Museveni demands answers after Indian money lender shot dead by policeman

An armed Police Constable (PC) Ivan Wabwire captured by CCTV camera during a verbal exchange with a  money lender, Uttam Bhandari before he shot him dead at Raja Chambers along Parliamentary Avenue, Kampala on may 12, 2023.

What you need to know:

  • Police say the shooter has mental issues and illegally accessed the killer gun from a fellow -now detained- policeman with whom they shared a house due to limited accommodation. 
  • Police condemn "continuous using of guns to solve problems."

President Museveni has demanded answers from security forces, a day after an Indian money lender was coldly shot dead by a policeman- amidst new cases of alarming gun violence reported in Uganda's capital on Saturday.

CCTV video footage obtained by police clearly showed runaway suspect PC Ivan Wabwire opening fire at Uttam Bhandari in a horrific office shooting inside Raja Chambers along Parliamentary Avenue in Kampala. The shooter who was not neutralized then swiftly moved to the nearby Central Police Station (CPS) and surrendered the killer gun before he vanished.

Detectives who visited the gunfire scene in the aftermath of the shooting recovered 13 cartridges on May 12, according to police.

On Saturday, police also said Wabwire, who allegedly shot TFS Financial Services director Bhandari over a Shs2.1m debt management plan, had medical conditions lasting over six years that required him not to be armed.  

“Due to the suspect's medical conditions, police management at CPS Kampala had decided about six years ago not to arm the suspect with a gun and they have been deploying him in beats that don’t require him to be armed. His current deployment was at the CCTV monitoring center,” Kampala metropolitan police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said in a statement.

Onyango indicates that due to limited accommodation, Wabwire was sharing a house with fellow police officer PC Steven Mulambo who has been detained at Kireka Police Station.

“On May 12, Wabwire’s housemate worked at night and didn't return the gun to the armoury. Instead, he (Mulambo) went with it to their house and shortly, he got a call that his child was sick. He rushed to go and check on the child, leaving the gun behind,” police explained.

Wabwire took that advantage, got the gun and misused it by shooting Bhandari, per police accounts.

But Museveni wondered why the police leadership “had not acted appropriately”, owing to Wabwire’s mental state” as the Ugandan leader also questioned “how an off-duty policeman accessed a gun.”

“How are guns stored in the police? Did he (Wabwire) walk away from his guard post without permission with a gun to commit crime? Is there no security at the site where the victim (Bandhari) was? Why did the local security allow an armed person who had no guard business into the building?” Museveni who is the commander in chief of Uganda’s armed forces queried on Twitter.

According to him, answers to his questions “may help to plug the gaps in the security system.”

‘Guns to solve problems’

Less than 24 hours after police condemned continuous “using of guns to solve problems,” 26-year-old private security guard Peter Ochoroi shot and killed his colleague John Mujumbi, 25, following a disagreement between the two employees of Capital Guards and Patrol security group on May 13.

Earlier in the day, police said an armed guard attached to another private security firm was arrested over attempted murder after he shot and injured a shopkeeper in attempt to restrain a traffic offender from escaping a motor crash scene in Wandegeya, Kampala.

Also on Saturday, security operatives, including plain-clothed officials, fired multiple bullets in the air to arrest a man outside Kyadondo Rugby Grounds in Uganda's capital. 

During the same week, outspoken vlogger Ibrahim Tusubira alias Jjaja Iculi- was brutally gunned down with multiple pistol gunshots by yet to be identified assailants near his residence in Kampala.

Late Friday, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) Maj Gen Geoffrey Tumusiime Katsigazi assured the Indian Community in Uganda of the Force’s readiness to protect all business communities.

“The authorities are actively working to apprehend and prosecute the suspect,” DIGP Katsigazi noted following a meeting with top leaders of the Indian Community.

A day later, police have confirmed setting up a team to track Bandhari’s killer.