The police has this morning has carried out the forceful arrest of Buyende District Police Commander (DPC) Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Muhammad Kirumira.
This follows the officer saying he had ‘resigned’ from the Police Force, after various charges were levelled against him. Indeed Kirumira argues that those charges are trumped up by some of his superiors, aimed at damaging his reputation.
That notwithstanding, ASP Kirumira is a mid-level police officer who ought to have known that his ‘resignation’ was improperly announced and that it would have consequences. Which is okay.
But the disturbing point is how his arrest was carried out; the breaking of his doors and the attendant firing of live bullets to scare away the anxious community members who were curious to know what was happening to their village mate.
In Uganda we must learn to borrow some of the good practices, if only to save the image of the country. And in that respect the police officers who carried out Kirumira’s arrest could easily have borrowed a leaf from their Kenyan counterparts who managed to avert a possible skirmish of huge proportions by ‘just staying away’ as opposition icon Raila Odinga was ‘sworn in’ just two days ago.
Indeed, the results of the Kenyan officers’ ‘indifference’ to Raila’s ‘swearing in’ cannot be lost on any one that is versed with how their Ugandan counterparts have acted, mostly while dealing with opposition politicians.
That said, our police officers should embrace the idea of acting with restraint when confronted by unarmed or ‘harmless’ people.
It is important to note that over the past months the Uganda Police Force has been discredited in the eyes of most Ugandans, after it emerged that some senior officers were reportedly colluding with criminals to carry out crimes of grave proportions including but not limited to the illegal repatriation of refugees to a neighbouring country, torture, murder and extortion, among other crimes.
So far two senior police officers are being tried in the Makindye-based Military General Court Martial, while one was recently absolved of murder in very suspicious circumstances that even threaten to put the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to shame, ‘immunity to account for his decisions’ and power to stall any criminal charges notwithstanding!
Needless to add, at this point in time when the Kitattas of this world have been exposed for the criminality they subject Ugandans to, the police can ill-afford to be seen as an island of impunity where those who hold the reins of power, real or imagined, act with reckless abandon.