Police rejects suggestion, holds onto Kaweesi’s phones
As the multi-agency investigation into the March 17 assassination of Andrew Felix Kaweesi continues, The Observer has learnt that the police and sister security agencies are sharply divided on a wide range of significant issues.
The Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, (CMI), Internal Security Organisation, (ISO), and Special Forces Command, (SFC), according to our sources, want the preliminary murder investigation to focus on elements within the police.
CMI reportedly argues that Kaweesi, gunned down together with his bodyguard and driver at Kulambiro, a Kampala suburb, had many enemies within the police, thus a clear motive to bump him off. But police investigators have reportedly downplayed this line, paying more attention to the possibility that it was an act of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group.
Well-placed sources familiar with the investigation have told us that the sharp disagreements bubbled to the surface during a meeting on March 26 at police headquarters in Naguru. According to these sources, during the meeting, police detectives suggested that the primary area of focus should be external, especially the ADF link, but intelligence officers representing CMI, ISO and SFC reportedly disagreed with this proposition.
“We should not rule out ADF in the Kaweesi murder, but we should not focus on it so much because according to information which we have so far gathered, the murder was planned from within security and especially from where he was working,” one of our sources quoted an intelligence officer as saying.
The source added that CMI and ISO officers said the investigation should also focus on senior police officers who have been known to be at loggerheads with Kaweesi.
The source added that the police, who are leading the investigation through (CIID) and its boss Grace Akullo, informed CMI and ISO that their main role is to gather intelligence and leave investigations to them (police).
During the meeting, a police director reportedly told his colleagues, that the intelligence agencies are supposed to provide CID with links as to who killed Kaweesi, which guns were used in the crime, and how the plan was hatched, and leave the police to investigate the intelligence, arrest and prosecute the suspects.
We have also been told that CMI and ISO have asked police to hand over Kaweesi’s phones for investigation, a request that is reportedly still being considered by the police.
Meanwhile, it was noted in the meeting that many security officers are using unregistered Sim cards, especially while carrying out classified operations.
That, police said, could exacerbate crime. On Monday, Assan Kasingye, the police spokesperson, maintained that police are the lead investigators in the murder of Kaweesi.
“We are not rejecting to work with any security agencies in this matter but the directorate of Criminal Investigations (CIID), which is headed by AIGP Grace Akullo, is the lead investigator,” Kasingye told journalists at Naguru.
Kasingye also linked Kaweesi’s murder to ADF, declining to talk about the possibility that it could have been triggered by infighting within the police.
“What I can tell you is that Kaweesi’s killers are linked to ADF and we shall get them,” he said.
Kasingye added that CMI and ISO can help in gathering intel- ligence, which they can then pass on to the police for scrutiny and further investigation.
“What we are all aiming at is to get Kaweesi’s killers and take them to court,” he said, adding that they have got some new leads, which the police are following.
UNREGISTERED SIM CARDS
Kasingye called on the public to remain calm as the search for Kaweesi’s murderers continues. Regarding the issue of unregistered Sim cards, Kasingye put the blame on the Uganda Communications Commission for allowing people to use unregistered cards.
“We have phones which are in circulation but are not registered and we highly believe they are used in committing crime because they cannot be tracked,” he said.
This is not the first time security agencies have disagreed over investigations of high-profile cases. In 2010, Gen Kale Kayihura and Maj Gen James Mugira, the then CMI boss, clashed over the investigation of the Kampala bombings.
Kayihura said he had not been informed when Mugira paraded the suspects at CMI headquarters, a move the police chief said could jeopardise their investigations.
Besides following other credible leads, the police’s cybercrime unit and the special investigations division (SID) are said to be investigating a group, the Uganda Patriotic Freedom Fighters (UPFF), which claimed responsibility for Kaweesi’s murder.
“If they have claimed responsibility, we cannot say they did not do it and that is why we are investigating them. The laws of Uganda provide that investigations should continue and the findings presented to court even if someone confesses,” Kasingye said on Monday.
On the day of the brutal murder, the group claimed responsibility and threatened more attacks. The group describes itself as a peaceful force opposed to what it calls ‘President Museveni dictatorship’, with a mission to liberate Uganda at any cost.
Its social media page suggests that its administrators, one of whom identifies himself as Joseph Sonko, are based in Sweden. In one of its latest statements, the group reiterated its earlier claim of having successfully accomplished “Mission 920” of eliminating Kaweesi, and cautioned the public not to believe the police’s claims that some of Kaweesi’s killers had been arrested. “
Kayihura is desperate to prove to the public that everything is under control when in actual sense the police force went to the dogs long time ago,” the statement posted on their Facebook page on March 25 reads.
Meanwhile, The Observer has learnt that two days before Kaweesi was murdered, a senior police officer cautioned during a meeting that security was of essence because of increasing threats.
During the meeting chaired by Deputy Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola, the senior officer reportedly said: “My brothers and sisters, I received information that some assailants have regrouped and are targeting some of us; so, beef up your security.”