Kaweesi investigations so far
Experts have thrown up clues from every direction as to what the motive of the killers or those who contracted them was. According to the new Police Spokesperson, AIGP Asan Kasingye, the force is checking out most of them.
But as has happened before in such high profile investigation by the force, bickering is beginning to frustrate the team handling the case.
The pessimism is largely driven by Akullo being tasked to accomplish such a tough assignment when she has been sidelined and her morale may be at its lowest.
Then there is the intensified intrigue amongst security agencies she is supposed to work with. Some of the heads of the other agencies sense that Gen. Kayihura, who has stifled them because of his closeness to President Yoweri Museveni, is vulnerable now and they can assert themselves. Their challenge is that they can do the job the police cannot do and working under Akullo frustrates that.
Akullo also seems to sense the tensions. She does not walk with the same bounce as she did when she was appointed to head CID in 2012 and President Museveni publicly sang her praises.
When The Independent on March 27 tried to get her to talk about some of the emerging issues around the Kaweesi case, she was cagey and not as communicative as before.
“Ask the IGP or the Spokesperson,” she said flatly to most of the questions raised.
Reports have indicated that a possible early lead was that Kaweesi had visited a priest and showed them a death threat message. However, one of the deceased’s confidants, claims to have spent most of that day with Kaweesi, knows the meetings he had, and does not recall any meeting with a priest.
“Whoever is advancing that theory simply knows that Kaweesi was a religious person,” the source said, “before following such claims, police needs to talk to as many people as possible, ask as many questions as possible before arriving at any conclusions.”
Like this confidant, many got disturbed by the pictures circulating in the media of suspects, police claimed it arrested in relation to Kaweesi’s murder. Police claims they have arrested over six suspects.
There is also questions about how conveniently Gen. Kayihura, announced that some of these suspects had been arrested as they escaped to hide into DRC only a few days after President Museveni had vowed to get the criminals arrested even if they attempted “to hide in DRC”.
Critics are not taking this lightly especially because the police has in the past been accused of coming up with suspects and coaching them as witnesses to pin other suspects.
A lawyer who declined to be named told The Independent that some of their clients had raised concerns that some senior police officers have on several occasions been involved in coaching witnesses at Nalufenya Prison, where all the high profile suspects in the killings are being held.
At the height of the trial of Muslim sheiks, court records indicate that two other lawyers, raised the same concerns before the judge.
“The trend has been that they arrest and then begin to investigate,” the lawyer said on conditions of anonymity, “And most of the times, you get the sense that they aim to pin someone by hook or crook even if evidence is not there.”
The lawyer says sometimes, it feels like the police just wants to show the public that they have the suspects. And even when they fail to come up with evidence, they refuse to release these people. There are suspects in Nalufenya under such situations, the lawyer said.
Other critics say the problem is down to police’s inability to investigate.
Fred Egessa, a private investigator, told The Independent that part of the problem is the composition of investigators.
“CIID has been deprived of senior investigators,” he told The Independent, “these have been recalled to police headquarters and are just seated in uniform.”
When that happens, he explained, experience is lost yet in investigations, one case teaches you how to deal with the other. He said what you have today handling these cases are novices at the job. “They might be senior officers,” Egessa said, “but they have no experience in this kind of work.”
Egessa said interference of mainstream police leadership in CIID work is a major problem. Many of the people spoken to hinted on this.
“CIID should have some level of autonomy,” Egessa said, “but as it is, police headquarters controls it too much. Headquarters takes officers from CIID as they wish. CIID is also not facilitated, they are poor and do not have resources to move with in the public and get information.”
Egessa noted the there is no way senior investigators like Edward Ochom and Godfrey Musana, should not be the ones handling these cases.