Significance of Kawesi’s appointment as new Police spokesperson
Andrew Felix Kawesi, has been named the new Spokesperson of the Uganda Police force. His name is familiar in the memory of most Ugandans having served as the former Director of Operations in Kampala Metropolitan during the famous Walk to work protests as well as during the presidential campaigns.
Kawesi told a news conference this week that from now on, he will be the chief Spokesperson of the police force.
Kaweesi said after being introduced as the new Police PRO that: “On August 21, Yesterday the Inspector General of Police Gen. Kale Kayihura appointed me to head the PR department in the Uganda Police Force. Immediately I started on this task and since we are now on the operation of re-branding the image of police therefore the struggle started within the PR department,”
Kawesi replaces Fred Enanga, who has served in the position for slightly over 2 years. He said his deputies are yet to be named.
But the appointment of Kawesi as the public face of Police will trigger mixed reactions. For those sympathise with the opposition Kawesi is likely to raise eye brows especially since he is remembered for crashing protests in Kampala. But for many in the business community, Kawesi is a hero having succeeded in stopping protests by opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye, that had made business chaotic.
Appointing such a high ranking officer in the force as the spokesperson of the Police at a time when the force is facing heightened public scrutiny could be interpreted as a sign of panic or a feeling of unease by the IGP towards his PRO team hitherto led by Enanga.
Enanga’s team recently issued contradicting statements to those of their boss Gen. Kale Kayihura regarding the police’s documented beating of Dr. Kizza Besigye’s supporters.
Polly Namaye, the former assistant to Enanga had told the public that police were investigating police officers who were video-taped beating Besigye supporters. But her comments were quickly contradicted by Gen. Kayihura who justified the actions of his juniors saying beating was less costly than tear gas.