The killing of police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi at Kulambiro, a Kampala suburb, on Friday morning was the first high-profile killing this year. His death comes barely four months after the shooting dead of Muhammad Kiggundu, who was killed at Masanafu Trading Centre on the outskirts of Kampala on November 26, last year.
Speaking to the media at the crime scene on Friday, Gen Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police, said Kaweesi, the departed Assistant Inspector General of Police, had never feared for his life. But the police chief claimed there had been several warnings from a gang suspected to have previously gunned down, among others, high-profile persons, including Maj Kiggundu, Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga, Sheikh Hassan Kirya, Sheikh Abdullah Muwaya, and State prosecutor Joan Kagezi.
“No, he had never feared for his life. We are trying to build what happened as narrated by eye witnesses to scene of crime officers. When we look at the patterns of killing, it’s not new. It is the same pattern that had been previously used to murder many Muslim clerics and Kagezi [State prosecutor],” Gen Kayihura said.
Unlike in the previous killings where police was quick to implicate the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), this time round, Gen Kayihura said it was too early to speculate who Kaweesi’s assailants were.
In the case of Maj Kiggundu’s assassination, the police promptly responded by raiding Nakasero Mosque, where 18 Muslims, including Amir Umah (leader), and Yahaya Mwanjje, were arrested and detained at a high-security detention centre at Nalufenya Police Station in Jinja District for a month without trial. The suspects were later examined and 14 of them released but four other clerics, including Sheikh Mwanjje, Sheikh Muhammad Buyondo, Abdul Wahaab, and Musa Sekandi were taken to court where they are battling murder-related charges.
In the killings of Sheikh Bahiga, Sheikh Kirya, and Sheikh Muwaya, police arrested 60 suspects, including Sheikh Yunus Kamoga, and former Nakasero Mosque Amir Umah. These were picked from Kampala, Kayunga, Mbale and other districts of Busoga sub-region.
Citing cases of the Muslim suspects now in court, Gen Kayihura dismissed claims that police was moving at a snail pace in its investigations into the killings. But late Kaweesi’s deputy at the police human resource directorate, Mr Felix Ndyomugyenyi, said the police had failed to resolve at least 4,000 murder cases in the last four years.
“When you hear these cases in the courts, it is the police that do investigations. Yes, Kaweesi has been killed but it does not mean the killers have won the battle. For us, we don’t kill but we shall have them arrested,” Gen Kayihura said.
Even then, the four-star General, admitted that the police were finding it difficult to arrest Kagezi’s killer, who he said was known to the police but still on the run. He echoed his call for neighbourhood watch. He said in the killing of Kaweesi, his driver and bodyguard, the police are relying on accounts by an eye witnesses, who reportedly said the assailants first parked adjacent to his home and pretended to be repairing a motorcycle as they waited to snare their victims.
Man on fast track
Gen Kayihura acknowledged that Kaweesi was a man he always relied on for police work due to his passion for work, intelligence and promising career.
AIGP Kaweesi was soon to graduate with a doctorate from South Africa.
“By end of this year, you will be calling me Dr Andrew Kaweesi. I am going to graduate with a doctorate degree. I also plan to contest for MP in 2021. I will soon resign to achieve that dream,” Kaweesi shared with Daily Monitor on Wednesday.
A senior police officer said Kaweesi wanted to quit the Force in 2015, run for Parliament in last year’s general election, but he was convinced to stay on by Gen Kayihura.
In the Wednesday chat with Daily Monitor, Kaweesi recounted the number of missions where he survived death, among them during the 2011 walk-to-work protests spearheaded by former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president, Dr Kizza Besigye, at Kawempe in Kampala where a thug aimed a brick at his head but he was only saved by his bodyguard, who stopped it.
In 2009, during the Buganda riots, Kaweesi, who was the then commandant, Police Training School at Kabalye in Masindi District, was assigned to man security on the Kampala–Masaka highway, which had been blocked by protesters and no vehicle could access Kampala.
Kaweesi told this newspaper on Wednesday that he came from Masindi with 700 police trainees and 500 clubs and deployed them to all the trading centres along the highway. He recounted how he moved through the highway stretch six times on the same day supervising the young officers.
In the 2016 elections, Kaweesi was assigned to command Kampala and its outskirts. He told this newspaper that his main challenge was on the day of announcing the election results when the FDC party was planning to announce parallel elections results. He said he tried to convince the FDC officials against the idea but they could not listen to him. He removed the media from the premises such that the Opposition party was left in a media blackout during their planned pronouncements.
He also shared how Gen Kayihura had also assigned him to oversee the police sports department. He said his rise to respect is based on his commitment and determination to execute missions and tasks given to him.
Kaweesi’s effectiveness in executing assignments saw him skip ranks. For example, he was promoted from the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), skipping the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP). He was later elevated to the rank of Commissioner of Police (CP), jumping the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and later promoted to AIGP, skipping the rank of Senior Commissioner of Police (SCP).
In the Wednesday chat with Daily Monitor, Kaweesi joked that since he had been skipping ranks, his next promotion, if he was to stay in police, would probably be IGP.