Luweero. President Museveni has warned rogue security officers that they will be sorted by isolating them in prison.
“Security organs are supposed to serve the interests of Ugandans, not any individual. It’s going to be sorted out,” Gen Museveni, also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, said in response to a question from this newspaper during a press conference yesterday.
Speaking in Luweero District, the cradle of the guerilla war that brought him to power some 32 years ago, the President, for the first time, also publicly addressed the teething problem of infighting among Uganda’s security chiefs, the frosty Uganda-Rwanda relations and allegations of espionage.
To be sorted
He added: “The infighting is between individuals, but not the security organs. It’s a big [problem] which will be sorted out. You have seen that some of them have gone to Luzira and many of them will see themselves in prison if they don’t reform. It’s going to be resolved.”
The President did not mention names, but there have been publicly-expressed differences of opinion and work methods between the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen Kale Kayihura, and Security minister, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde.
A sting operation led by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), the spy arm of Uganda People’s Defence Forces, to arrest senior police officers seen as the IGP’s confidantes, and their subsequent trial in military courts, has lately raised the stakes. Other such operations have been spearheaded by the Intelligence Security Organisation (ISO), the domestic spy agency whose political supervisor is Lt Gen Tumukunde.
The purging operation began eight months after President Museveni, on the back of broad day brutal killing of then police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi in a Kampala suburb, warned that criminals had infiltrated police and asked Gen Kayihura to “clean up his house”. It remains unclear if Gen Museveni directly ordered the military action against police officers.
On refugee scam
President Museveni also had no kind words for bureaucrats at the Office of Prime Minister (OPM) implicated in mismanaging resources for the more than 1.4 million refugees in the country.
A whistle blower, in a dossier whose contents were first published by this newspaper, alleged that government officials and international agencies responsible for refugees were involved in fraud, trafficking in persons and had inflated refugees’ numbers.
“Nobody is supposed to take advantage of refugees,” Mr Museveni said, adding: “I was also a refugee in Tanzania. Now imagine that there were people who mistreated me while I was in Tanzania and now that I am a President in Uganda and I come across such a person in Uganda!”
Providing for refugees, he said, is not a “favour” because international laws guarantee protection for people unsafe at their homes.
Allegations of gross mismanagement of refugee programmes have prompted reported suspension of some high-level OPM employees and dented Uganda’s international image as generous to refugees.
President Museveni said those found culpable after ongoing investigations will face the full wrath of the law.
Mr Museveni was in Luweero to harvest food crops on the presidential farm where he, a year ago, popularised drip irrigation using perforated mineral water bottles as most suitable and affordable for smallholder farmers.
He, among other things, reaped a bunch of banana, which he rolled away on a bicycle.