KAMPALA — President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday, January 25, elevated Private Dr. Tom Magambo who is attached to Internal Security Organisations (ISO) to the rank of Major and subsequently appointed him the Director for the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID)— shocking top bosses in the Uganda Police Force.
Reports indicate that replacement Akullo with a little-known newly promoted major has sparked debate in security circles—with senior security chiefs describing Dr. Magambo’s appointment as demeaning to the police force.
Sources quoted by Uganda Radio Network say the force has dozens of experienced detectives from the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police to Senior Commissioners of police fit for the job.
“Even if the move is to militarize the police, at least a person with a reasonable rank should have been appointed. It’s disrespectful to the police force to replace a distinguished police officer like Akullo with a private,” one senior police officer said quoted by URN said.
Dr. Magambo has been serving as the coordinator of the Eastern Africa Fusion and Liaison Unit (EA-FLU), a regional intelligence-gathering center based in Entebbe.
EA-FLU is mandated to support and facilitate regional cooperation initiatives to curb terrorism and other transnational threats posed by organized criminal groups.
Security details indicate that EA- FLU that Magambo has been heading comprises 10 countries including Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Tanzania.
It was formed in May 2018 in Kampala, following a resolution of the 45th African Union Peace and Security Council Summit that was held on 2nd September 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The EA-FLU operates with support from organisations like the AU, the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), East African Community (EAC), and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
“He is a private with a strong educational background. He is a Ph.D. holder and he had retired from the army,” URN reported, quoting military sources.
Former ISO operative turned political analyst Charles Rwomushana Charles Rwomushana, claims that he underwent military training with Magambo.
“Most of our intake are Majors and captains. We have a Lt. Col in Katabazi the Deputy Director-General. Tom Magambo rose to a Director in intelligence. He was Director Analysis,” Rwomushana said.
He has won plaudits for many security accomplishments at the Entebbe based security establishment.
Analysts also praised him for playing a crucial role in proactive investigations especially during the 2021 general elections, cross-border crime, and the ongoing hunt for groups involved in violent crime including recent terror incidents in Kampala.
“Magambo is not a joke. He’s been instrumental in terror investigations. Many of the suspects who have been in the hands of ISO know him,” a source said quoted by URN said—noting that the new CID boss isn’t being introduced to something new.
“He is a trained intelligence officer well over Criminal investigations. Intelligence uses different rankings from the military and military officers serving with intelligence stay long on military rankings since they rarely access training courses,” the source added.
Speaking at security dialogue held in Entebbe, Dr. Magambo said the existing and emerging threats continue to be more complex, dispersed, difficult to detect and more challenging to defend against sometimes hence the need for enhanced coordination.
He, however, said that since inception, notable strides have been made towards accomplishing the strategic objective of contributing to peace and stability in the region.
Maj Magambo becomes the sixtieth UPDF officer serving in such a top police position.
Museveni also appointed Maj. Gen. Godfrey Tumusiime Katsigazi Deputy IGP replacing Maj. Gen Paul Lokech who died in August last year.
Other UPDF officers in key police positions include Maj. Gen. Jack Bakasumba who is the Chief of Joint Staff, Brig. Chris Damulira who is the Director of Crime Intelligence, Col. Jesse Kamunanwire who is the Director of Human Resource Management, Col. Godfrey Golooba who is the director of Human Resource Development.
Some senior police officers argue that Museveni could be ignoring to promote senior police officers with the view of replacing them with military officers.
Police last held the promotion for senior officers in February 2016 during the reign of the former IGP Gen. Kale Kayihura.
Many of the current police directors are left with two to five months to quit the force as their contracts will be expiring unless they are renewed.
So far, 10 AIGPs have retired in the last four years following the expiry of their contracts without renewal.