President Museveni yesterday piled more pressure on the police accusing it of being infiltrated by “rotten elements” who “hobnob with criminals” and once more ordered the leadership to clean up their ranks.
Mr Museveni used his 31st State-of-the Nation address to admit that “there is a spike in lawlessness” in the country and cited the high-profile assassinations, recent house break-ins, robberies and theft of cash crops that have struck terror in the population.
Mr Museveni said the army had achieved peace by defeating rebel groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels and disarming Karamojong cattle rustlers, but wondered why the police had failed to rout out lawlessness in the country.
“The UPDF has the capacity to ensure that nobody disturbs the peace of Uganda. However, as you saw recently, there has been a spike of lawlessness in the country,” Mr Museveni said.
Using the murder of Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi, the President indicated that the suspects arrested following the spate of brutal killings had prior committed capital crimes that carry the death sentence but he wondered “why they were still in circulation?”
“Peace means absence of war but it also includes absence of lawlessness. The Police and the intelligence services have been rightly criticised by the public for being lax in handling information given to them by the public; sometimes leaking this information, corruption in the form of extorting money from the public, and high-handedness in dealing with the public,” Mr Museveni said.
“Those who taint their hand with hobnobbing with criminals will only let themselves down,” Mr Museveni said.
With the Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura absent and the Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi present, Mr Museveni said the “Police leadership must listen to the public and clean up the few rotten elements.” Mr Martin Okoth-Ochola, the Deputy IGP, represented the Uganda Police Force.
Mr Museveni, who poured scorn on the police, however, was full of praise for the army, warning that anyone who insults the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) risks attracting his wrath.
“UPDF is a voluntary army [that has] operated in Somalia, Central African Republic, Congo, South Sudan” and still maintains “the capacity to ensure that nobody disturbs the peace of Uganda,” he said.
As a definitive solution, Mr Museveni repeated his pledged to have closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed on major highways in the country and residential areas. He also urged wealthy Ugandans to install the CCTV cameras at their premises in order to help track criminals.
The President premised his State -of-the-Nation address on five themes of peace, development of infrastructure, human resource, job and wealth creation, which components he said formed the basis of his 2016 campaign and his 10-point bottlenecks for the development of Africa.
On infrastructure, Mr Museveni said the increment of allocation to roads from Shs398b in the Financial Year 2005/2006 to the current Shs3.442b has lowered the costs of doing business in Uganda.
Mr Museveni promised that the next major infrastructural project will be the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and projected that it will lower the costs of transporting a container from Mombasa to Kampala from $3500 by train to $1,500 by rail-with the journey by rail taking one day.
On the state of the economy, Mr Museveni argued that an economy that produces surplus electricity cannot be in a bad shape and promised that the economy will be more competitive when the prices of electricity is brought down.
Power prices at Bujagali hydropower dam will be re-negotiated, Mr Museveni promised, saying the financing deal had been poorly negotiated by technocrats he did not name.
On job creation, the President promised that manufacturing sheds will be constructed in major urban centres in Kampala, including suburbs such as Katwe and outskirts, including Kireka, to accommodate the youth engaged in artisan works so as to solve the problem of youth unemployment.
Mr Museveni also promised that the government will harness “four clusters of wealth creation,” namely agriculture, industry, services and information and communication technology (ICT), with the target of improving Uganda’s exports productivity and reducing dependence on imports.
He said for agriculture, the poverty alleviation programme; Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), would tackle the 69 per cent of the population who are engaged in subsistence farming, construction of irrigation schemes, and industrialisation of the sector to support agricultural-based industries.