Since March 2012 when prominent Sheikh Abdul Karim Ssentamu was shot as he left a mosque, Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura has been promising to "hunt", "get" or "apprehend" the killers.
Five years and at least 12 murders later, police has never resolved a single murder besides the 14 suspects now battling charges of terrorism, murder and attempted murder of the Muslim sheikhs.
Yet Kayihura's resolve to "get" the killers holds firm – expressed again after the Friday morning murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi and two other officers. JONATHAN KAMOGA has been looking at Kayihura's statements with a view to finding a window into the police chief's mind on the country's murder crisis.
‘ADF is responsible’
After many of the murders,Kayihura has usually blamed Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels, al-Qaeda terrorists, or rival Muslim sects. On December 29, 2015, at the funeral of Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga, the then Kampala district Amir of the Jamu-i-yyat Dawah Al-Salafiyyat, Kayihura said: “What is clear is the sheikhs were killed by ADF but we need to find the individuals who did it.”
When Joan Kagezi, a senior principal state attorney, was killed on March 30, 2015, Kayihura said the manner of her death left little doubt as to who was responsible: “It is not a coincidence that Kagezi had been murdered when she was leading the case against the 2010 terror suspects.”
At Kagezi’s murder scene, Kayihura said: “The murder of Joan Kagezi should only serve to increase our resolve to hunt down and bring to justice all those elements bent on disturbing the security and development of our country.”
‘We shall get them’
In December 2014, Kayihura vowed not to leave Mayuge district until the killers of the leader of the Shi’ite Muslim sect in Uganda, Sheikh Abdul Kadhir Muwaya, were apprehended.
“Let me assure you that the killers are to be caught. I have already dispatched another team from Kampala to intensify investigations and I will camp at Mayuge police station to engage with security committees to find why cases of murder are increasing,” Gen Kayihura said prior to the Sheikh’s burial in Buyemba village on December 25, 2014.
At the funeral of Sheikh Ibrahim Hassan Kirya, killed in June 2015, Kayihura vowed that while he had no immediate answers to the latest murder, the killers would be got.
“I am also tired of coming here all the time to make promises that I am going to do everything possible to find the killers,” Kayihura told mourners at Kibuli mosque.
To try and crack the murder puzzle, Kayihura focused on thorough and comprehensive investigations into the murders. When Ssentamu was killed in March 2012, Kayihura told mourners that “a special team” had been put in place to investigate the murder.
On June 22, 2012, when Sheikh Abubaker Kiweewa, was murdered at his supermarket in Kyanja, Kayihura announced another special committee of investigators to hunt down the killers.
The committee, led by Police Commissioner Joel Aguma, has never released a public report. Last Friday, after police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi was killed, Kayihura said a joint security team had been formed to investigate the latest high-profile murder.
The team, comprising more than 20 experienced investigators from police, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Special Forces Command and Internal Security Organization, will be headed by Grace Akullo, the director of criminal investigations.
“They have been warning us that they will hit us where it hurts most. The murder of Kaweesi has indeed hurt us. But these are remnants of organized thuggery. In fact, many of them have been put behind bars since they started killing Muslim leaders and they confessed,” Kayihura told journalists on Friday.
After Kagezi’s murder, Kayihura said he would launch a neighborhood watch system where residents would be on the lookout for suspicious people.
“There was a boda boda which was seen frequenting Kagezi’s residence almost on a daily basis. Some people would pretend as if they are dropping someone in the neighborhood. This lasted several weeks but due to lack of crime prevention systems, no one took interest in this matter,” Kayihura said in Kampala on April 5, 2015.
On Friday after the murder of Kaweesi, Kayihura told journalists that the incident would have been foiled if the neighbours had been more vigilant. He called for a more robust system where people should know their neighbours.
‘We have got clues’
Often after these murders, the police chief has claimed that they have clues that could lead police to the killers. On Friday, Kayihura said police had got clues that would enhance investigations into the murder of Kagezi which happened two years ago.
“Even in the pending case of the late Joan Kagezi, we have established very good clues towards the identity of the thugs that gunned her down,” Kayihura said.
When Muwaya was shot dead in December 2014, Kayihura said police had “got tips” that would lead them to the killers:
“Some people saw them [the killers],” Kayihura said while addressing Muwaya’s family members.
A number of arrests were made but no one has been successfully prosecuted. In the matter of Andrew Felix Kaweesi, police will be hoping to be 12th time lucky.