Newly appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochora described his predecessor Gen. Kale Kayihura as ‘unprofessional’ in a vetting session with lawmakers at Parliament Thursday, sources in the appointments committee revealed.
During a discussion with the vetting team headed by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Ochola ho has served for 30 years in the Force grew frustrated at the suggestion that the Police had long lost professionalism, especially during the Kayihura regime that he Ochola served in as deputy.
“Police professionalism started going astray after Gen. Katumba Wamala had left the force,” he said to MPs, suggesting that it was Kayihura as Police boss who led them to lose public trust.
He also told the committee ‘he did his job professionally during Katumba’s era.” Then ‘junior officers could call senior officers and ignore hierarchy’.
Ochola also opened up to MPs about a recent case of an officer who was allegedly arrested getting involved in a dubious deal but Gen. Kayihura allegedly ordered for his release.
Kayihura often appointed and deployed officers only to turn around and accuse them of being incompetent.
Senior officers resorted to playing it safe only waiting to be assigned by the boss lest they do anything that may not go down well with him thus the birth of a common police term ‘match timing’ or staying on until retirement.
Ochola, known to be media shy, is the first carrier police man to command the Uganda Police Force in 17 years. But Ochola has inherited a force that has generally lost public trust, following widespread reports of abuse of human rights, a spike in crime and political suppression of the opposition.
As Okoth-Ochola takes up the ruins, he has an uphill task to deal with internal force discipline, pay debts, comfort officers who have endured 12 years of distress and tongue lashing from their former boss.