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ASP Mohammad Kirumira murder: The government should review her security architecture and furniture

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Muhammad Kirumira was on Saturday September 8, 2018 shot dead by men riding on sport motor cycles. The incident has caused public disquiet.

It is a disturbing trend that ASP Mohammad Kirumira was killed less than two year after the killing in a similar way of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Andrew Felix Kaweesi. Even more poignant is the fact that the killing of ASP Mohammad Kirumira is barely three months after the gruesome killing of Colonel Ibrahim Abiriga (by men riding on a motor cycle). Col. Abiriga was the Member of Parliament for Arua Municipality.

These killings point to a trend. Which gives the impression that the criminals have taken and upper hand over Metropolitan Kampala. And the population is anxious to know whether this is criminality or insecurity.

Crime is the act of undermining an individual’s life (social, economic etc) and resources. Insecurity is caused by an act or acts or a situation that undermines state authority or renders it ineffective or weak to exercise the said authority.

The defining factor of the state and its authority is the power, capacity, willingness and deportment to detect and fight crime. The Police is the state agency responsible for detecting, preventing and fighting crime while civil intelligence agencies (like ISO and ESO) are responsible for fighting insecurity.

Against the backdrop of recent cases of kidnap (and in most cases consequent murder), these high profile murders are worrying the population. Whereas these kidnaps and killings have been classified as criminal in nature, they have now reached a stage where they are likely to undermine the authority of the state; thereby engendering a situation of insecurity.

The response from the state to these acts of criminality lacks the cutting edge to assuage fear among the population. The state would be expected to do more than just the provision of stats.

Of the many cases of high profile killings (including the killing of Muslim clerics), none has been resolved conclusively. Police investigations lack the seriousness deserving cases like murder. The prosecution, who depend on police investigations, are also not doing a good job.

The cases of murder and kidnap should now be treated as something beyond mere criminality. This is because the state’s failure to find solutions to the cases undermines people’s confidence in the authority of the state. The state should respond and act in a manner that restores popular confidence. The state should act in a manner that makes the people believe in the capabilities of the state to reign in the criminals.

Whereas the re-constitution of command and administrative structures of the Uganda Police Force was welcome, these unsettling kidnap cases and murders point to one thing: that a mere change of guard at Police Headquarters was not enough.

After the re-organisation of the command and administrative management at Uganda Police Force headquarters, what is needed of the state now is captured in three words: Architecture, Furniture and Attitude.

Architecture denotes the structural organisation of the security superstructure while Furniture means the resources (human, materiel and equipment) appropriated for the job. Attitude is that important human resource aspect of belief, disposition and decision making (what some politicians call ideological orientation).

The state should review and restructure the national security architecture in a manner that reflects the security needs and expectations of the people. The apparent disconnect between the actions of the state and the expectations of the people may breed something more than just crime but insecurity. ENDS

By Abel Nzanzu

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