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Museveni’s wavering fight against assassins

Crime preventers  

In 2014 Museveni started his journey on evolving tactics on fighting the rising levels of crime in the country as his rule became longer and longer. First with crime preventers who were recruited from universities and from hordes of unemployed youth groups. Championed by then Inspector General of Police IGP Gen. Kale Kayihura, the crime preventers would work as informants to police officers and listening post in rural areas as Kayihura touted the model of community policing.

However it was not long before the crime preventers were involved in Museveni’s election campaigns and sucked into money schemes. Kayihura had resorted to scheming chunks off money from the police budget to cater to crime preventers. The crime preventers scheme collapsed after the 2016 elections and they had become more renowned for creating pockets of crime than actual crime fighting.

Some of Museveni’s critics like Gen. Mugisha Muntu, a former army commander and presidential candidate in the 2021 polls, says the varying tactics and response mechanisms are a result of investing heavily in regime survival tactics. “He puts more money in riot control than any other aspect of policing. It is not about security of the people”.

Muntu says it is largely a question of money in the law and order sector. “If you do not put enough money in CID, prosecutions and judiciary, that is what happens.”

The leader of the new party, Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), says police having a large budget does not cut it. “Not every police officer can carry out investigations. How many CID officers are there? How well trained are they?”

Muntu, one of the longest serving army commanders says the circuit of CID, prosecutions and the courts is key if there can be a difference. “Criminals fear to be detected, arrested, tried and sentenced. If they notice a loophole, boom.”

He also pokes holes into the current strategy of CCTV surveillance. “The cameras capture data but it needs someone to interpret it and use it as evidence. You cannot talk about the technical part without talking about the human factor.”

According to police, the assailants had trailed Wamala from his home in Najjera, 4km away. To Museveni however, these assailants with their skills and precision are pigs. Museveni has been slammed for the constant reference to pigs as simplistic.

During the election of Speaker on May 24, Museveni bragged how he resorted to guerilla tactics to defeat Kadaga and create harmony in the NRM party after a divisive campaign season.

Some however have wondered why the President who refers to himself as a Ssabalwanyi (chief fighter) does not apply guerilla tactics when they are needed most: when dealing with notorious criminals who have fashioned motorcycles as one of their favoured tactics.

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