Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security agencies are still struggling to implement President Yoweri Museveni’s 12 security points, one year later.
In his statement to Parliament on the new wave of kidnaps and murders in the country on Thursday, Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Jeje Odongo said that in order to fully understand and appreciate the current security situation, it was important to reflect back on the country’s recent history.
Odongo’s statement follows a matter of national importance raised by Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake early this week on the new wave of kidnaps and murders.
Last year, the country witnessed a period of security anxiety characterized by gruesome murders of mainly women in Entebbe and Nansana, kidnaps and assassinations.
President Yoweri Museveni on 20th June 2018 addressed Parliament about the security situation in the Country and listed 12 action points that government would take to address the security situation.
Some of the security points included Installation of the CCTV cameras, recruiting and deploying Local Defense Units (LDUs), fingerprinting of guns, establishing the Forensic laboratory, requiring every vehicle to have electronic number plates, re-introduction of the 999 response system, addressing Social media misuse, outlaw wearing of hoods for Boda Boda riders, introduction of helmets with illuminated numbers and others.
The other security points by the President included the introduction of more border scanners, regulation of the use of drones and UAVs, encouraging installation of private CCTV cameras and addressing the socio-economic conditions of the society.
Gen. Odongo told MPs that phase one of the installations of CCTV cameras in the Kampala Metropolitan is at 70 percent and that they hope to conclude the process by end of September 2019 before embarking on Phase two and three.
“We have recruited and deployed a number of LDU units. More have been recruited and will soon be deployed immediately after their training. The 999 speedy response units have been reconstituted. We have fingerprinted nearly 68 percent of the guns in police, army, private security organizations and private individuals,” said Odongo.
He further noted that the question of the forensic laboratory to assist in scientific investigations still lies with parliament appealing to MPs to expedite the process of establishing the laboratory. Odongo says that they continue to work on the other action points promising to brief parliament on their progress as and when necessary.
The Minister said that some of the benefits so far reaped from the implementations done are the successful Christmas celebrations in December, the June 3rd Martyrs’ Day celebrations and the noticeable decline in crime rates in nearly all types of crime according to the recent annual crime report.
Odongo, however, noted an analysis and self-examination by the security agencies which established that there was need for self-rectification.
“For example, we are going to improve our 999 and fixed-line call system so as to improve our contact with the population and our response time. We shall also improve our command levels for both the LDU units as well as at police station level. We are going to improve monitoring of our officers at the reception counters at police stations,” Odongo added.
The Minister also noted challenges citing several duplicate telephone handsets which make it difficult to track dubious callers because their IMEI are duplicates. He also noted that the crime of snatching vehicle number plates is inadvertently helped by the tedious process of replacing number plates appealing to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to work on it.
He also said that CCTV cameras are still expensive for private individuals and that the Internal Affairs Ministry is engaging the Ministry of Finance with a view to review the tax regime on this.
Speaking about the new trend of kidnaps, Gen. Odongo said that the security agencies have tried to understand what drives this new trend and concluded that there are certain factors driving it including politics, drug abuse.
He said that many detractors of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party know that security is one of the government’s key points and that they are now attempting to create the impression that the NRM has failed to provide security. He also said that they have noted that there is a perceptible increase of drug abuse particularly among the youth and that this abuse unduly influences their behaviour patterns.
Meanwhile, Odongo said that the security situation is not as bad as is being portrayed and that it is continuing to improve.
He urged Ugandans to avoid politicizing security saying that it is a common good and there is need to work together on it.