How IGP Kale Kayihura is steering Uganda Police towards middle-class status

How IGP Kale Kayihura is steering Uganda Police towards middle-class status
Eazzy Banking

With the commander- in- chief, President Museveni reappointed Gen Kale Kayihura as Inspector General of Police (IGP) for another three-year term — that places him at the helm of the country’s law and order agency until 2020, TheUgandan in interview exclusively talked to the decorated General about how the Uganda Police Force (UPF) has transformed qualitatively and quantitatively.

Do you think the police has executed its Constitutional mandate of ensuring law and order since 1986?

First I would like to clarify that the Constitutional mandate of the Uganda Police Force is not limited to law and order. Police is also mandated to protect life and property, ensure law and order, detect and prevent crime and work with the civilian authorities. In terms of protection of life and property, I can give you a proper account from 2006 when I came to Police as IGP.

The police have done better. We are at a better place than we were. At the time I came the crime rate was going up but now the figures show there has been a sharp decline throughout the country. For instance, when it comes to the fight against terrorism, Uganda is rated as one of the countries that have done so well. After the July 2010 terror attacks, there have been many attempts that we have systematically foiled. Moreover, we successfully prosecuted all the terror suspects in connection with the 2010 twin attacks.

We have also done well in ensuring public order including managing violent and unlawful demonstrations such as the 2007 Mabira riots, the 2009 Kayunga riots, walk to work demonstrations, numerous university riots, tensions among the Muslim community to mention but a few. As we talk now the country has never enjoyed the kind of peace and order than we are doing now. It’s unprecedented.

As the Inspector General of Police, I can comfortably say I am satisfied that we have definitely executed our mandate challenges notwithstanding. We have also managed three general elections in a democratic dispensation.

How far have the police evolved in terms of numbers and professionalism since you took over?

When I came in the police strength was 14,000 but we have managed to expand it to over 44,670 at present. Secondly, at the time I came in there was hardly any in-house apart from leadership courses at the Uganda Management Institute and a few exercises in public order management which were not serious. Today, we have established a number of training schools. We have Kabalye Police training school in Masindi, Olilim for Counterterrorism in Katakwi and Ikafe for Public Order Management. Above all we have started a top notch Senior Command and Staff College at Bwebajja, the first of its kind since the police was established in 1906. Training is a top priority among all priorities and we look at it the foundation of professionalism.

How have you equipped the police to respond to the sophisticated nature of crime and criminal who are using technology?

It is true that contemporary crime has become sophisticated and is mostly manifested through cyber in the form of 3 D printing, internet abuse, computer hacking and criminals taking advantage of global networks and modern communication systems. The President has given clear directives on investing and building forensics labs for both for the police and for the Government laboratory in Wandegeya. In collaboration with the Italian Carabinieri, we are in advanced stages of expanding the forensic center of excellence and soon it will be one of the most advanced forensic complexes in Africa. We have also acquired the most modern ballistic analysis equipment through partnership with the East African Community and the European Union. This technology will help us in analyzing and investigating gun-related crimes. The police is also acquiring an automated fingerprinting machine. Additionally, we are at an advanced stage of the CCTV camera surveillance project which will simplify police work.

The CCTV Cameras will further be linked with the national database and the ballistic technology. Important to note, we have expanded the operational space. We are no longer restricted to operating on land but we now have an effective capability to fi ght crime on the water through our marine unit, our air wing has been revived and now in the process of investing in drones. I can proudly say that we are four-dimensional. However, we must anchor technology on the vigilance of our people. You cannot replace the human being in fighting crime.

How many options does the police have in public order management and how have you addressed the public concern on police brutality?

Our strategy in handling public disorders and violence has been preventive. That has been our thrust and that has largely informed the options that we have exercised. We are not naïve, however, to think that the police will at all times manage to convince disgruntled people and elements of outlaws in our society. In that regard we continue to substantially invest in public order management equipment. Riot control vehicles, basic public order equipment like batons, shields and so on. We have held constructive engagements before. When we detect that certain disgruntled groups are about to stage a demonstration, we preventively engage them. Some media houses have been unfair to us claiming that our principle weapon of dealing with demonstrations is brutality and teargas because of the few mistakes made by individual police offi cers. This criticism is a complete misrepresentation of facts. Our major weapon is actually peaceful engagement. This characterization of the police as being brutal has really been unfair just because of a few incidents here and there. Watch and see what plays out in the developed worlds. I am not excusing mistakes of individual police offi cer but don’t characterize it to the whole force. As we talk for instance, the standing order in regarding to responding to demonstrations is baton charge. Target the real trouble maker; don’t use teargas which will affect people who are not part of the problem.

You are rated as the IGP that has pulled resources to the police. How come the accommodation and welfare is still a challenge?

By the way that is not the full story. Yes I have pulled resources to the police but I have also made initiatives that are cost effective. Use the little that we have to achieve as much as we can. The President has on a number of times commended us for using little to achieve much, which comes down to our management strategies. We are able to put arrangements in place to acquire equipment even with little resources. It’s that approach that we are using to solve the accommodation problem.

We have started solving the daunting problem of accommodation in a very strategic and effective way. By the way when we talk about the accommodation problem, it’s only in the lower half of Uganda but in many parts of the North we have built modern stations and barracks.

The police has built its in-house engineering capacity through the recruitment of engineers. We currently have 15 qualified engineers in the force. Using this in-house capacity and with the support of crime preventers, we have embarked on building 120 apartments on 17 blocks at the Nakawa-Ntinda barracks. We need a minimum of 10,000 apartments Kampala Metropolitan alone. These apartments are being built by our construction units.

Apart from accommodating staff, we have achieved a lot in the area of office accommodation. For the first time during my tenure as IGP, the police has built a state-of-art headquarters and through PRDP the program also built several police stations across the country, especially in the North.

We also score highly in terms of health facilities. For instance, we have recruited 6 police surgeons built a 40-bed polyclinic at Naguru in partnership with Iranian police and at the final phase of completing a cancer treatment center at Kololo.

On Many occasions, Police is seen operating with other security agencies especially the UPDF. Does this mean the police is incapable of protecting Ugandans?

That is a complete misrepresentation. Security agencies working together means that Uganda has a strategy to employ all its capabilities to deal

with internal security. Moreover, this is global phenomenon. In many advanced countries all security apparatus are put together to respond to life-threatening complex crimes and disorders such as terrorism. We actually have a Joint Operational Command (JOC) security architecture that is police led. As you can see, this is not a problem but rather a strength of ensuring maximum security in the country.

What measures has the police put in place to address the question of human Rights violations by its officers as reported in Human Rights Reports?

First of all, let me put the record straight. I was recently at a JLOS meeting and the reports were showing that there were lesser complaints of human rights violations against the police and that the police was the most recognizable and appreciated institution of government.

This story of human rights violations is that of the past. Yes there might be a few bad apples but we have got the Professional Standard Unit which is supposed to investigate all violations and whoever is found to be culpable is taken to the disciplinary courts of police and if the offense is criminal in nature handed over to CID and the courts of law.

Our strategy is to as much as possible prevent any violations. We are achieving this through emphasizing professionalism and training. Moreover, our community policing philosophy also focuses on making the police accountable to the people they serve.

Gen. Kale you were recently quoted in the media instructing your officers that police must get things done. Have the police been sleeping on duty?

That was my New Year resolution. To reemphasize, I want to push myself to get things done. What I meant is that starting with myself, and I expect every to follow suite, we must push ourselves harder to serve the people. If you about to fall asleep on your job, wake yourself up or your supervisor wakes you up. If you are investigating a case put in more efforts. If you are in charge of the welfare of the police in terms of providing logistics make sure they have them. I don’t want to go to a unit and find that they have not eaten. If you are in charge of  projects like the housing project push yourself. I can tell you we are working day and night, we have no room for mediocrity.

For the last few years, police recruitment has continued to attract many professional graduates. What explains this?

This is true during my tenure time as IGP. This is an indication that the police brand has grown because of the efforts we have put in to professionalize and modernize it. It is not by accident that we are attracting the young graduates. The young people see a future in the force. By the way, the numbers are overwhelming and we are turning many away.

 

To what extend has the new concept of community policing enabled the police to fight and reduce crime?

Frankly, it has greatly contributed in the fight against crime. Community policing as a philosophy is built on three major principles—Prevention, partnership and problem-solving. The Uganda Community policing model has been voted to be a center of excellence. This model is unique in the sense that its anchored in the traditions like Gwanga Mujje (come together) and Bulunji bwansi (voluntarism).

Under the prevention principle, the concept of crime prevention has been introduced and nationally supported by millions of crime preventers who have enthusiastically enrolled to support police in the fight against crime. Our philosophy draws from our legacy going back to Mayumba kumi system. It also draws from the NRA bush war security crime management system. Crime preventers are the first line of defense of the community. This security doctrine was officially launched by the H. E the President in 2014 as the official policing model. The president continues to give us full support to enable us secure the country.

How has the Government contributed to the growth of police during your term tenure in terms of budget allocations?

I must extend my gratitude to His Excellency the President and Government for the unending visionary support.

How has the police performed in regard to family related crimes that have recently taken a center stage?

It is still a challenge. Our Child and family unit has done a great job and I demand of them to do much more. We plan to upgrade this unit to a one-stop center to handle cases related to domestic violence, defilement, rape and general family disagreement.

Are you comfortable with the level of physical fitness of your officers to perform their duties?

Physical fitness is a lifeline of a police officer and this is what we have been emphasizing. Apart from training which builds physical fitness, we have made it a priority for our officers to regularly keep fit. We have established a unit for fitness and wellness. This unit organizes weekly marathons and sports activities. This is a fair start though in my opinion more should be done. I am not satisfied and but at the same time, I am not discouraged because certainly the state of fitness in 2006 when I came in and what is there today is much better.

What measures have you put in place to fight the ever increasing transborder and transnational crimes?

When you talk about transnational crimes, you talk about human trafficking, money laundering, and drug trafficking. At the national level, we are putting in place specialized units to deal with kind of challenges. To deal with these organized crimes you have to use different approaches from the traditional ones through cooperation at the EAPCO level, Interpol level, using the databases that have managed to pro-actively prevent and successfully investigated such crimes. We are building more capacity and partnerships at bilateral and multinational levels to strengthen our capacities.

What is Gen. Kale’s vision for UPF in the next 5 years?

I could categorize them into four: Building a professional and patriotic officer and this is somebody who understands his mission and is convinced about it and driven. He moves in his own steam. When I talk about patriotism I mean someone who sees his mission in the broader context of the national and historical mission of his generation as well as the national vision articulated by our leadership of attaining a middle-income status in otherwords he sees his work at an individual level and links it to all this. A police force that is close and one with the people through the communities they work in through community policing.

Modernization, continuing to attract specialists like these young engineers and specialists which in the modern police are critical as well as investing in technologies that we need to deal with the sophisticated modern day security threats. Improving the conditions of work of our officers as well as the places where they live with their families.

What legacy would you wish to leave the police when that time comes?

It is really building a professional and patriotic force which is respected by the people and feared by criminals. I would like to leave a legacy of individual professional officers who are proud and happy and are living in modern housing apartments. I want to see a concrete expression of a middle-income status. I want a safe country and a police force that is able to eliminate unnecessary deaths through criminal violence.

You seem to be sacrificing a lot, how is your average day like as IGP?

You know I don’t agree with the notion that I have sacrificed. I don’t regard what I do as a sacrifice. I love and I am happy with what I do. Of course, there are frustrations especially when you don’t achieve, but largely I am happy and I don’t feel any pressure. I don’t think I would be happier doing anything else but public service. I will be more fulfilled when I get more involved in a community to make a difference. That sense of community service is what gives me fulfillment.

My whole life is my work I can tell you. I am consumed with what I do. I have no other diversions. My work is not part-time but its full time. Actually, it’s my mission. To keep fit and stress-free I do morning run sometimes. I would want to do it every day but I don’t succeed.

Sometimes I play tennis in the evening. It’s part of stress management and improving my productivity just like I talked about physical fitness. Finally, I would like to point out that I don’t work alone. I delegate some of my responsibilities to my Deputy and other Directors.

For feedback and story tips, contact: stephenmuneza@gmail.com, +256772544870 or Twitter @stephenkmuneza

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