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Wednesday,September 23,2020 04:00 AM

Assessing Museveni's security directives

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd October 2019 01:55 PM

The first directive he gave in this regard was the procurement of security camera for installation in public places notably the streets and highways. The first consignment was purchased using a loan of $120 from a commercial bank.

Assessing Museveni's security directives

President Yoweri Museveni. Photo/File

The first directive he gave in this regard was the procurement of security camera for installation in public places notably the streets and highways. The first consignment was purchased using a loan of $120 from a commercial bank.

SECURITY  

KAMPALA - President Yoweri Museveni's direct involvement in fighting crime started after the assassinations of Major Muhammad Kiggundu and Police Spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

Museveni explained to Parliament last year that these made him realise that the police, "which is full of educated people" was not up to the task.

Security Cameras
The first directive he gave in this regard was the procurement of security camera for installation in public places notably the streets and highways. The first consignment was purchased using a loan of $120 from a commercial bank. 

Although the cameras are modern and efficient, their usefulness has been greatly hindered by the poor attitude of police officers manning them who apparently thought they were meant to check footage after a murder has been reported, instead of monitoring them to act quickly and prevent crime or respond immediately it has been committed. After several officers were caught sleeping on the job resulting into the gruesome murder of a young lady Maria Nagirinya and her driver Ronald Kitayimbwa, the president ordered for their charging and dismissal from the force as well as barring them from working in a public agency again.

Bulletproof vehicles and armed escorts
The assassination of prominent personalities continued, also claiming staunch NRM legislator Ibrahim Abiriga. As some MPs who had supported the removal of age limits from the constitution reported threats on their lives, the president ordered for the provision of bulletproof vehicles and armed escorts comprising sharpshooters for members of parliament, now numbering some five hundred. The mini convoys for legislators are yet to materialize.

It was the murder of ASP Muhammed Kirumira, the crime buster who had openly the whistle on the police's being infested with criminals and murderers in high ranks, that fully exposed the weakness of the force in fighting crime. Kirumira cried out for protection after learning of plans to kill him but none was availed. He was shot dead near his home, in an execution-style similar to that of his mentor Felix Kaweesi. The president addressed parliament and outlined news security measures to eliminate the murders that were getting out of control. He described the security cameras as the "master blow" to criminals, saying that equipped with thermal sensors, they can also ‘see' the criminals in the dark.

Scanners for customs
President Museveni also ordered the acquisition of scanners for Customs to enable them to detect arms than can be concealed in containers of ordinary cargo.

Electronic number plates
A very creative measure the president also ordered is the introduction of electronic number plates with tamper-proof trackers, enabling security to tell where any vehicle is at any given time. The new number plates will be acquired at the owners' cost. Any attempt to tamper with the number plate is detected immediately resulting in the disabling of the vehicle/motorcycle.

Electronically trackable helmets
Related to the electronic number plates, Museveni also ordered for a switch to mandatory, electronically trackable helmets for the motorcyclists. He also ordered that the wearing of hoods by motorcyclists be challengeable anytime one is sighted with one.

Fingerprinting of all guns
To boost the investigative capacity and speed the president ordered the fingerprinting of all guns. This is said to be ongoing. There are about five categories of guns in the country:1) Those held by members of the security forces 2) Civilian licensed firearm 3) Government arms held by authorised persons other than security personnel 4) Arms belonging to private security firms and those leased to them by Uganda Police  5) Illegal firearms held by criminals

Modernizing of the forensic laboratories
The president also ordered the modernizing of the forensic laboratories. However, in recent developments, Uganda police may lose the forensic centre of excellence for Eastern Africa that it had been accorded because parliament recently annulled police's ownership of the land for the centre.

 
Cleaning up of the Police force
Earlier when AIGP Kaweesi was killed, Museveni had ordered the then Police Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura to clean up the force which was infested by criminals who were reporting members of the public to the criminals they dared reported to police about.

Soon the president concluded that Kayihura's leadership was no longer capable of cleaning up and he got CMI to arrest senior officers engaged in international crimes of kidnapping foreign nationals who were fleeing political persecution in other countries and selling them back to the very governments they were running away from. He then sacked Kayihura. Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said that Museveni has lost patience with Kayihura two years earlier, but had given him a chance to redeem himself (including renewing his contract) which apparently didn't work. General Kayihura was also arrested and charged with the same serious offence of refouling refugees in addition to failing to protect war materials.

The president also transferred the Crime Preventers who were so associated with ex-IGP Kale Kayihura from the police to the army. He defined the crime preventers before parliament as "Ugandans aged between 18 and 65 years who have had military training in peacetime but remain engaged in their normal economic activities".

Upgrading of the Flying Squad
President Museveni also ordered the upgrading of the Flying Squad to a "real flying squad from a crawling squad" by ordering that it be equipped with specialized Unmanned Aerial Vehicles UAVs otherwise known as drones.

Stop the arrest of people under idle and disorderly law
In a move to allow the country's justice law and order system to concentrate its capacity on handling more serious cases, the president ordered a stop to the arrest of people under the decades-old idle and disorderly law.

But city lawyer Male Mabiriizi swiftly run to court to nullify the president's directive. In his petition Miscellaneous Application 310 of 2019, Mabiriizi wants the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining any government agency or official from implementing the president's directive. He argues that the president has no power to direct the Uganda Police Force not to enforce the laws of Uganda.

Mabirizi emphasizes that Article 213 of the Constitution gives police powers to work independently without anybody's interference.  

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