President Museveni interracts with regional police chiefs. Photo by Kennedy Oryema
By Steven Candia
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni on Monday opened a regional police chiefs’ retreat at Paraa Safari Lodge and threw his support behind their proposal for the establishment of a continental police force to counter, among others, transnational crime.
The proposal was pushed by Emmanuel Gasana and Lt. Gen. Sebastian Hiatota Ndeitunga, the police chiefs of Rwanda and Namibia respectively.
“I totally agree with you. We can talk about it and co-operate,” Museveni said, though with a word of caution, citing the colossal amount of resources required to establish such a force.
“Criminals are committing crime across the continent. Poachers, smugglers of gold and precious minerals and even drug traffickers are becoming a big problem on the continent. You come up with a concept and I will see how to support it at the Africa Union when the heads of state meet,” Museveni said, drawing an applause.
He, however, said it would be prudent for member states to first form regional centres of excellence with particular areas before establishing the continental force.
Earlier Ndeitunga, who is also the chairman of the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation (EAPCCO), said the formation of the continental police was long overdue, saying criminals may even come up with a continental body before the police form theirs.
Ndeitunga is also the chairperson of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO).
There have been earlier efforts by police bosses from various regional bodies such as EAPCOO and SARPCCO to form a continental police with the recent development and endorsement at the 82nd Interpol Annual General meeting where the police chiefs, meeting on the sidelines, agreed to go ahead with the project.
Present at the EAPCCO two-day retreat include police bosses of Burundi, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania as well as the host, Uganda.
The retreat that hinges on the theme, is also attended by the high profile delegation from Interpol head office in Lyon France, headed by Noboru Nakatani.
In a speech dwelling on structural bottlenecks in Africa, Museveni cited ideological bankruptcy, social economic conditions, lack of infrastructure, suppression of the private sector, a small internal market, an undeveloped human resource and lack of democracy.
The President tore at the Western nations for meddling in African issues.
“These confused fellows – the Arabs and Europeans – want to impose their ways on us. They should leave us alone so that we do our thing our own way and deal with our problems,” Museveni said.
Museveni hailed Ugandan MPs for passing the Public Order Management law which, he said, is a vital tool in dealing with people who want to cause confusion.
“Those ones, we give them some little teargas. Once they take enough smoke, they go home,” he said, drawing laughter.
President Paul Kagame is expected to present a paper at the retreat today on the critical role played by modern technology to development in the world, the threat it poses as well as the opportunity it offers to security and stability with specific focus on the African continent.