Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament on the Committee of Defence and Internal Affairs have asked the government to consider relaxing curfew restrictions in Masaka sub-region to enable the community to respond to cases of insecurity.
The committee is in Masaka region following the recent attacks that have claimed the lives of at least 30 people, and left nine injured by machete-wielding thugs.
In a meeting with the Minister of Security Major General Jim Muhwezi, the MPs asked him to either relax or completely lift the curfew restrictions.
Naboth Namanya, the MP for Rubabo County indicates out of their interactions with local leaders, they have learned that the enforcement of curfew restrictions is one of the impediments to the interventions taken by the residents to overwhelm the assailants.
According to Namanya, while the local leaders have mobilized residents to provide their security and timely responses to any alarms in their areas, they cannot freely conduct night patrols in their areas due to movement restrictions.
He argues that despite the heightened security deployment in the area, which has relatively contained the attacks, there is a need to reinforce community-based security interventions that can provide a lasting solution to the situation.
Rosemary Nyakikongoro, the Committee chairperson says that they have observed that the assailants are taking advantage of the few people who are out in the night hours to strike and flee which would not be possible if there was no restriction on movements.
John Nuwagira, the Deputy Director of Operation in the Uganda Police Force, who is coordinating police response operations in the area, also confirmed that their interventions are also partly slowed down by the curfew restrictions.
He reveals that they have witnessed incidents where security nearly clashed with village vigilante groups in the night, because they have no proper joint coordination arrangements between them, partly due to curfew restrictions.
Major General Muhwezi, the Minister of Security noted that he cannot solely decide on the request by the MPs. He said that he will hold discussions with higher authorities on the matter.
This is not the first time parliament has asked the government to lift curfew restrictions, which were announced by President Yoweri Museveni as one of the interventions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.