The Uganda Police has noted the recent statements and stories in the local media, pertaining to Police investigation of criminality in Political Parties.
While we appreciate the interest of the public in certain aspects of our work, and the freedom the media has in reporting such stories, we insist that such freedom should be exercised responsibly, and facts and events reported accurately.
We notice that some of these statements are probably made out of ignorance of the law, and of the standard operating procedures of the Police.
To set the record straight, the Police has the legal mandate to proactively investigate criminality in any organization or public body. Political parties are not exempt from such inquiry.
The Uganda police force is an institution of government whose primary responsibility is to maintain law and order in the country. Under chapter 12 Sec 212 of the constitution of the republic of Uganda (1995), the police is mandated to carry out the following functions;
- To protect life and property
- Preserve law and order
- Prevent and detect crime
- Cooperate with civilian authority and other security organs and the population in general and protect the rights of the individuals.
In addition, Cap 303 of the Police Act further mandates the Uganda Police Force to protect other rights of individuals, maintain security within Uganda and ensure public safety and order.
Article 212 (3) of the constitution further states that the Uganda Police force shall be nationalistic, patriotic, professional, disciplined competent and productive and its members shall be citizens of Uganda of good character.
Article 212 (2) of the constitution also states that the police force in Uganda shall be organized and administered in such a manner and shall have such functions as parliament may by law prescribe.
The parliament of Uganda thus passed into law the Police Act of 1994 which provides for the structure, organization, functions and discipline among others in the force. The Inspector Gen. of Police is the overall commander of the Uganda police force and shall perform his duties in accordance with the laws of Uganda except in matters of policy the Minister may give directions to the inspector Gen. of police and the IGP shall comply with those directions.
The Anti corruption Act 2009 section 1 definition of a “public body” includes;
A political party, a trade union, a society registered under the cooperative societies Act and any council board, committee or society established by an Act of parliament for the benefit, regulation and control of any profession and nongovernmental organisations.
The issue, therefore, of Police interfering in ‘internal matters of a political party’, as alleged in various sections of the media, is a misleading perception, especially in situations where officials of political parties use their positions to engage in acts that are blatantly criminal; for instance, bribery.
Upon such reference, the police has intervened and addressed factional differences within the political parties. Notable among these is the conflict in the DP, UPC conflict between Mr. Olara Otunu and Mr. Rurangaranga, Mr. Nobert Mao and Mr. Mike Mabike/Nasser Sebabagala. And the FDC conflict between Mugisha Muntu and Betty Kamya.
Secondly, Police routinely collect intelligence, both of criminal nature and of other threats to national security. Such information is never taken at face value. We first verify and analyze the information, in order to ascertain its credibility, before we act on it.
It is this process of collation and analysis that certain commentators have misinterpreted as abuse of office. This is, in fact, standard Police work and doctrine; where every policeman is primarily an intelligence officer, in addition to other tasks they may be given.
Procedurally and legally, we are constrained from publicly discussing details of matters that are under investigation, or before court. We urge the media to exercise similar restraint when reporting on such matters; and where it is legally feasible to comment on such cases, the media should do so accurately and responsibly.
Reckless and misleading statements not only impact the investigation negatively, but also end up subverting the course of justice, by intimidating potential witnesses and victims from pursuing justice.
The Police shall take legal measures, in such instances, to protect the investigation, the witnesses and the victims, of cases under investigation, or of cases before court.
Public Relations Officer
Uganda Police Force