Ugandans need a pro-people Police

The changes in the security leadership are a welcome “mini-revolution” – but not worthy a single celebration though.  There has been overwhelming outcry from the public about how Police has been managed under Kale.  He succeeded in transforming the Police into a military force; forgetting that it was a civil security apparatus.

He paid too much attention to the politics of the day and forgot his archetype terms of reference.  He spent most of the time pre-occupied with politicking rather than organizing UPF to serve and protect Ugandans.  Unresolved murders, kidnaps, robberies, illicit drug trading, human trafficking, corruption scandals within the force and hard core criminality sort of went to unprecedented levels under his watch and nose.

While the changes bring a sigh of relief, the security challenges in Uganda are systemic in nature.  The panacea to those problems lies in comprehensive security sector reforms.

Ugandans are eager to see democratic policing, genuine community policing, intelligence-led policing.  And a kind of policing that starts and ends with the people.  The challenge for the new police leadership is to match effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and integrity within the force.

In the eyes of a Ugandan, Police had become an “autonomous-too-powerful institution” in the literal sense.  Kayihura forgot that policing is not just done by the police.  Police had to relate well with other law enforcement actors, non-state actors, and whomever exercises police powers. Notwithstanding his background, I think he didn’t quite realise the importance of drawing the connections with other security functions such as internal and external security, policing and intelligence etc.

Kayihura may have done his best building the capacity of the force for operational usefulness and service delivery but he did not work on the integrity, human-side and accountability of the force in accordance with good governance.

His attempt to potentially lease part of the force to Kigali may have been his biggest undoing before his boss.

Well, Ochola and Sabiiti’s work is clearly cut out.

The writer is the Coordinator, Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy Uganda (CCEDU)