Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Black mail : Uganda Police boss denied US visa over anti-homosexuality law

Andrew Felix Kaweesi was denied a US visa
The enactment of the anti-homosexuality law, which is widely opposed by Western countries, has claimed its first scalp in Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Andrew Felix Kaweesi. In reaction to the signing of the law, which makes homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison, the American government has cancelled a planned intelligence course for Kaweesi.
Kaweesi was expected in the USA this month to attend the course at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) junior academy. The course was postponed last year after a congressional budget standoff with the President Obama administration forced a government shutdown.

The training was meant to re-skill Kaweesi in investigating and handling new terrorism threats. In a letter copied to the inspector general of police, Gen Kale Kayihura, the American embassy cited the enactment of the anti-gay law as reason for the rejection and the relatively dampened American relations with Uganda.

Kaweesi acknowledged receiving the letter that blocked him.

“It’s true that the American ambassador has written to me over the matter,” Kaweesi said.
He described the decision as unfortunate. He said the anti-homosexuality law was passed to protect Uganda’s cultural interests. Police Spokesperson Judith Nabakooba also confirmed in an interview on Tuesday that Kaweesi had been denied a US visa.

“It’s true they denied him a visa and he also has a copy of the refusal letter.  He was going for three months’ training,” she said.

Last December, the US embassy in Kampala blacklisted some senior police officers singled out for their role in the brutal suppression of the opposition-led ‘walk-to-work’ protests.

According to police sources, the blocked officers included Grace Turyagumanawe, who is in charge of operations, Joel Anguma, the former commandant of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU), and Laban Muhabwe.

According to US embassy sources, the blacklisted officers cannot travel to the United States or attend any US-sponsored training programme. On February 24, President Museveni signed into law the Anti-Homosexual Bill to the chagrin of the international community.
The White House sharply criticised the law as being “more than an affront” and warned that the Obama administration would review America’s relationship with Uganda.

Kaweesi, formerly commandant of Masindi Police Training School in Kabalye, replaced Grace Turyagumanawe as Kampala Metropolitan chief in September 2011.