Fred Enanga, Police spokesperson
EC Village Verification

Uganda Police’s spokesperson Fred Enanga ventured into the woods and never came out.

While you can never truly predict how an interview is going to pan out in the end, in a somewhat surprising turn of events, the Police mouthpiece Enanga let spill a statement he and his superiors had for months kept under the mat – plain-clothed men armed with clubs commonly known as Kifesi provide Police with local intelligence and community intelligence.

But while there were various reasons to think that it is a noble thing for the citizenry to help Police, the evidence had been mounting of late that masked goons were suspected to be police officers or less informants had hit an insurmountable bump in the road.

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It should be noted that Mr. Enanga also accepted that some police commanders looked on as the hooded attackers beat up civilians. Among them is the Kampala Metropolitan Police South deputy regional commander Godfrey Tayebwa.  However, Mr Tayebwa is not only superior in rank to Mr Ayebare, but he is also his supervisor, which makes the investigation strange and complex.

The most vivid of their attacks were when plain-clothed men armed with clubs have attacked civilians without any police intervention. The first group emerged during the protest against proposed giveaway of part of Mabira Forest in 2007. Police then denied knowledge of the stick-wielding goons. On June 9, 2010, a similar group attacked Dr Besigye and his supporters at Clock Tower Grounds as police looked on.

NTV’ Sudhir Byaruhaga caught with the police publicist Fred Enanga for a comment over the identity of the notorious men.

On March 12th 2016, masked stick wielding men beat up people in downtown Kampala as Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) former presidential candidate, Dr.Kizza Besidgye drove through town after attending the weekly prayers at Najjanankumbi. Police denied having any connections with this motley gang.

This week at Nakawa Magistrate Court were Dr Besigye was supposed to face a committal hearing, similar men were seen in the vicinity. These men parked their van nearby and later pulled out their sticks as they disembarked out of their vehicle. They eventually roughed up people resulting in the arrest of FDC Secretary for Mobilization Ingrid Turinawe. The police now say these men are informants in the force.

Who are these men who beat up civilians?

Fred Enanga “There are not police officers but they are always informant. They are operatives who supply us with local intelligence and community intelligence which we use to get what is happening in a particular community.”

Sudhir If they had beaten people, I’m very sure just like it happened last time. If they had beaten people just like it was, you would have renounced them.

Fred Enanga If they were to beat people then of course we would have taken responsibility and have them charged even including the commander but I have told you the circumstances.

Sudhir Previously how many have you charged? (Fred Enanga tries to interrupt but the reporter gains ground.” The very ones who beat up people there around Kampala Road how many did you charge and the commander.

Fred Enanga, “You have never followed up on that case and I remember going on record saying that you people according to the footage we requested that these witnesses who could help us come forward and none of you helped us up to today we don’t have anyone who came up complaining.

Sudhir (Voice over) However Uganda Media center Boss, and a publicist of the ruling party Ofwono Opondo, criticized police for conscripting paramilitary forces or Kifesi to execute its work.

 “It is unacceptable to have these incidences of kiboko wielding people emerging from the side and are caning people, clobbering people and the police is looking on and the public keeps complaining and they promise to review and we don’t hear” Opondo said.

However Enanga, said “The most important thing is that, even after the filing is sanctioned usually there is the statement of the arresting officer on his role”

Enanga also defended police’s continued use of men to arrest female suspects.

“Yes, the commander went and called female officers who were dressed because we anticipated this. So you bring out photographs that show men were the one who arrested her”

Tracing Kifesi gangs

  • According to police crime intelligence, Kifesi is the biggest criminal gang in Kampala. Kifesi gangs are based in Katwe-Kinyoro zone and controls the largest criminal operational area in the city, covering Nkrumah Road, Clock Tower, Conrad Plaza, Entebbe Road traffic lights spot, Kamu-Kamu Plaza, Allen Road, William Street, Market Street, part of Ben Kiwanuka Street from Mukwano Arcade to Shoprite and Nakivubo Mews. Besides street crime, there are hardcore white collar criminals operating from Internet cafes, banking halls and around forex bureaus. They are educated and some of them are IT graduates.
  • The rising cases of phone robberies, car thefts and bank invasions have raised alarm among Kampalans and other Ugandans that the police and other security agencies are sleeping on their job by putting the lives and property of more people ever in greater danger.
  • Whereas the Police is generally charged with the responsibility of securing the lives and property of Ugandans, fingers are pointed at the force for using  the marauding gangs rather than bringing them under control.