Security chiefs have reportedly told President Yoweri Museveni who is currently in the United States, to first halt the contentious move to amend the presidential age limit.
According to Chimpreports, over the weekend, the intelligence community led by Security Minister, Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde made phone calls to dozens of selected Members of Parliament to get their “honest” views on the blistering plans to change Article 102 of the Constitution.
Security was shocked to learn that the numbers that the architects of the amendment are boasting of may not be real, and that there is a likeliness of violence breaking out in the house, with a potential overactive spillover to the streets in Kampala and different urban centers.
Two weeks ago, the Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura, was chest-thumping after a dozen people were arraigned in court for the murder of over 20 women in different parts of Wakiso District.
General Kayihura assured the country that the killers’ group that had been nipped in the bud.
In the meeting with the residents at Nansana, Wakiso District, he attributed the success to his crime prevention system that comprises of crime preventers, who gathered intelligence on the criminals and shared it with the police.
He packed up his belongings and tent at Nansana, where he had pitch-camped for more than a month, and returned to Kampala City with a sense of victory.
Barely a week after he had left Wakiso District, two more women were found killed in Katabi Sub-county in Wakiso District. It brought the number of murdered women in Wakiso District to 22 since May this year.
The latest victim was Sarah Neriima. Her body was dumped in Mpala Police Post backyard.
Katabi residents wondered how such a crime could be committed in an area with heavy security.
It also raises questions on whether the highly billed crime prevention system is working.
Before the 2016 Presidential elections, police spent all its energies on recruiting crime preventers all over the country.
General Kayihura said they targeted to have at least 30 crime preventers per village. And by January 2016, he was talked about a million crime preventers in the country. This meant that every 35 people, there was a crime preventer.
The crime preventers were trained in police work and some of them were given firearms to help police carry out patrols.
The Coordinator of the National Crime Preventers Forum, Blaise Kamugisha, said their numbers around the country had swelled to five million crime preventers. This means that every eight citizens, there is a crime preventer.
The mathematics seems not to tally as the Internal Affairs Ministry policy statement for this financial year talks about 30 crime preventers (30 per cent females) per each of the 54,000 villages in the country. This is around 1.6m crime preventers.
Uganda Police Force budgeted more than Shs37.4bn for the crime preventers.
The crime preventers were given motorcycles, which they were to use in intelligence gathering.
Again, police narrowed the scope. They introduced Neighbourhood Watch (dubbed Mayumba Kumi) where 10 households are clustered into one group. Each member of the group shares contacts with the area police so that they can tip detectives about crime.
Despite the two systems of community police crime preventions, the crime rate in the country continues to rise.
Crime preventers are nowhere to be seen
Going by the police statistical ratios, areas of Katabi and Nansana where the population is close 700,000 people, there would be at least 60,000 crime preventers in there.
Unfortunately, many of the women are picked from entertainment places at busy periods, but none in the hyped crime preventers numbers has been able to give a clue about the suspected criminals.
This has even prompted President Yoweri Museveni to personally carry out investigations in a bid to try to stop the murders.
Gen Kayihura too concedes about gaps in the crime prevention system while he was at Nansana.
“If we had crime preventers on ground, these killers could have been easy identified by the community and dealt with before they committed the crimes,” General Kayihura said.
After the 2016 general elections, the Police Director of Logistics and Engineering, Mr Geoffrey Bangirana, ordered every crime preventer to return police equipment, including uniforms and batons, which had been given to them.
Later, General Kayihura ordered police commanders to chase crime preventers from the police stations and posts.
“What are people who aren’t paid doing at police stations? I don’t want to see these crime preventers at stations. Crime preventers must be in the villages not at the police station,” General Kayihura told police commanders at Kigo Marine Base.
The shadow Internal Affairs Minister, Muwanga Kivumbi (Member of Parliament for Butambala), who was against the training and mobilisation of crime preventers, said the group was just a political tool to be used in the elections to canvas votes from President Yoweri Museveni using government money.
Indeed, after the general elections, the group has disappeared.
Robert Asiimwe, the councillor for Naguru II in Nakawa Division and the area defence secretary, said the crime preventers they used to hire to carry out foot patrols gave up after they failed to facilitate them.
“As residents, we used to contribute money to facilitate them. When residents failed meet the promises, the crime preventers gave up with their work and left. We lost more than 40 crime preventers which is a big gap in security,” Asiimwe said.
One of the major mobilisers in the National Crime Preventers Forum, who doesn’t want to be named, said the numbers were exaggerated or got through giving the youth false promises.
“Some youth came because they were told that if they participated, they were either going to get jobs or funding from the government,” the former crime preventer said.
He said the leaders of the forum even started a savings cooperative called Mwangaza Sacco, in which the government was to inject funds for their development.
“Many youth were told to save money in the Sacco and later get loans. After they had saved their money, a minimum of Shs15,000 per month, they neither got the loans nor give back their savings. Many got annoyed and abandoned the project,” he said.
Some sections of the public believe that some disoriented crime preventers have now become crime presenters behind the spate of crime that includes the escalating violent robberies and murders.