Barely a week after sacking former inspector general of police Gen Kale Kayihura, President Yoweri Museveni has said Ugandan police has been "infiltrated by bean weevils", the reason for increased criminality in the country.
Last Sunday, Museveni sacked Kayihura and Security minister Lt. Gen Henry Tumukunde, replacing them with Okoth Ochola and Gen Elly Tumwiine respectively. While speaking at celebrations to mark the International Women's Day at Busubizi Core Teachers Training College in Mityana district, Museveni said his government will defeat the wave of urban terrorism that is threatening people's safety.
"We are being challenged by criminals who are murdering, kidnapping and raping women in urban areas. But we shall defeat them. Crime is going to be defeated in urban areas the same way we defeated rebel groups in rural areas." said Museveni.
Museveni said the "bean weevils" had failed police to fight the increasing criminality in the country. Kayihura has severally been accused by some sections in government of working for Rwandan President Paul Kagame to spy on Uganda.
It is not clear if Museveni's statement was directed at Kayihura or Kagame. It has also been suggested in some circles, that in fact, Kayihura had positioned his henchmen in key positions in police and intelligence to cover up crime and gather intelligence for external governments.
Last year, following the gruesome of police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi after his car was sprayed with bullets, Museveni asked Kayihura to clean up his police.
During the Women's Day celebrations in Mityana, the women appealed to Museveni to help bring an end to increasing criminality that saw over 29 women murdered in Entebbe and Nansana municipalities in Wakiso district last year. Most of the murdered women were first raped and then sharp sticks inserted in their private parts.
According to the annual police crime report, gender-based violence cases that were reported and investigated increased by four percent from 38,561 to 40,258 between 2015 and 2016.
The 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey revealed that up to 22 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 in the country have experienced some sort of violence. The report also reveals that annually, 13 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 report experiencing some sort of physical or sexual violence.
Cases of kidnap-for-ransom are also on the rise including the recent kidnap and murder of 28-year-old Susan Magara. Magara who hailed from the wealthy and politically connected family was murdered after 20 days in captivity.
Before cutting off two of her fingers and sending a torture video to the family, the captors had demanded for $1 million (about Shs 3.5 billion). The family reportedly paid her kidnappers between Shs 700 million and Shs 800 million.
Museveni said security agencies had already arrested a number of suspects behind some of the killings.
"We are going to strengthen security in town to put a stop to people who are kidnapping people and asking for money," Museveni said and added that efforts are underway to increase the level of surveillance in urban areas by installing CCTV cameras, among others.
Museveni however, ridiculed officers that are making it hard for criminals to be apprehended. He mentioned the weakness within the police force and the courts of law that have according to him led to the release of criminals.
"Many of the criminals were arrested like the ones who hacked people in Masaka during Christmas but the other day two of them escaped because of the negligence of the prison staff and the courts. These killers who had killed people during Christmas were brought to court, the handcuffs were removed but it is the rule of the courts not to have people handcuffed. What is this? Who made that rule? I have never made that rule, I have been here in government for 30 years. What sort of rules are these?," said Museveni.
He equally expressed disgust that suspects who had been arrested after an attack that claimed several lives in Bukomansimbi district, had escaped from court, in the presence of the magistrate and prison warders.
Incoming Security minister Gen Tumwiine said security forces have the capacity to deal with the insecurity in the country and promised to deal with the criminals.
"We have the capacity to deal with the insecurity and we shall defeat it," Tumwiine said.
In his remarks, the president called upon women who face domestic violence to come out and report the cases to police instead of just keeping quiet because they are scared of the repercussions they might face.
According to Museveni, many women are forced to keep quiet because they do not have the means to support themselves in case they are punished for exposing their husbands.