college in the region because of its partnership with Police Staff College of Bramshill in United Kingdom.
“The police college in Branshill is one of the best police colleges in the world. When it partnered with Rwanda National Police College, we sent our officers since they teach the same courses that are taught in UK,” Mr Kasingye said.
Although the Uganda Police Force College at Bwebajja is affiliated to the University for Peace established by United Nations in Costa Rica, the standards are still way below.
Senior officers are still residing in rooms partitioned with plywood.
Mr Kasingye said Uganda police accounting committee has finalised plans to establish the training facilities that are to match those in Rwanda.
“We are planning police schools training criminal investigations, intelligence, traffic, ICT and counter terrorism,” he said.
However, he said Uganda police’s 2017-2018 financial budget doesn’t have funds for many projects.
The only funds in the budget are for constructing houses at Uganda Police Force College at Bwebajja.
Rwanda’s police annual budget is about Shs160b compared to Uganda’s Shs540b. Uganda has three times bigger police force compared to Rwanda.
The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, has distanced himself from the collapse of police training structures for non-commissioned and senior officers.
Gen Kayihura said the structures for a police college at Naguru in Kampala were sold off when Dr Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere and Dr Kizza Besigye were ministers of Internal Affairs in the 1990s.
But also from 1987, Ugandan senior officers were trained in United Kingdom under the UK aid which ended in 1996. Mr Kasingye said when the aid ended, it was so expensive to train officers in UK entirely on Uganda police funds.
Ugandan senior police officers were left without required training. The lucky senior officers would get sponsorships in India or European countries.
Other senior officers would study in military academies and colleges in Uganda and Kenya. For example Assistant Inspector General of Police Haruna Isabirye, and the late Andrew Felix Kaweesi, the former police spokesman, studied in a Kenyan Defence College in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ever since Rwanda’s college started training Ugandans, high profile officers have benefited and returned to Uganda to be posted in strategic positions in the Uganda Police Force.
Mr Kasingye is one of the beneficiaries. Commissioner Christine Alalo, the deputy police commissioner for African Union Mission in Somalia, Joel Aguma, the Police Professional Standards Unit boss, and Frank Mwesigwa , the commander for Kampala Metropolitan Police have all trained in Rwanda.
Others include former personal assistant to IGP Jonathan Baroza, now the police liaison officer in Algeria, Barbara Alungat, an administrator at Bwebajja, Assistant Commissioner of Police Michael Mugabi, the commandant of the Police Training School, Kabalye in Masindi District, among others.