Inspector General of Police, Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura

At least 160 companies that have been supplying food to the police say they could stop making deliveries over unpaid bills estimated to be in billions of shillings.

The suppliers, who held a meeting in Kampala last week, say they have not been paid for the months of February, March, April, May, August and September, 2011, bringing into question the prioritisation of expenditure in the Force.

Police owes some individual suppliers billions of shillings with the lowest figure, according to the suppliers’ secretary, Mr Abdu Kakonge, being Shs50m.

Gen. Kale Kayihura
Whereas the police director for logistics, Mr Godfrey Bangirana, denied knowledge of the debts, his boss, the IGP, Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura, admitted knowledge of the demands, saying suppliers would be paid.

The police director for logistics, Mr Godfrey Bangirana, however, said he was not aware of the delay in paying suppliers although the Inspector General of Police, Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura, told Daily Monitor on Saturday that he was aware of the accumulated debt and promised to pay the suppliers.

“I’m aware of it but we are going to pay them,” he said.

Some suppliers said the Force leadership has repeatedly broken its promises to pay for the last one year.

“Some of us used borrowed money to supply. They have been telling us that they were going to pay but they haven’t. We are tired of their promises,” Mr Kakonge said.

It’s not clear whether the delay in paying suppliers is attributed to the cost of maintaining police operations.

Field operations reportedly cost government a staggering Shs180 billion during the last financial year as the 34,000-strong Force was scrambled to stop the opposition from engaging in political protests such as walk-to-work organised by Activists for Change.

This figure translates into an average of Shs500 million spent each day to reportedly maintain public order last year.

The first phase of protests that started in April last year were aimed at drawing the government’s attention to the skyrocketing fuel and essential commodity prices.

The money spent, according the Annual Budget Performance Report for financial year 2010/2011, is more than half of the entire budget advanced to the Police Force that year, which totalled Shs309 billion.

The meeting of the suppliers also agreed to form an association in order to strengthen the case for their payments.

Mr Kakonge said they were supposed to meet with the police leadership last week on Tuesday but they were snubbed. Another meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow.

Mr Bangirana described tomorrow’s meeting as a routine meeting with suppliers.

“We meet these suppliers routinely and for you to confirm that we have no problem with our suppliers, come to our stores and see trucks bringing food,” he said.

As police spent Shs180 billion enforcing public order, only Shs62 billon was allocated to accommodation and housing for policemen and women who live in dilapidated and crowded barracks, leaking tents and other deplorable conditions.

By Risdel Kasasira, Daily Monitor



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