Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura has “declassified” the particulars of his widely publicized trip to Turkey in June this year, which sparked media frenzy amid rumors that his health was deteriorating.
The trip which forced Gen Kayihura to miss the State of the Nation Address and the Budget reading, became a cause of anxiety, as officials in the police force kept saying their boss’s mission abroad was classified.
Yesterday, the IGP revealed that in Turkey, he was meeting with experts in his efforts to start up a Forensic Science Unit intended help with investigation of major cases.
Under the regional police partnership, the Eastern African Police Chiefs Corporation Organization (EAPPCCO) currently chaired by Kayihura, Uganda was chosen for construction of Forensics Unit.
This was hoped to save police forces in the region from having to solicit external support for forensics work.
The IGP, during a dialogue meeting with stakeholders at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) on Sunday, revealed that Uganda and her neighbors normally send samples from crime scenes to countries like South Africa, the UK and Israel for specialized examination, which is expensive and stressful.
The state of the art Forensic Science Unit is set to be established at the Police Headquarters in Naguru.
Meanwhile, Kayihura announced that the force will be partnering with Mbarara University to train the people that will be working in the Unit.
Under the arrangement, the University will also provide consultancy services on the right equipment to be procured for the lab.
The IGP explained why he chose the university.
“When it came to me, immediately it was Mbarara, not that I have a problem with my university (Makerere); it just came to my mind… We have also been hearing from the market that students from here have a different attitude. They are not like the others including those from Makerere who are only job seekers.”
During the meeting, Kayihura introduced a delegation from Turkey with whom he met during the June Trip.
The team led by Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Halil Elekcioglu of Cukurova University in Adana Turkey, had earlier on 30th December 2017 signed an MOU with the IGP to cement the cooperation.
Kayihura announced that ground breaking for the Forensics Lab was done last week and that works will be taken up by a Chinese construction firm.
Kayihura revealed that he picked interest in forensics in 2005 when cybercrimes started increasing.
The need, he said, intensified with the 2010 terrorist attack in Kampala, and lately the murder of Police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
“We face the challenges of criminal investigations failing to exploit the scene of crime. Modern science and technology allows you to exploit the scene of crime and be able to precisely convince the court rather than simply depending on testimonies of witnesses, and confessions of suspects,” he said.
“Some suspects will simply tell court that they were forced to confess and court disallows a very critical piece of evidence and you lose the case. But if you have got scientific DNA evidence results based on DNA analysis, comparing samples from the suspect found on the scene; these are more reliable and convincing to the court.”
The IGP appealed to the public not to demonize the project, which he said will not just help the police but also other enforncment agencies such as the Army, URA, among others.
The project, according to the IGP, has the full backing of President Yoweri Museveni.
“Actually the president had challenged us that we put up a forensic laboratory, because he appreciates the importance of forensics in criminal investigations. So he allowed us to use our land and when we gave him our plan he endorsed it without any hesitation”
Speaking during the meeting, Mbarara University Vice Chancellor Prof. Celestine Obua hailed the IGP for coming up with the plan and selecting the university to be the centre of forensic science training.
One of the officials on the Turkish delegation, Dr. Mete Korkut urged scientists in Uganda to adapt to and embrace technology and innovations in criminal justice.
He also advised forensic scientists in the project to work basing on standards, accuracy and quality assurance.
“I hope in 10 years, Mbarara and Kampala laboratories will be a very powerful centre of forensic sciences,” he said.