I know that you are a staunch Roman Catholic and an old boy of that respected Catholic school; St. Mary’s College, Kisubi. I have therefore found this to be the perfect timing to bring you this message since you are joining the rest of the Christian world to remember the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I suggest that you read this message three times, search your soul and give the nation a perfect and befitting Easter gift by resigning your position as IGP. Resignation is only an option for strong people, while persistence is the last resort weapon of the weak when exposed. I am fully aware of your thick skin and resilience. I think the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere had thicker skin and was more resilient, but when the Archbishop spoke to his heart, he stepped down. This is why I persevere with the thankless task of writing this letter to you.
I am going to show you how you have unknowingly thrust yourself into the bad company and/or league of men like Gen. Idi Amin and ‘Gen.’ Joseph Kony. I call this bad company because it is a league of men that have found themselves at the forefront of tarnishing the country’s image in the international arena.
With the benefit of reading and listening to various accounts about Idi Amin’s regime, I also empathize with him because he did not intend to taint the Country’s image the way he did. Many times he fell into the well-calculated trap of his enemies. I am afraid that you have followed suit. Your passionate and single-minded approach to your work assignments can only be the reason you have kept on falling into the traps laid by your enemies every now and then.
You have now been at the helm of Uganda Police for the last 12 years (4 terms). You first thrust yourself into the international arena with that infamous arrest of Dr. Kizza Besigye in 2005; following his return from self-imposed exile in South Africa. I was a University student at the time and my admiration for you started nose-diving after learning about the stupid (if I am allowed to borrow the language of your neighbor Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament)rape and treason charges you brought up against the Doctor.
I had hitherto both admired and feared you since my childhood. All this changed. Many things happened on that day and I will mention, but a few; the country profile of Uganda on BBC website was updated. The profile of President Museveni was updated and the world started referring to him as a repressive dictator. This meant that by being zealous to do everything in your powers to keep him in power, you were actually damaging his brand.
Your ascension to the position of Inspector General of Police (IGP) marked the outright transition of NRA/M revolution from relying on brain power (political propaganda wing) to relying on coercion using the coercive arms of the state. It also marked the commencement of the fusion of the state and the Government. With the benefit of hindsight, I can tell you that you would have done yourself a world of good if you had created a think-tank within the IGP’s office comprised of the brightest chaps, who could work as your strategists. You needed chaps gifted or trained in logic to do this for you.
If you had done this, the script would be reading differently after 12 years in power. Without mincing words, I will tell you that while President Museveni’s over 3-decade rule can be classed as a mixture of positivity and negativity, your 12-year reign at the helm of the Uganda Police Force has no positivity worth writing home about on the international scene.
The positives can only be seen by someone viewing the Uganda Police through the lenses of an extremist NRA/M supporter or President Museveni’s extremist supporter. This explains why it is only Tamale Mirundi, amongst the many NRA/M spin doctors that defends you and your work at the helm of the Uganda Police. He does so for purely selfish reasons and he confesses that he is an extremist Musevenist.
If you take time and look back at the speeches of President Museveni from around 1990, he has been vouching for foreign investors to come and invest in Uganda so as to reduce on the import bill and also accord the country a favorable Balance of Trade. Figures from the Uganda Investment Authority indicate that the growth rate of FDI reduced between 2005 and 2011 and then decreased or remained almost stagnant between 2011 and 2015 (UIA, 2015).
The same report indicated that Foreign Direct Investment in the neighboring Kenya and Tanzania continued to grow upwards, despite the effects of the Global Financial crisis. The President’s emphasis on Foreign Direct investment has continued, but from around the time you took over as IGP (around 2005), he adopted a bullish tone towards the Western world and bragged openly about the no-strings attached investments, grants and loans of the Chinese.
He must have been ill-advised that the Chinese are less intelligent than the Westerners in EU and USA. By 2016, he had woken up to the ugly reality that they [the Chinese] are worse than the Westerners. He infamously blasted the Chinese in the 2016 State of the Nation Address for turning his country into a supermarket of Chinese products.
I will highlight one example; British American Tobacco had been in Uganda for donkey years and all the tobacco it used as raw material was sourced from the local Ugandan farmers in Bunyoro and West Nile regions of Uganda. In actual sense, the name British American Tobacco was misleading if we are to speak precisely! Fast forward to the mega infrastructure projects that we have taken on with our Chinese brothers [or enemies, depending on how you look at it] such as Karuma dam and you will realize that they are too mean to even support our local steel producers, let alone food crop growers. Even the food they [the Chinese ‘expatriates’] eat is grown by the Chinese themselves. The Chinese have even invaded small and micro businesses to the extent that the confectionery shelves in all the Kampala supermarkets are filled with Dong Hong, Fang Heng, blah blah… cakes, doughnuts and buns.
Dealing with this Chinese trade infestation has become very complicated because many of these Chinese ‘investors’ have Godfathers in the rebranded Police Force that you head. It is therefore, not only self-defeating, but harebrained for you to posture in any schemes of creating employment amongst the youth population. Could this partly explain your decision to engage unemployed youth in the infamous crime preventers’ scheme that ended up turning them into crime presenters’ project? May be you can educate my silly head what value the crime preventers added to this country, given that official statistics from UBOS do not indicate any cognizable reduction in crime (check my submission on this in Part 1).
You might be wondering why I am linking you to the poor quality investors we get from China, but let me elaborate. The brutal, corrupt and incompetent behavior of your police force in the last 10 years tainted the country’s image in the leading global powers in the western world so much that no serious investor from there could objectively consider Uganda as an investment destination.
This left us prone to the mischief of the overpopulated and corrupt Chinese. On the one hand, your pragmatism exhibited in the militarization of the Uganda Police helped to keep and sustain President Museveni in power, but on the other hand, it has made him reverse all the positive gains of the NRA/M revolution. One thing is clear; your contribution to the tainting of the country’s image abroad is well documented and well-publicized. This is why I opined at the start of this letter that you have unknowingly kowtowed in the poohoo of ‘dishonorable’ men like Gen. Idi Amin and Gen. Joseph Kony when it comes to soiling the country’s image.
Official budgetary figures indicate that under your reign, the Uganda Police Force has spent over 65 billion shillings on tear gas between 2007 and 2016. The Government, in 2007, spent $3M in a desperate international public relations campaign aimed at cleaning the image of the Government that your Police had soiled. This amount was equivalent to 6bn shillings (an amount similar to that of the Presidential handshake being investigated by the Parliamentary COSASE committee). All this tax payers’ money was wasted due to your judgement or misjudgment. Ever since 2007, several such public relations schemes have been hatched and financed from the public purse and the media has widely covered them. I am hoping Rosa Whitaker sometimes invites you for coffee or a vacation in Hawaii for creating business for international con-artists and lobbyists like her.
Afande, there is this nani (sorry, teargas) that you have planned to spend 44bn shillings on, in the Financial Year 2017/18. Have you heard of the people dying of hunger in Karamoja, Insingiro, Teso? Does it not bother you that you may not be able to teargas the ghosts of people who have died of hunger? Have you heard that your overzealous officers teargassed hungry people in Teso when the hungry had gone to receive relief from the FDC party? Do you think FDC could have an intention of poisoning people? Did it poison the people of Isingiro earlier on? So many unanswered questions! May be silly heads like mine do not see the obvious answers to these. Kindly explain these.
Afande, I am sure that you have been informed that your officers have been evicted from Naguru barracks for redevelopment. Many of them have rented in the slums of kasokoso, kireka and the surrounding areas. A two-roomed rental in these areas goes for 150,000/- and 350,000/-. Let us suppose that the neighbor of the Policeman is a robber. This robber has a family and he stays home all day (of course ‘working’ at night). One day, a child of the Policeman swallows a coin and the robber plays good Samaritan and delivers first aid and also takes the child to hospital. Will this policeman ever bring this robber to justice? Do you now see the logic that your predecessors had in housing Policemen and women in barracks? Did you look at the repercussions of this decision before giving it a go ahead?
Afande, we have Ugandans like Amos Wekesa, who have dedicated all their lives and meagre resources to promote Uganda at every slight opportunity. The efforts of these Ugandans greatly complement the work of Uganda Tourism Board, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Uganda Investment Authority. Recently, your police officers arrested Dr. Stella Nyanzi, days after the Hon. First Lady had forgiven her. You went ahead to inform the press that it was your initiative to bring her to book even if the aggrieved had forgiven her.
Do you realize how much this has tainted our image on the international scene? Do you realize how you have turned a villain into a hero? Do you realize how you have created more work for the Rosa Whitakers of this world? More billions are going to be wasted on PR campaigns in the international media to ‘clean’ your mess. Surely, my heart bleeds for this country. The damage and pain you have inflicted on this country is so gross that it makes educated people run mad. Now you know why Dr. Stella Nyanzi looks mad before you! Puzzle solved.
One of the candidates in the 2016 Presidential race indicated that security is not the absence of war. A country cannot be secure when 19 mothers die each day in labour, people die of hunger in 2017 and Policemen and women sleep like rats in Uniports. Following the issues that I have raised above, do you realize that your decisions have caused gross financial loss to this country? Do you realize that you have blood of innocent people on your hands? People who have died in Police initiated riots. People who die because Government has diverted money that could otherwise be equipping hospitals to the purchase of teargas. People who die because of corrupt policemen protecting criminal murderers?
Afande, it is my sincere and honest request that you save us further loss of money and lives by resigning before the end of your current term this year. Of course, your thick skin and ego may push you to hardline, ignore my letter and move on, but one day, you will realize that resignation would have been the only way to save whatever is left of your reputation. In fact the President’s advice to you when he was mourning the fallen AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi was what analysts call a dismissal statement from the boss. By asking you to clean the Police after you have spent 12 years at the helm, he was politely asking you to resign. My Chaplain at Secondary school once remarked that Power is so powerful that it soon becomes powerless.
On behalf of all aggrieved Ugandans, I wish you happy holidays and look forward to the aforementioned Easter gift to the nation.
Your fellow Ugandan,
Egesa Ronald Leonard
References: UIA, 2015: https://www.ugandainvest.go.ug/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/UIA-ANNUAL-INVESTMENT-ABSTRACT-FOR-FY-2014-TO-2015.pdf, Accessed on 14/April/2017