Former Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura on Thursday morning handed over the top office in the force to his successor Mr John Martins Okoth-Ochola.
Kayihura insisted that he is handing over a better Force than he found despite the controversy that has marred police over the last few years.
In his speech at the handover, Kayihura praised President Yoweri Museveni the “Commander in Chief” for letting him serve the Force for 12 years. Kayihura highlighted the fact that he took over command of police when he was at the rank of Brigadier and has since grown four ranks to General while at the helm. “President Museveni promoted me to Major General, then to Lieutenant General and finally to full General. This is no easy achievement and I thank the President for his confidence in me’” the jovial Kayihura stated.
President Museveni, on March 4 relieved Kayihura of his duties as police chief after 12 years, replacing him with his deputy Okoth-Ochola, a career police officer.
Gen Kayihura said he hoped his departure from the Force will bring peace for the Force and for the Ministry of Internal Affairs. “I tend to attracts controversy and since I am leaving, I hope the Force and you Mr minister will now have peace, he said, sending those gathered into laughter.
Okoth-Ochola, in a brief speech said the Force was ready to build on the achievements of his predecessor. Taking a swipe at the media who he said had both highlighted the achievement of the police but also did a big job in causing controversy, the IGP said he hoped to work well with the media in making the police a better Force.
However, the force Gen Kayihura has just handed over to Okoth-Ochola is highly indebted with numerous service providers.
Earlier this month, several service providers came out to say they had ceased supplying the Force because they had not been paid for long.
The suppliers told PML Daily that they are demanding the Force over Shs33 billion for food stuff supplied since 2015.
Mr Badru Kisitu, the chairperson of the Police Suppliers Association, said many of them used bank loans to buy the food supplied to the Force and that banks have since begun attaching some of their property.
“We have supplied beans, rice and posho for all these years and none of us has received money for the supplies made. Where does the police expect us to get money to run our business?” said Mr Kisitu.
At the opening of the police council in Kigo, Wakiso District last month, former, Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura said the Force is choking on a Shs125b debt accruing from electricity, water, food supply and fuel supplies.
Uganda police has enjoyed a heavy budget during Kayihura’s tenure than any other police administration although the debts continued to grow.