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ANALYSIS: Kirumira murder

Why security agencies are finding difficulty catching the killers

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Almost a month after the gruesome murder of Muhammad Kirumira on Sept.8 there is little hope security agencies can find the killers of the former Buyende District Police commander.

Part of the problem is that elements in security agencies are key suspects in the investigation. The despair also has to do with the fact that security agencies have in the past failed to crack murder cases involving other high profile public figures.

Kirumira, become a very controversial officer who was at the centre of fights with the current and former police leaderships, low ranking officers, and was increasingly seen an outspoken critic of the entire establishment—which makes it more complicated to easily zero in on what could have motivated his killers.

Also while authorities have arrested security operatives as suspects in his murder, Kirumira was murdered in a similar fashion as public officials who security authorities say were killed by elements in the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Experts also say criminal investigation capability is also not at its best.

Amidst all this, President Museveni on Oct.1 announced on social media that the Chieftance of Military Intelligence (CMI) squads had arrested a number of suspects in the killing of ASP Kirumira on Friday night. “Quite a number of them will appear in court soon,” he posted on his Face Book page, “In the process, one of them, by the names of Kateregga Abdu, was shot and later died of his injuries. It turns out that Kateregga was one of the ADF terrorists that had benefited from Amnesty in the past. This, therefore, is to put on notice all the killers that the wages of sin is death ( Romans 6:23 ).”

Kirumira’s murder came just over three month following another murder, this time of former legislator, Ibrahim Abiriga, and over a year after another high profile murder of former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, his bodyguard Kenneth Erau and driver Godfrey Mambewa.

Like these officers, Kirumira was slain by gunmen riding on two motorbikes who sprayed with bullets the car he was in together with a female friend identified as Resty Nalinya. She died instantly and Kirumira a few minutes later as he was being driven to hospital.

Kirumira’s killers had been tracking him and had established his routine, police sources say. He, for example, had been a regular user of Musoke Road along Mityana Road, where he met his death. This is a few kilometres from his home in Gogonya Zone B, Bulenga, Wakiso District. Witnesses have reported that it was routine for him to park his car at the roadside and chat with boda boda riders at the nearby stage before embarking on his journeys.

Private investigator Fred Egesa, has told The Independent that the most obvious common thread in Kirumira’s murder and that of other high profile personalities is the method is shooting; by assailants on motorbikes as an easy gate away.

Egesa who is a former cop told The Independent investigation teams are still behind on what it takes to make definitive criminal investigations.

Like other criminal investigators The Independent has spoken to, Egesa agrees with the view that “machines do not catch criminals, people do.” Yet there has been a lot of focus on beefing up the technology—erecting cameras on the street, amongst others—and less talk on improving the personnel that handles these investigations.

Amongst others, Egesa says, agencies were politicised and people with no skills and experience were put in charge and those with the experience ignored.

“In the absence of refined personnel,” Egesa notes, “whatever evidence is picked is likely to be messed up.”

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