Singing his way to crime prevention

Samuel Ojobira is so passionate about music that he believes he can appeal to different audiences about crime prevention using music. PHOTOS BY Colleb Mugume

What you need to know:

When we think of police officers, images of stern, gun-wielding people come to mind. Samuel Ojobira, a police officer, however, draws a different image. He sings about patriotism and crime prevention, hoping many will find a renewed hope through his songs. He shared his story with Colleb Mugume.

At the Independence Day celebrations at Kakyeka Playground in Mbarara, there were different musicians lined up to perform. One of those was Ojobira. Before his performance, Mun G was on stage and many wondered why a little known artiste would perform after a big name.
When he stepped on the stage, his police uniform is what caught everyone’s attention. No one was sure what to expect until he began to sing. Backed by two back-up singers, who doubled as dancers, Ojabira set the grounds ablaze literally.
He performed several songs including; I Am Proud To Protect and Serve My Country, Uganda Police Professional And Physically Fit, Museveni Kaguta The Pan-Africanist among others. When he ended his performance, I wanted to know more about the singing cop and below is his story.

Tell us about your musical journey?
I began music six years ago in a church music band where I also composed several gospel songs. However, in 2013, I decided to go solo. I came up with a strategy called music as a means of community policing where I released my first police song Proud To Protect And Serve. This song calls upon the public to partner, support and work with the Uganda Police Force in preventing crime in our communities.

What inspired you to pursue music?
I realised that I was a talented song writer. Composing and singing music and the talent was always burning inside me. To quench this feeling, I decided to exploit my talent alongside my job.

What motivates you?
The police force supports me as their own and the favour I got before the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, in that he calls me to sing whenever there are important police occasions inspires me. That aside, I believe in a crime free society so this is a creative approach to that realisation.

What is your favourite song?
My favourite song is Proud To Protect and Serve My Country. There are others such as Police Professionally, Physically Fit, and Let’s Unite.

What is the perception of people towards you and your music?
People love my music because it has message and it is modern in that its style accommodates both the youth and elderly. My colleagues are supportive and that is why it is being fast appreciated.

What has been the biggest highlight in your music career?
That has to be December 8, 2014 when the IGP promoted me from the rank of sergeant to inspector of police as a way of promoting talent in Uganda Police Force. I cannot forget when I got a handshake from President Museveni at a function I had performed at.

Is that so? Tell us more about your dislikes and likes.
I like giving credit where it’s due and I do not mind positive criticism. I hate intrigue and do not like take part in things which hurt others.

Is your music only about patriotism?
In a nutshell yes. The message is I am proud to protect and serve my country as a police officer. It says Uganda Police has transformed from colonial police to community police. Also the song calls upon the public to partner, support and work together with the police in crime prevention and maintaining peace.

How did you interest your police bosses in your music?
I introduced music to my bosses through several performances at different functions. When they listened to it, they got the message and appreciated it.

Do you hold music concerts as an artiste?
Not really. I perform only when I am invited at a police function. However, I am planning for a police music concert soon.

What is your dream?
My dream is to initiate music as a strategy of community policing used by all African countries in the fight against crime.

What are the challenges you face as a police officer cum musician?
I have not faced any challenge because I have seen my music moving well alongside my job. In fact, the two have been playing complementary roles.

What has been the highlight of your career and the sad moment?
The best moment was when I performed and received a hand shake from President Museveni during the pass-out ceremony of crime preventers in Kasese District. My worst moment was when I realised I had talent but was not sure if I had the freedom to express and exploit it.

You are preaching a message of peace at a time when the police image is tainted with allegations of brutality. How do you intend to address this?
My song is clear and sends a clear message of what the Uganda Police Force is. The Force is professional, it’s a people’s police, however, the police is not immune to mistakes in execution of their duties just like any other entity. Sometimes they are individual errors. For example, during arrest, they make mistakes but the intention is to bring public order.
My advice to the public is that the police are the people themselves and they need to work together with officers. Through community policing, the community is supposed to partner with police in the fight against crime. I call upon the public to appreciate the transformation that has taken place in the police force.

Samuel Ojobira, 32, was born in Oburiekori, Kateta Sub-county Serere District to Benard Wolling and Joyce Marry Isiiu. He went to Moru-atint Primary School in Kyere Sub-county for primary education and later joined Teso College Aloet for O - Level and A-level in 2001. He joined Uganda Police Force in 2007, and is married to Hellen Angwech. The two have two children. He is serving at Police training school Kabalye, Masindi and he has 10 songs.