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Fighting new Crime wave

Experts react to Museveni strategy

Kampala, Uganda | PATRICIA AKANKWATSA | Respond to fire with fire. That appears to be the strategy behind President Yoweri Museveni’s recent restructuring of the police force and deployment of military generals to head four of its 19 directorates. According to security experts, however, more needs to be done or else the situation worsens.

Museveni on July 02 deployed army Brig. Jackson Bakasumba, Brig Geoffrey Golooba, Col.Sserunjogi Ddamulira and Col Jessy Kamunanwire to the police force.

The strategy behind the deployment is shrouded in secrecy but it is being sold as a shoring up of support to a police force in shambles.  The deployment of soldiers in police has, as expected, been criticized by believers in the separation of civil from military forces. But both the army and police communication on the deployment has concentrated on the UPDF being a stable force and helping building capacity of the police in terms of personnel resources, administration, training and intelligence.

The deployment was announced just three days after a CCTV grab video of the gruesome murder of a boda boda rider by attackers who took his motorbike in Rubaga Division of Kampala City went viral and shocked the nation.

The incident was captured on the CCTV cameras of a nearby nursery and primary school and appeared to be a plus for Museveni who has aggressively pushed for the cameras to be deployed widely.

While commissioning the Shs 500billion CCTV camera installation project in October last year, President Museveni then said that the game was “finished” for criminals. With the CCTV cameras, he said, it will be very easy to track down the criminals because not only do the cameras record everything day and night, they can be rolled back to see which security officials failed on their job.

“The problem of urban insecurity perpetuated by armed assassins riding boda bodas will be solved. What we needed were eyes, ears and a nose to sense them. It is what the cameras will do. Once we see these criminals, we shall get them,” said Museveni.

But the killing that shocked the nation followed a spate of brazen attacks that have happened, sometimes under the full glare of cameras. There have been murders of mobile money kiosk operators around the city and the daring daylight attack on a construction materials business in Nansana, another city suburb, in which thugs shot several people dead.

There has been an aura of general lawlessness, with thugs rampaging unfettered in parts of downtown Kampala; especially in the Kisekka Market-Nabugabo Street Area, pouncing on motorists held up in traffic jams; especially in the Clock Tower area and the Masanafu areas of the Northern Bypass, and demanding money and valuables.

Just before the gruesome June murder of the boda boda rider, the police had in April announced results of an internal mini-survey it conducted that showed that up to 28 boda boda riders had been murdered and their bikes stolen over the previous three months. Only five bikes were recovered, the police said.

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