President Yoweri Museveni has warned Members of Parliament to be careful when they are talking ill against the national army which has ensured Uganda remains peaceful for decades.
“You be careful when you insult the UPDF, even if you are a Member of Parliament. You and me are delegates of other people. The real owners of the country are outside,” Museveni said Tuesday while addressing the nation at Serena hotel in Kampala.
He said peace means absence of war but it must also include absence of lawlessness, citing the NRA/UPDF that has ensured peace in the country by defeating Kony, ADF and disarming the cattle rustlers in Karamoja.
“The UPDF has the capacity to ensure that nobody disturbs the peace of Uganda. However, as you saw recently, there has been a spike of lawlessness in the country involving the murder of AIGP Kaweesi, Sheikhs, Major Kiggundu, Joan Kagezi, Chairman Okware in Namayingo, Rwamutwe in Bushenyi, the town clerk of Gulu, the Eritrean businessman, etc.”
Museveni said there were also numerous break-ins in homes and some people were throwing leaflets threatening violence. In Mukono, there was the increased stealing of vanilla from the gardens. Some people started panicking.
“When I went to the home of the late Kawesi, I told you of the gaps that were still in our law and order architecture. These gaps were unattended to until recently, not because they were not known, but because of lack of funding on account of competing demands.”
He added: “Here, I am talking of the technical means for the Police Force and the counter-terrorism capacity of the country. Without going into details, I can point out to the Hon. Members, the absence of cameras in the towns and the highways. These gaps put alot of burden on the CID to discover the one that committed the crime depending on eye-witnesses and other clues.”
Museveni said the cameras would hasten the identification of anybody who commits a crime in the towns or the highways.
“This is a gap I have given instructions to close. Meanwhile, the rich businessmen and residents that can afford should install cameras around their businesses and residences. They greatly assist.”
He said the Police will also acquire greater forensic technical capacity using the limited means available to the Police, in the form of Police dogs to detect explosives, scanners, metal detectors, etc., and that the Police backed by the UPDF, when there is good planning, can guarantee security against any lawless or terrorist actions.
The recent peaceful holding of the Martyrs Day, where an estimated 3 million people turned up, shows that Police and the UPDF already have good capacity, the gaps already mentioned notwithstanding.
Police needs a clean up
Nevertheless, the Police and the intelligence services have been rightly criticized by the public for being lax in handling information given to them by the public, sometimes leaking this information, corruption in the form of extorting money from the public, high-handedness in dealing with the public and protecting criminals or allowing criminals to infiltrate the Police.
“The Police leadership must, therefore, carefully listen to the public and clean up the few rotten elements,” Museveni said.
“Otherwise, I can inform the public that, ever since 1980, when we started recruiting educated people into that force, the Police has got a very large number of capable cadres.”
Museveni said those who taint their hand with hobnobbing with criminals will only let themselves down.
He said the Police Force will continue to grow stronger as it was planned to do by the UNLF in 1980 and, subsequently, by the NRM ever since 1986.
The Police do not have to wait for the crime to be committed. Through good intelligence, most crimes can be prevented, the president pointed out.
He observed that most of the suspects arrested after the murder of Kawesi and others, even if they were not involved in the killing of Kawesi, they had committed other capital offences, many of which carry death sentences or life imprisonment.
“Why, then, were they still in circulation? That means somebody was not doing his or her work.”
The attempt by the criminals to cause rural scare by throwing leaflets, stealing vanilla from the gardens, occasional murders and rape, is easier to deal with because the villages are not as congested as the towns.
He reported that 78 suspects have been arrested for being involved in crime in the Masaka and Mpigi areas because of the massive security apparatus comprised of the Police, the crime preventers and the UPDF, which can easily handle that village thuggery.
Museveni said he has addressed the issue of alleged torture by the Police in the usual NRM/NRA way.
“We always combine educational methods (sensitization) and administrative methods (punishments, demotions, etc,). When these reports came up, I carried out analysis of torture and how it, actually, impedes successful investigations.”
He called it a very powerful message because it addresses the whys and the why-nots of an issue because it addresses the “Policeman of the mind” rather than just the “Policeman of the body”.
“I saw some NGOs and allied persons pouring scorn on my methods and recommending only fascist methods of arrests and imprisonment without education. Could these “experts in-everything” tell us why the UPDF is able to operate in Somalia, Central African Republic, Congo, South Sudan, etc. without complaining? Is it because of high pay or fear of imprisonment? Do these “know-it-alls” remember that our Army is a volunteer Army? Do they know that one can make much more money in the private sector than in the army?”
He went on: “Let the “know-it-alls” be informed that the UPDF does what it does because of conviction. Okunyonyora (to explain, to sensitise) has been the life and blood of Fronasa, of the NRA, of the UPDF. To end this point, be informed that Uganda is free of war and it will remain so and the spike in lawlessness is being defeated even before we fill all the gaps and will be totally defeated when the gaps are filled.”
He said Uganda will be like in one old song of the Banyankore which went as follows: “Muyogo na Muyuumbu ei abaan bariisa ente” ─ Muyogo and Muyuumba (part of present-day Ntungamo) were so peaceful that children were brave enough to look after cattle because there was no threat.