Uganda Leader Vows Clampdown on Crime After Top Cop's Detention

(Bloomberg) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni promised a crackdown to curb a perceived surge in violent crime, including several assassinations of high-profile officials, just days after the detention of a former Inspector General of Police.

Authorities will fingerprint all legitimate guns in the East African nation to counter collusion of security personnel in crime, Museveni told lawmakers Wednesday from the capital, Kampala.

“We shall crush them,” he said in a televised speech. “Those who are doing bad things are endangering themselves.”

His comments come in the wake of series of killings of officials including staunch Museveni supporter Ibrahim Abiriga earlier this month, police spokesman Felix Kaweesi in March last year -- by hooded people on motorcycles known as boda boda -- and deputy director of Public Prosecutions Joan Kagezi three years ago.

Museveni fired Kale Kayihura as Inspector General of Police and Security Minister Henry Tumukunde three months ago following public outcry over crime. Kayihura is currently being detained by the army and has access to his family and lawyers, the military said on June 14.

Authorities are also holding a number of security officials linked to crimes such as murder and the illegal repatriation of refugees to their home countries. Other security measures include a ban on wearing hooded jackets on motorcycles, fitting vehicles with electronic license plates and installation of security cameras, the president said.

Museveni, 73, is one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, having been at the helm of Africa’s biggest coffee exporter since 1986. Last year, he signed a controversial law abolishing age limits for candidates seeking to lead Uganda, positioning him to potentially extend his rule when elections are next held in 2021.

“Increased crime, especially violent crime, and presidents shaking up their security forces are indications of a regime in trouble,” said Jared Jeffery, an analyst at Paarl, South Africa-based NKC African Economics, said in an emailed notes.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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