Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Days after District Police Commanders informed the police leadership at Naguru headquarters that they would like to retain some of the Special Police Constables-SPCs whose elections tenure has ended, it has emerged that some directors have not welcomed the move.
Ahead of the 2021 general elections, police in collaboration with the Electoral Commission recruited 50,000 SPCs whose role was to guide voters outside and inside the polling centres. The EC gazetted over 34,000 polling stations. An SPC was deployed at each while polling stations with a huge number of voters had at least two.
The tenure of SPCs started early January and ended on March 31 this year. This was because their recruitment was purposely to serve for three months of electioneering. They were being paid 370,000 shillings per month.
Since their mission has ended, SPCs have been applauded by the Inspector General of Police Martin Ochola, for helping security agencies to secure the electoral period. Ochola has reminded all SPCs to return government belongings such as uniform, police boots and baton or else they could face charges of being in possession of government stores.
But as Ochola bids farewell to the 50,000 SPCs, 20 out of 28 policing regions have expressed need to have some of these temporary personnel retained. The DPCs through Regional Police Commanders-RPCs have asked to remain with five to 20 SPCs to supplement on their insufficient numbers of policemen and women.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga confirmed that 20 regions have requested to have some SPCs continue working with their personnel.
Some of the directors according to sources at Naguru police headquarters have objected to the move while others have given a thumps up to the demand by DPCs and RPCs. A police director who did not want to be mentioned told Uganda Radio Network (URN) that he wonders where the money to pay the SPCs will come from.
“They have been earning 370,000 per month because that money was requested and allocated for in the electoral period. If we retain maybe 1000, that will mean getting 370m every month to cater for their salaries. That money isn’t reflected in the forthcoming budget,” a director said.
Directors who are opposed to retention of SPCs wonder how they will go back to parliament to ask for a supplementary budget yet they asked the August House to allow them recruit Probation Police Constables –PPCs and Learner Assistant Inspectors of Police –LAIP and they did.
“We wrote to parliament that we had not recruited for a longtime and we had shortage of personnel. We explained that we needed 10,000 officers. We needed money for that number and it was approved by parliament. We don’t have any forthcoming activity that needs extra personnel. What reasons shall we give this time,” said one of the senior officers.
Police recruited 4,500 PPCs and 500 LAIPs in September 2019. They were passed out last year and they are currently deployed in various parts of the country. In addition, more 5,000 police recruits are undergoing training at Kabalye Police Training School-PTS.