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When Police Week marked in crime-shaken Entebbe

Uganda Police Counter Terrorism Unit doing drills at the Police Day Celebrations at Nkumba University Ceremonial Grounds on Oct. 3 COURTESY/ PHOTO.

On Sept 28 the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, was in Katabi Town Council to launch the Annual Police Week activities.

Kampala, Uganda | IAN KATUSIIME | Just weeks earlier, the IGP had been in this part of the general Entebbe area in Wakiso district on a different mission. Together with the neighbouring Nansana area, Katabi had witnessed the gruesome murder of over 20 young women one-at-a-time over four months in mysterious circumstances. So the Police Week which ran from Sept.28 to Oct. 3 was literally held in the Ground Zero of insecurity. And, while Kayihura had a message for the residents of Katabi, they too gave him a mouthful.

Since 2014, when Uganda Police Force marked 100 years, the institution has pressed for more prominence for Oct. 3 the National Police Day as a way of improving the force’s welfare. As part of activities leading to the day, the Police Week is held to strengthen community engagement with police. This year it ran under the theme ‘Connecting with communities to fight crime’ – which resonated perfectly with the audience at the launch at Katabi.

Kayihura told residents who had gathered that Katabi that young girls and women in the area were being killed as a result of relationships gone sour. But the remarks drew immediate criticism from the public.  Still, Kayihura insisted that young girls and women in relationships were to be registered.

He also reassured the residents of Katabi that the Police have developed new measures that are expected to end the insecurity in the area. According to the Police website, Kayihura is working on strengthening the neighborhood watch and increasing deployment in the area.

The police have increased on the number of policemen in Katabi on foot patrol, motorcycles and patrol cars and these will be coordinating with crime preventers and LC chairpersons to monitor security straight from the grassroots level.

Kayihura also revealed plans of Police to introduce other forms of patrols like roller skaters, bicycles and call centers in each ward in Katabi. Residents will be given specific telephone numbers to report all forms of insecurity in their area.

This year the Police Week activities included medical services at the newly-opened Iran Uganda Medical Centre in Naguru, Kampala. There was free dental consultation for members of the Uganda Police Force, free HIV/Hepatitis B testing for members of the police and general public, and free consultation for general sickness for members of the Police and general public. Part of this included a free medical camp for the public in Mukono. A Police marathon was held on Sept. 30 in Nansana.

Other activities were a public lecture on Oct.1 organised at Nkumba University under the theme ‘Connecting with the University Communities to Fight Crime’. Pan Africanism scholar Dr Kihura Nkuba made a presentation on the topic ‘Crisis in the African society and Solutions at Micro level’.

His presentation was discussed by Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere the Minister for General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister and Prof. Peter Kanyandago. IGP Kayihura moderated the lecture where hundreds of students of Nkumba University attended and several Police officers.

During the final celebrations held at Nkumba University Ceremonial Grounds on Oct. 3, Uganda Police held a parade to display some of its equipment. This included the Counter Terrorism Unit whose officers displayed skills of Response and Rescue in case of a terror attack. Other sections of the police also marched in varying shows of their professional duties.  A group of acrobats also performed on the day.

Guests included former Police Chiefs: Okoth Ogola who was IGP in the Obote II government and Cossy Odomel who served as police boss from 1992-1999. Kayihura hailed Odomel for introducing community policing in Uganda. The Minister of State for Internal Affairs Obiga Kania and Uganda People Defence Forces (UPDF) Spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire also attended.

IGP Kayihura while delivering his remarks said discipline in communities was still a big challenge. He said that police had made progress on fighting the women murders in Nansana and Entebbe, adding that no crime had been reported in two weeks. Kayihura also thanked the Vice Chancellor of Nkumba University for the twenty scholarships the university offered to the police.

The chief guest, Vice President Edward Sekandi, while representing President Museveni said “Government is committed in supporting Uganda Police Force in its drive to professionalism.”

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