Kabale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A section of the disbanded Special Police Constables-SPCs in Kabale district are threatening to stage illegal operations to extort money from the public citing nonpayment of their allowances. Police recruited the SPCs in December last year to complement its work of law enforcement during this year’s general elections.
The SPCs signed a three-months contract running from January to March. Each of the constables was entitled to Shillings 370,000 monthly. Police conducted recruitments in two phases. Those claiming nonpayment are from the second batch.
Ronald Ngabirano, one of the former SPCs says that they have reliable information that their counterparts in the first batch received full payment. He says that they have not received any explanation as to why they have not received their payment.
According to Ngabirano, they have agreed to use the police uniforms in their possession to conduct night patrols and collect payment from civilians.
Ronald Bizimungu, another affected SPC says that the Kigezi Regional Police Commander, Kabale District Police Commander and the Regional Police Spokesperson have ignored their complaints of nonpayment. He says that it is the reason why they decided not to hand in the police uniforms even after the Inspector-General of Police-IGP ordered them to do so.
He also said that they would start wearing the uniforms and mount roadblocks to stop cars and ask for money from drivers, adding that it is the only remaining option for them to get money.
Sheila Kesande and Sarah Ainembabazi who claimed that they abandoned other income-generating activities and joined the force with the hope of earning a living by serving as SPCs, say that they will also participate in night patrols and roadblocks to look for money.
However, Enock Hatangimana, the Kigezi Region Police Community Liaison Officer has warned the group against misusing police uniforms. He said those threatening to mount illegal roadblocks would be arrested and prosecuted for robbery in courts of law. He advised the aggrieved former SPCs to follow the right channels to pursue their payment.
Hatangimana, who also doubles as Kigezi Region Police Political Commissar advised the SPCs to complain to the IGP in writing.
This is not the first time SPCs in Kabale are protesting non-payment of their allowances. In April this year, the Kigezi Region Police Commander Dan Byaruhanga accused the SPCs of impatience. According to Byaruhanga, the complainants were recruited late in the second batch, which had 123 SPCs. He explained that the Human Resource Office at the police headquarters in Kampala delayed the approval of their recruitment.
He says that the group had not received appointment letters by the time they were deployed at the polling stations. Byaruhanga said they were expecting both the appointment letters and the salaries of the second batch to be released as soon as possible. He said he was okay with SPCs keeping the uniforms until they are paid, but warned to arrest those found abusing them.
The affected SPCs have petitioned the Inspectorate of Government, Kabale branch. However, the Kabale Region Inspectorate Officer Sam Agaba was not in the office by the time they showed up. The SPCs registered the complaint with Agaba’s secretary.