Human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo agrees police chief Kale Kayihura was right to say police is rotting from bottom upwards.
While responding to Mubende District residents’ queries on officers allegedly protecting land grabbers, Kayihura said the police force is rotten from bottom but functioning at the top management.
“The rot in police is from the bottom but for me as a commander on top I am still very clean. I am on the operation to build police afresh starting with Mubende. I have suspended these officers and I promise I am bringing you angels who will work,” Gen Kayihura is quoted by Daily Monitor as saying.
He then suspended officers for conniving with one Princess Naava who has threatened to evict residents from the land she claims to be hers.
The suspended officers include Wamala Regional Police Commander (RPC) Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Christopher Barugahare, Mubende District Police Commander (DPC), Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Charles Magoola, Officer in Charge of Criminal Investigation department (OC -CID), Superintendent of Police (SP), Dawda Swalik and OC Lands ASP Hakim Mukama.
But lawyer Opiyo sought to mock the police chief citing the horrendous conditions his juniors are living in while Kayihura lives in luxury.
“Kale Kayihura, Uganda’s Police Chief is ‘right’, the police is rotting from down up,” Opiyo said.
“I mean this sort of rotting,” he added, sharing a picture of ramshackle shanties and shacks that serve as officers’ houses.
“While he [Kayihura] and his commanders live in lavish pads, junior officers live worse than police dogs – both I term of housing and feeding,” the lawyer pointed out.
This comes at a time former Buyende DPC, Muhammad Kirumira, said police rot was in top management that hobnobs with criminals at the expense of police image and efforts of lower commanders.
Kirumira was arrested and detained at the dreaded high profile detention facility, Nalufenya, in Jinja District after saying criminals were powerful because they are supported by police’s top command.
But Kayihura tasked Professional Standards Unit (PSU) Commandant, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), John Okalanyi, to probe Kirumira’s role in land grabbing and other service offences perhaps to be charged in police disciplinary tribunal.
Early in the week, parliament directed government through the Minister of Internal Affairs to explain why police operatives used grinders to break through the doors of the house of Kirumira during his arrest.
Mitooma Woman MP, Jovah Kamateeka, who chairs the Committee on Human Rights, brought ASP Kirumira’s plight to the attention of the House, saying operatives of the police Flying Squad Unit (FSU) “extracted” their colleague from his home “like a rat” and left his family traumatised.
Ms Kamateeka questioned why police could not wait and arrest Kirumira from the police court where he was scheduled to appear that day.
“This is a man whose only artillery was his tongue but to cut down the door of his house to extract him like a rat was not necessary. Kirumira was supposed to come to court on that day and they could have got him there. The whole exercise was done in total disregard of the other members of the family who were left traumatised,” Kamateeka said.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga directed the State Minister for Internal Affairs, Obiga Kania to explain why ASP Kirumira was arrested in such a manner but the minister had no ready answers and pleaded to table an explanation next week.
Kirumira, who is under detention at the notorious Nalufenya detention facility in Jinja District, faces charges of neglect of duty contrary of Section 44(1) Code 19, corruption practices contrary to Section 44(1) Code 23(a).
The other charge he faces is discreditable or irregular conduct contrary to Section 44(1) Code 12 of the Police Act.
Additional reporting by Daily Monitor