Saturday , January 28 2023
Home / Cover Story / Sabiiti on the spot

Sabiiti on the spot

DIGP Sabiti unveils his plan on Oct18. Left is Gen. Elwelu

Exposing the police boss’s biggest problem

Seven months after his appointment as Deputy Inspector General (DIGP) of the Uganda Police, Maj. Gen. Steven Sabiiti Muzeeyi, was on Oct.15 put on the spot.

President Yoweri Museveni ordered him to stamp out increasing urban crime in the Kampala Metropolitan Area, an assignment that Sabiiti’s predecessor; the indefatigable Gen. Kale Kayihura failed over his 13 year tenure.

Museveni in a public letter said it should be easy for Sabiiti to end the spate of crimes.

“It is easy to defeat these gangs,” Museveni said, “I have given 2 days to Commander Sabiiti of the Police to come out with a plan to combat these gangs. The IGP is away in Peru for a meeting. I will look at that plan, comment on it and it will, then, be communicated to all of you.”

But since Sabiiti unveiled a five-point plan for tackling crime on Oct.18, it has been shredded by critics.

“This is another reactionary measure from the government and the enemies will simply laugh off these suggestions,” said Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, the MP for Butambala County who is the Shadow Minister for Internal Affairs.

Kivumbi who also sits on the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs told The Independent on Oct. 22 that Museveni had himself outlined many actions for the police and other security agencies to base on to end criminality.

Museveni recommended conscripting Local Defence Unit personnel, registration of bodabodas and marking helmets used by motorcycle riders, and procuring CCTV cameras among others.

“Most, if not all of these were implemented but we see that criminality in the country has not abated,” Kivumbi said, “This is something which has proved over time to be an incompetent mode of operation.”

“The question we have not addressed, however, is: Are we dealing with organized criminals or state agents. If it’s organized criminals, can they really have the kind of capacity that we see them use in some of the crimes they commit?” he said.

He said the two days the president gave Sabiiti to come up with a plan were too few.

“If the president thinks these two days were enough for police to come up with the solution to the crimes, it implies that he all along knew the problem. So the question again would be why did he take that long? Why did he let the country suffer that much?”

Sabiiti is not the head of the police force. That position is held by IGP John Martins Okoth-Ochola. But when Museveni specifically named Sabiiti to come up with a plan – in two days, of routing criminals in the city, a few eyebrows went up.

Ochola is a laidback 61-year old lawyer who has spent 31 years in the police, rising from an assistant cadet officer in 1988 to the top job on March 04, 2018. Ochola spent nine years as the deputy head of the criminal investigations department (CID) and has the bearings of a crimes analyst.

So when President Yoweri Museveni appointed Sabiiti; a 43-year old former head of the Military Police, to be Ochola’s deputy, the popular view was that since Museveni had shown a tendency to place army generals in charge of the police, Sabiiti would be the de facto head of police and Ochola a figurehead. So far, it has not turned out that way; at least publicly. Sabiiti who is said to be a brainy and intense operator and Ochola appear to have a cordial work relationship without much of the office tension they inherited.

On the street, however, the story is different. Sabiiti’s assignment follows a spate of publicized murders, kidnaps, home break-ins, and street robberies assumed to be the handwork of criminal gangs around the city and its suburbs and the Greater Kampala Metropolitan areas of Wakiso and Mukono.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *