Dr Kiiza Besigye

Since I know that you are a member of this forum, I am going to use the resources of UAH to convey my few thoughts to you and your office regarding the situation we have in Uganda and specifically Kampala. Being a leader of opposition puts an enormous task on your shoulder for you have to build the picture of the government you want to build in Uganda, but you must as well be careful in the manner you structure it so that you come out as a different person from the government you oppose.

With that in mind, I have listened to your comments when you went to visit the women that were arrested and I could not help but wonder if you took a time to think through what you stated, and here is the tape I am referring to. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvUiASsGPOQ&NR=1 In that tape you made a statement that you are working for peace and you have no reason to be afraid of Uganda Police, for you are have broken no law, you continue to state that it is the Police that breaks the law. And that is a very disturbing statement especially when it comes from a leader of opposition, a very reason I have decided to raise it  in this late Uganda night hour.

You are a leader of opposition, that means that you believe in a structure that is in Uganda, it also means that you believe that Uganda has a government as an institution, for if you did not believe in the institution of the government, you would have stood in front of Ugandans and denounced leading a political party. And among those units that create the Uganda government institution is Uganda Police. And we can have a discussion as Ugandans of how effective or non effective is Uganda Police, and we can debate how efficient they are or not but as a Ugandan listening to my leader of opposition, a man I expect to lead the next government, I get very afraid when I hear you stating and in public that Uganda Police is a pile of law breakers. The best you would have done if you know that there is a problem in Uganda police is to use the system we have in Uganda which is to go through the ministry of internal affairs or through the parliamentary system to clean up this organization. I simply get very afraid when you stand in front of a micro phone make such an accusation against the entire Police force, when they have no chance to defend themselves. I wonder also if you have done a thorough study to reach a conclusion that the entire Uganda Police Force is full of criminals, these are way too many officers that put on that uniform, if you are to make such a statement you need to provide the back ground on how you have come to that conclusion, and what steps you have taken to clean up the Police Force. But even so, one would have expected you to use a different method of communication, for militarism has been tried in Uganda for ion years and it has simply failed.

And here is the danger in your words, you isolated the entire Police Force from the state, and you personalized it as a personal force. And as a Ugandan that is  where I question your agenda, what will you do suppose you are elected to power come next election? Are you going to fire the entire Police Force or you will work with it and build it? Is it a stand of FDC as a party that Uganda Police is a pile of criminals or it is your personal stand? If that is the stand of the party that is fine then stand up and make a public statement towards that. And it is in the right of FDC to stand up and state that you do not believe in the Police Force we have in Uganda,  and after you come to power you will fire it. But do not make such ambiguous statements which makes your leadership qualities questionable.

Since the Luwero war, a whole lot has gone very wrong in our country there is no debate about that. And much of that wrong has been built by we the Ugandans, so Uganda Police can’t simply be free from those wrongs, but I take a very bad breath when you our leaders and prospective leaders especially the leader of opposition, when he stands up and declare the entire national force to be a bunch of criminals. I have spent a time in Uganda and hard as life is, there are some very committed Police Officers in Uganda, the men and women that work day and night to see a better country but men and women that have been so screwed up by decisions you their leaders make. And of all people you should have understood this. And you stand up and use a camera to call all of them a bunch of criminals. Dr Besigye, it is these kinds of language that boils our population to the recent Kampala riots. If you call the Police force a pile of law breakers, why is it so wrong for a Ugandan to target them and kill them? But why should our children respect them?

I hope you think about my concern so that we as Ugandans start to build a sense of calmness and law abiding, and this all starts with you as a leader of opposition choosing your words very carefully especially towards the men and women that serve that country. And if FDC does not feel that Uganda Police is important then use the right channel which is the parliament of Uganda and pass a law to ban them straight out. If I was a Police Officer in Uganda today, I would hand in my badge, for I fail to see how I can function when a leader of opposition uses such a very irresponsible language. And irresponsible in every manner and form. And if Uganda Police is not wanted by FDC can you kindly list any or all other government institutions that FDC will not protect.

It is very interesting if we are moving from the movement language to this kind of language.

Edward Mulindwa

Kampala Uganda



2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Mukulu Mulindwa,

    This is such an opportune moment for Dr. Kizza Besigye, to make dialogue with the Ministry of internal affairs and Justice in Uganda including the Attorney general to change our approach to policing in Uganda completely.

    Even though he has been frustrated by many senseless arrests, and the death of his own brother, we have got to force solutions within these institutions of government-in other words they have to start working for the citizens of the country and what a great start, if they took the sensible and independent approach of qualifying arrest able offenses based on constitutionality .

    The arrest of the IPC women of courage, only goes to show that the administration has chosen to frustrate the opposition and this will continue if the other arms of government remain stubbornly numb to whats at stake here. There is enough blame to go around and we ought to take a systemic approach to find some resolve.

    We are so ripe for such a broad constitution discussion like Miranda rights and on protecting citizen’s rights an approach to policing in Uganda we ought not miss this opportunity.

    The approach we take on this will pretty much determine whether we are moving forward as a country or backwards, and the recent shooting near Buddo of seven unarmed men with their hands up is the worst display of abuse of power by a police unit resulting in wrongful death.

    Tendo Kaluma
    Ugandan in Boston

  2. Kalule Mbowa,

    Utter Nonsense!

    Dear Mulindwa, firstly thank you for your contribution to this forum, especially in this article which, to me, reawakens debate on the country’s Police Department’s gangrened approach to policing.

    It has been documented that the police, and of course other security forces, are the biggest abusers of human rights; and when it comes to corruption, they probably are up there with the judiciary, the presidency, the UPDF and government officials and almost every government department you can think of. Not even the opposition do-gooders can put this despicable record by government forces right.

    I am perhaps one of Besigye’s biggest critics, particularly on his style of leadership in his own party and as a Ugandan I strongly oppose his presumptive declaration to stand as party president, once again thus flag bearer at the 2011 polls. I think that overstaying as leader – don’t tell me that “people still want me to lead” Museveni’s crap- stifles young leadership talents and therefore kills democracy. I really wish Besigye could set an example to Museveni who has clung onto power for nearly all my life and make a strong statement that leaders can go, and quietly they do.

    That said, I can tell you this; there is absolutely nothing ambiguous about the former NRM man’s statement. I know he is some kind of ‘bring it on, I am ready for it’ sort of politician BUT he was unequivocal on his condemnation of the police, and rightly so.

    To me it is even nothing but utter nonsense for anyone to suggest that Dr Kizza Besigye as opposition leader, outside parliament, should not highlight the vile policing in the country. This is what being in the opposition is all about; you have to talk on behalf of the people, to investigate, open and prolong debate, suggest solutions and alternatives. It is about tirelessly pounding pressure on the government of the day whenever something (under their jurisdiction/management) goes wrong or appears to be going wrong; and attempt to influence policy in the right direction and change for the better. Be it mismanagement of public property, human rights abuse, terrible housing for police officers, brutality, poor schools or healthcare. End of! On this occasion, it was about the police attempting to abuse human rights.

    I would want Besigye to talk out even much louder on the nefarious way policemen and women and their families are exposed to sewerage and the unacceptable housing situation in places like Nsambya and Naguru barracks. It is one of the reasons why he is in the opposition – checks and balances.

    For sure, Mr Mulindwa, you don’t expect him to go around having coffees and teas with government officials as you seem to suggest, do you?.

    The Police is a breeding ground for criminals; it is documented that some members of the police have hired out guns (state property) to gangs that terrorised parts of Kampala. I can understand the pressures of the tough life we are all subjected to here in Uganda BUT still misuse or abuse of office remains a serious offence and therefore punishable. Zero-tolerance on all sorts of crime is the way to go, and it looks at organisations as a whole as well as individuals therein.

    Probably there are some good, law-abiding people in the police force, you are on about, unfortunately these, if they do exist, are very few. And the fact they are working for an organisation whose reputation remains in free fall whilst corruption therein touches on infinity, they certainly share responsibility. We win together, We lose together! My late grandpa used to say that to me [as a kid] whenever I attempted to seek exoneration from the other lot in the event of a mistake committed by a our group, and I think that is how it works in teamwork, like the police.

    So Yeah, I think your accusation of Besigye on empty nothingness was not well thought through and it is therefore very unfortunate and uncalled for. Instead I think we should be should be hands to unequivocally condemn Mr Museveni and his regime for the appalling standards of policing; and the high and ever burgeoning corruption not just in the Police but in the entire government. We should not let fear seal our mouths or even pretend as if the problem of police breaking the law they are meant to protect does not exist. We know it does exist and it won’t simply go away without someone putting their head above the pulpit.

    We should be courageous to detest Museveni’s grotesque and abysmal leadership style that lets police commit so many offences and yet they can go away without retribution; but also try to come up with better alternatives approaches. Period!

    Kalule Mbowa is a native of Mukono South, Uganda, from where he contributed this comment.

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