COMMENT | Samson Tinka | For the whole of last week, Deputy IGP Paul Okech and his team updated the country on the hunt of the suspected killers of Gen Katumba Wamala’s daughter Brenda Nantongo and driver Haruna Kayondo. The updates showed how joint security teams made breakthrough after breakthrough, as they hunted for the planners, facilitators and executors of that horrible mission that left General Katumba himself injured last month.
Why celebrate this milestone?
In the last decade, the country has registered similar shootings and death but without outright arrests and prosecution. Although there were many arrests and prosecutions, soon after, prominent persons would still be killed in similar manner. In most of if not all cases, the killers’ modus operadi almost had similar features including use of boda bodas and targeting high public figures. The public would therefore remain un convinced of efforts put across by security officers in hunting of these criminals.
But this time, the security teams stepped up their game. I and fellow countrymen are this time convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Gen Lokech and his team have finally picked up the right chaps. The press releases have been very timely, supported with visual well collaborated evidence both physical and scientific. Apart from those who were killed, the rest of the suspects seem to be in very good condition and this is a very positive trend.
Use of CCTV
Sometime last year, New Vision published my article on the importance of CCTV. When Ugandan government chose to invest in national CCTV infrastructure deep down in my heart I was convinced that Uganda’s crimes would be cut by half in very short time. CCTV addresses four questions instantly in investigation of a physical crime – that is – who did it, what time it was done, where the crime took place and who was there( as a facilitator or witness)? When these questions are answered, 70% of an investigation report is done. What is required is supporting the findings with scientific evidence like ballistic reports, DNA results, post-mortem report, telephone data callouts and sequencing. When all these are put together, DPP will find no hurdles in sanctioning the file. The trial magistrate or judge would therefore be convinced with facts, and have a soft job during prosecution and deciding on the cases. Government is now realizing return on investment on the funds invested in CCTV infrastructure. If Uganda police can commit more human resources and put to full use this system, we shall see a lot of timely arrests and prosecutions as a result of the CCTV network alone.
Timely public engagements
On many occasions, there has been similar milestones reached by joint security teams but I think stakeholder engagement has not been the best in terms timely disseminating information. This time around, Gen Lokech and team chose to keep the public informed with timely updates and it appears they chose to inform the public with facts whether bitter or sweet. This should be the culture going forward and other government agencies should learn from this practice. The public wants information so that anxiety, guesswork, speculation, rumours, dreamers are all answered and sorted out. Lack of information from the right sources gives a platform to the liars to sell their wrong information and the public will quickly buy in these pedestrian cheap talk.
Ability by security team to crack this criminal unit
It’s evident now that the fellows who targeted Gen Katumba were not the usual causal criminals but hard nuts to crack. By looking at their movements, how they trailed the General, the shifting of killer guns from place to place clearly shows that these guys are “bad”. It must have cost security team a lot of time and resources to coordinate this investigation. High five to the security team and keep the foot on the peddle and uproot all the associates of these goons so that Kampala and Uganda can again enjoy a sound sleep.
The time spent by joint security team to arrest and discover exhibits has been the shortest ever especially for such hardened criminals. Time is critical ingredient in such crimes. The longer it takes to arrest real suspects and prosecute them, the possibility of missing the right parties rises. The joint security team has once again demonstrated to Ugandans its ability to run down criminality in Uganda.
Finally, I call on Gen Lokech and team, not tire but scale up the operations and fix our nation. Corona is taking a toll on Uganda and the world at large, we don’t need any other detractor. Use this opportunity to comb every corner and don’t leave behind any member of this group. From the financiers, promoters, well-wishers, actual foot criminals and accomplices – have them in your fist. I call on the CCCTV team double the efforts.
The public is now eyeing how courts of law will deal with these suspects. I hope the families of Maj Kigundu and Afande Kawesa who were killed earlier, and the Katumba family will see justice done to those who took away lives of their loved ones. Such cases which have caused pain to many should be expedited. The public is hungry to see that Brenda and Haruna get justice.
Once again, thank you joint security team and we celebrate the little or big milestone together. Kindly build on it so that we can continue celebrating other milestones. Private homes and businesses should also install CCTV systems to supplement government CCTV infrastructure.
Samson Tinka is a safety and security consultant | Director Matts Secure Solutions Ltd | tindsam@yahoo