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IGP Ochola prepares handover report as Gen Museveni ‘looks away’ on contract renewal

Police boss Okoth Ochola, 66, has finished preparing his handover report as he expects to retire from the law enforcement body this year.

Kampala, (UG):- The expiry of the Inspector General of Police- IGP Martin Ochola’s contract has sparked debate at Naguru police headquarters on who is likely to replace him. Ochola is serving his second term of three years ever since he replaced Gen Edward Kale Kayihura on March 4, 2018.

However, Ochola has reportedly not written to the Police Authority chaired by the Minister for Internal Affairs seeking renewal of his contract, yet it is supposed to be done within six months of the expiry of the reigning contract.

Sources say Ochola has informed some of the career top senior police officers that he will not be seeking renewal of his contract. “When his first term of IGP was about to end on March 4, 2021, he wrote to the police authority in November 2020 expressing interest in renewing his contract. Gen Jeje Odong [the minister for internal affairs] forwarded his contract renewal application to the President and it was renewed. But this time he hasn’t done it,” a senior police source said.

When contacted about reports that Ochola has informed top police officers about his retirement next month, Senior Commissioner of Police –SCP Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson said: “His contract ends on 4, 03, 2024. That’s all.”

Nevertheless, sources add that Ochola has also informed his line minister Maj Gen (rtd) Kahinda Otafiire that he will be retiring in a few weeks to come.

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However, Simon Peter Mundeyi, the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs said: “I have not heard about this.”

Handover Report ready

With his five-year contract ending on March 16, 2024, sources at Naguru police headquarters say President Museveni is yet to renew Ochola’s contract.

“All indications are that Ochola is leaving the police force,” said a source who preferred anonymity to speak freely.

In fact, associates close to the police IGP say he has spent the past few months updating his handover report as he prepares to quit.

Ochola who first served as the deputy inspector general of police, deputising IGP Kayihura, the man he replaced, took over the reims at a time when the police force was under intense criticism for violation of human rights and suppression of civil liberties.

In his five-year term, Ochola disbanded several police units which were blamed for illegal arrests, detentions and participation in crimes.

His reign also witnessed increased investment in security infrastructure such as security cameras and the construction of housing facilities for senior officers.

Who is most likely to replace Ochola

With uncertainty on whether President Yoweri Museveni will renew Ochola’s contract despite expressing no written request, debates have started on who will be his successor among the current 13 career top police officers at the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police- AIGP.

The career most senior police officers who are prospects for appointment of IGP include Francis Xavier Rwego who is currently the Interpol Special Representative to AU, Abas Byakagaba director of Counter-Terrorism, Joseph Mugisa director of Fire and Rescue Services, John Ndungutse Ngaruye attaché Uganda’s high commission Nairobi, Grace Akullo director Interpol-Uganda, Erasmus Twaruhukwa director human rights and legal services, Moses Byaruhanga director health services, and Haruna Isabirye UN permanent officer New York.

Other career police AIGPs that can be appointed as IGP include Richard Edyegu director of logistics and engineering, Charles Birungi director of welfare and production, James Ocaya director of research and planning, John Nuwagira director of operations and Fadhil Kaali director of field force police.

Nonetheless, there are five military Generals currently serving in the police who can also be appointed as IGP. These include Maj Gen Geoffrey Katsigazi Tumusiime who is currently deputizing Ochola, Maj Gen Abel Kandiho chief of joint staff, Brig Gen Christopher Damulira director of crime intelligence, Brig Gen Jesse Kamunanwire director of human resource administration, Brig Gen Godfrey Golooba, the director human resource development as well Maj Tom Magambo heading the criminal investigations directorate.

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If Museveni chooses to award Ochola a third term of three years, he will be the second longest-serving IGP in Uganda’s history after Gen Kayihura who held the police mantle for over 12 years.

But if Museveni appoints a military General to become IGP, he or she will be the third to head police under NRM’s nearly 40 years of rule after Gen Edward Katumba Wamala who served as IGP from 2001 to 2005 and then Gen Kayihura from 2005 to 2018.

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