Exit brings instant hope to police suppliers
The new leadership of Uganda Police Force has approved a process to start clearing the mountain of debt accumulated by the force totalling over UGX120 billion.
The Sunrise has reliably learned that the sacking of General Kale Kayihura was a timely intervention because he had again demanded that a chunk of the 3rd quarter release of funds by the treasury, also be diverted to his office to facilitate the payment of allowances for an unknown number of village community police mobilisers.
The community policing concept was the brain child of Gen. Kayihura and was introduced as a way to increase community vigilance and stregthen security at the village level. Gen. Kayihura allegedly recruited citizens across the country to work as community police officers. But while Gen. Kayihura appropriated money to pay for allowances of an unnamed number of community police officers, many in the regular force, lived in squalor.
Police sources say that the abuse of funds budgeted for procuring supplies of basic goods and services was a constant source of pain for Gen. Kale’s subordinates especially those that constantly faced the questions of suppliers many of whom had spent three years without being paid.
The unprecedented level of financial mismanagement under Gen. Kayihura had brought about the mounting of debt on the forces books to rise to over UGX120bn. Most of Police’s suppliers have gone three years without receiving a penny including Umeme and the National Waster and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).
More worrying, perhaps, for Uganda’s whole administration, is that these reports of financial mismanagement lasted for nearly four years of Gen. Kale Kayihura’s 12 and half years tenure but never aroused the scrutiny of the President.
It was rather the murder of Susan Magara more than a week ago, by security-linked kidnappers that provided the spark for the dismissal of Kayihura.
Although a conflict over money, especially the UGX9 billion annual budget for operations had been a source of conflict between Gen. Kayihura and Gen. Henry Tumukunde, the former Minister of Security, President Museveni reportedly never woke up to the impact of Kale’s flaws, until the shocking murder of Magara.
In security circles, Magara’s death was a monumental failure on the part of the Police led by Kayihura and the Internal Security Organisation led by Tumukunde as the duo was constantly entangled in a feud over strategies and failed to launch a joint operation to net the late Magara’s kidnappers and eventual killers.
Gen. Kayihura’s sacking last Sunday was praised by many in the public and political circles as the best thing that has happened to Uganda in the recent past. Gen. Kayihura’s tenure was punctuated by widespread violations of human rights, violent suppression of political opposition and record levels of crime in many parts of the country.
The recent arrest and ongoing trial of the Boda Boda 2010 leaders including their patron Abdallah Kitatta, lifted the lid over ties between organised criminal gangs working with Police not only to kill and rob people, but also generally under the country’s security.
The murder of over 12 prominent Muslim clerics about two years ago followed by the shocking and the unexplained murder of AIGP Felix Kaweesi, were the first signs of failure and possible links between security agencies and the criminal gangs.
Despite President Yoweri Museveni’s warning to Gen. Kayihura to clean up the force of criminals, most people had grown used to the fact that they could not rely on the force to seek for protection, be it at home or at their places of work.