Turning Uganda Police Into a Branch of The Army, Understanding The Consequences

L-R: Ex Police Deputy Chief Sabiiti Muzeyo and IGP Martins Okoth Ochola- FILE PHOTO

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By Professor Oweyegha-Afunaduula

In Uganda the militarization of politics and the militarization of the police are parallel processes that have been pursued by the President of Uganda, Tibuhaburwa Museveni, simultaneously and consciously.

L-R: Ex Police Deputy Chief Sabiiti Muzeyo and IGP Martins Okoth Ochola- FILE PHOTO

As Andrew Mwenda once told the world, every thing that is done or pursued by the President is done with a political motive. The political motive of militarizing politics and the Uganda Police simultaneously and consciously can only be one:

Perennial power retention, not by him as such because he is not perennial, but by a small group of people that belongs to a perennial group that happens to have captured the instruments of power by force of arms in 1986. That group has a militarized collective mind and thinks and acts only in military terms and in political terms only by accident.

So, since politics is subordinate to militarism under the rule of President Museveni, the ultimate end is to penetrate politics and the police militarily and use politics only for the purpose of clothing militarism with a civilian deception.

With fallen Idi Amin Dada, he did not want to lie, pretend or deceive Ugandans and the World. He banned politics altogether and ruled militarily altogether, although he retained the professionalism of the civil service, Agriculture, Judiciary and the police.

He never transferred soldiers from the army to those spheres of human endeavor. He even left Makerere University alone professionally, although he clogged it with spies and made some academic staff run away, leaving the Institution depleted.

In this article I want to concentrate on the militarization of the Uganda Police for power retention, not really ensuring security for Ugandans and their Properties.

What is making me erect this statement for all seasons is because the more the Uganda Police has been militarized, the more crime has increased; the more people’s and community land has been grabbed by men in uniform; and the more Ugandans have been brutalized almost jointly by both the army and the militarized Police, sometimes causing the President himself expressing concern about the brutalization of Ugandans.

If cases of crime against humanity involving men in uniform have been pursued Police, increasingly military, none of the perpetuated of those crimes has been apprehended. Quite often they have been protected from the full arm of the law.

By militarization of the police I do not just mean military training of the police officers and use of military tactics to keep law and order. I also mean the total reorganization of the police force so that the command chain from the Inspector General of Police to the lower levels of organization of the Uganda Police Force, the personnel is now almost completely in the hands of the military.

At one time the Inspector General of Uganda Police (IGP) was a General in the UPDF. Right now the IGP is a professional policeman who is the last relic of the true Uganda Police as we knew it. The two officers immediately under him are not policemen but Generals of the UPDF. Virtually all commanders of police posts are military men. Even Intelligence officers in the police force are increasingly military
What this means is that the country and Ugandans are almost completely militarily encircled. It is as if the people are the real enemies of the diminishing State. There is no more Uganda Police as we knew it to protect civilians and their properties as used to be the case.

All guns are pointed at the civilians. No one can say he or she is free. Not even the unborn. It is now power in perpetuity or never. But not everyone can access the power. Only a small group of people. The others who think they are in power or with power are simply servicing the small group.

When President Tibuhaburwa captured the instruments of power by force of power, he negotiated with leaders of political parties to suspend their political activities. Over the years he has been able to depoliticize the parties and render them almost dysfunctional, and only uses them in elections and in Parliament to show the World that he loves and practices democracy. However, they are constantly and persistently under check jointly by army and the militarized Police.

The first institution the President wanted to get rid of as soon as he captured power in 1986 was the Uganda Police. According to historical accounts the Police constrained his rebel activities in the Luwero Triangle. However, he did not get rid of it because his foreign backers UK and USA – advised him against doing so. However, by other means the President has been able to get rid of the Uganda Police and make police work a constituency of the army.

We have already experienced the consequences, and more are unfolding. As stated above, the work of Uganda Police and the Army is to protect the power of President Tibuhaburwa Museveni at all costs, and by extension, a small group of people with a similar mindset that only members of their group must be in and own power, using Uganda’s financial and natural resources.

Guns are used in every election organized by the regime to ensure leaders from alternative parties do not organize, campaign effectively or access power. Those that go to Parliament only make noise in there as the President gets everything he wants.

Sometimes they have even been attacked militarily while in Parliament when they have tried to deviate. And on the whole, the human rights record of Government is worsening as the instruments of coercion turn fiercely on the people.

The future of Uganda has never been so uncertain in the last 35 years of President Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s rule as it is today. The reason is President Tibuhaburwa Museveni himself, his choices and his action. We are now mired in contradiction in every sphere of human life, but the President has positioned himself in such a way that problems start with him as the cause and end with him as the only provider of solutions.

The absolute majority of Ugandans now believe without President Tibuhaburwa Museveni there is is no Uganda. Many believe most actions of banditry have their origins in the choices and actions of the President. Many believe the Uganda Police as a constituency of the army can no longer ensure peace and security for Ugandans. This is unfortunate.

For God and MY Country

The writer is a Ugandan Scientist and Environmentalist

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