Uganda’s Police Chief Martin Okoth Ochola retires after 36 years of service

Uganda's Police Chief Martin Okoth-Ochola retires after 37 years
Mr. Okoth-Ochola the outgoing IGP hands over office to his Deputy Maj Gen Geoffrey Tumusiime Katsigazi.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | After joining the Uganda Police Force on January 2, 1988, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Martins Okoth Ochola on Monday 4, March 2024 has officially handed over office, marking the conclusion of his five-year contract, which began in March 2018 when he took over from Gen Kale Kayihura.

The handover ceremony took place on March 4, 2024, with Ochola passing the reins to Deputy Inspector General of Police Maj Gen Geoffrey Tumusiime Katsigazi. The closed-door event included the presence of the Police Advisory Committee.

During the handover, Ochola presented a comprehensive report of over 300 pages outlining the achievements, challenges, and recommendations for ongoing progress within the Uganda Police Force.

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga has confirmed that Deputy IGP Maj General Katsigazi is now overseeing the more than 50,000 police officers, drawing on his experience working alongside former IGP Ochola.

In expressing gratitude, Ochola thanked the President for the appointment and the trust placed in him during his 36 years of service within the force, where he held various positions.

Ochola commended the cooperation of stakeholders, including the justice, law, and order sector, as well as sister security agencies. While the president wished to retain him, sources close to the matter reveal that Ochola has decided it’s time to retire from the force.

Below is Ochola’s full handover speech

On 2nd January 2024, I made a service record of thirty-six years in the Uganda Police Force, having joined the Institution on the 2nd January 1988.

Within this period, which was climaxed by my appointment as Inspector General of Police, I was particularly fortunate to have served as a Deputy IGP, Director of Special Duties, Director CID, Deputy Director CID, Commissioner of Legal Department, Head complaints desk, Head Prosecution, and OC Entebbe Aviation Security.

On the 4th of March 2018, His Excellency The President appointed me as the Inspector General of Police which position I assumed with humility, commitment, dedication, and determination. Three years after my appointment, the President extended my tour of duty for another three years which ends today, the 4th March 2024.

When I took over the steering of affairs of this great Institution at about this time exactly 6 years ago, the task was clear – Professionalizing and Rebuilding the image of the Institution.

Anchoring on teamwork, support, and guidance from the President and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, we were able to register numerous achievements in policing as well as creating a general atmosphere of calmness, togetherness, and a sense of belonging we are witnessing today.

The numerous achievements spelt out in my handover report and by the various Directorates, were made possible by working with a wonderful team and dedicated officers, across all ranks, who gave their best in ensuring that the Institution succeeded in fulfilling its constitutional mandate.

Prior to this occasion, on 3rd January 2024, I wrote to the Honorable Minister of Internal Affairs/Chairman Police Authority requesting to conclude my tour of duty due to personal and domestic issues that require my attention. Today, I am delighted to be standing before you this day to give my stewardship report and handover leadership of this great Institution to the new Inspector General of Police. 

First and foremost, allow me to express my deep personal appreciation and gratitude to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda, and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, for appointing and entrusting me with the leadership of this great Institution. I want to take a moment to thank his leadership and support during my time in office.

It has been a great honour to serve under his guidance as Commander-in-Chief. His vision for a safer and more secure Uganda, devoid of violence and crime has been inspirational not only to me alone but to other Police officers as well. 

Distinguished guests, I also want to deeply thank the Uganda Police Authority under the able leadership of the Honourable Minister of Internal Affairs for its skillful efforts in supervising and guiding the Police Management over the past 6 years. 

To my fellow current service chiefs, our predecessors, serving and retired Police officers across all ranks and designations, civilian staff working with the Uganda Police, and other officers working with sister security Agencies over and over again, I say a big thank you to all for your time, resources and contribution in securing our country during my term of service. 

I had a great team of Police Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) members that I have chaired for the past six years. Indeed, they have been great in fulfilling the assignments accorded to them by the Police Council. To the committee heads, you were wonderful and gave your best. I appreciate you all. Similarly, I applaud the Police Council Delegates that I have chaired for the same period. 

They all came out, attended meetings, made good presentations, and deliberations, and gave their time whenever required. Consequently, and working as a team, we were able to review the Force’s policies, assess implementation levels, and formulate strategies to overcome the dynamic policing demands of the ever-changing environment. 

To the PAC and Police Council members and Delegates, I say a big thank you once again. I want to thank the development partners and other several stakeholders in fighting crime including, among others; JLOS, Parliament, UHRC, media fraternity, and all the people of Uganda, for your cooperation and support. 

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We truly value your contribution and thanks for praising us when we needed to be praised and thanks for criticizing us when we needed to be criticized. Countless thanks to my family for their understanding and support throughout my service in the Uganda Police Force.

Distinguished guests, not all Institutional challenges could be solved in the six years of my tenure. Therefore, other unfinished critical issues hinder professional policing which the new administration can accomplish. Some are outlined in this handover report. 

Finally, as I step into the next chapter of my life, I carry with me fond memories of our accomplishments. May the UPF continue to be a beacon of excellence and a force for positive change in the enforcement of law and order.

To my successor and the incoming team, congratulations to you all. I wish you monumental success as you steer this Institution to another level. l say goodbye to everyone and I wish you all and your families the best in life and God’s blessings.

Long live Uganda; Long live Uganda Police Force; Long Live Everyone. Thank you very much.

J.M. Okoth-Ochola, (ESQ)

Out-going Inspector General of Police