If entire police force is 48,000-strong, how will Museveni pour 24,000 LDUs into Kampala?
President Museveni says he will pour 24,000 reservists, mainly LDUs, into Kampala and Wakiso alone
CRIME | The government plans to deploy at least 24,000 reservists, mainly local defence unit (LDU) personnel and crime preventers in the capital Kampala and neighbouring Wakiso District as a major commitment to rein in crime.
The plan was laid down by President Museveni during a three-hour address of the nation Sunday evening, during which he clarified that he would pour the LDUs and crime preventers — the group, largely recruited to back policing efforts ahead of 2016 general elections but was disbanded and made a reserve force following several accusations that they fueled criminality.
“As we build urban structures, we are calling up 24,000 LDUs for Kampala and Wakiso areas. We are calling up the reserves and they will man the little trading centres until we have installed the cameras,” Museveni said.
To many keen observers, Museveni’s numbers have a deafening scream when one compares the current Police Force strength vis-a-vis the 24,000 additional heads (and guns) the president claims the government will pour into urban and periurban areas around Kampala and Wakiso districts.
Museveni’s government has recently been inclined toward use of technological developments such as CCTV that he has been propping up as the best possible solution to checking crime, especially assassins that keep taking down prominent personalities.
“We are recruiting these temporarily because technical solutions tend to be cheaper than the human capacity,” the president, who explained that the LDU recruits will have to undergo vetting by local councillors “in order to sieve out criminals,” said.
For this major dream that the president might need to wake up from sooner than later, the government could sink in Shs57 billion, Museveni said, noting that the plan might be costly but what matters is if it restores security.
Here is the problem. If the entire Uganda Police Force strength, according to the 2015 Statistical Abstract prepared by the Police directorate for research, planning and development in conjunction with Uganda Bureau of Statistics, stands at 44,897 up from 42,748 in 2012.
The Justice sector estimates that the Police strength stands at about 48,000 currently. This would mean that the 24,000 LDUs that Museveni has dreamt up would be 50% of the national police force strength.
A headcount of police returned with at least 8,000 ghost officers last month. But Museveni said: “There are a thousand villages in Kampala, we will flood them all with our guns… we shall see whose guns have more effect,” he said.
Flooding, there couldn’t have been a better diction. To pour 24,000 armed crime preventers into Kampala and Wakiso is like having another half of Uganda Police Force inside the two urban districts alone.
The plan would make Kampala and Wakiso the most policed towns with a ratio of about 1 policeman for every 80 people or so. The current national coverage is one policeman for every 1,880 citizens.
Museveni has always maintained that criminal elements, such as of assassins that keep taking out high profile personalities, exploit gaps in Police due to continued reliance on “old rudimentary” approach to crime solving.
The president’s latest desperate push to rein in criminality in urban areas comes in the wake of the assassination of former Nansana, Old Kampala and Buyende DPC Mohammed Kirumira.
The outspoken cop was gunned down Saturday evening by assailants riding on boda boda, leading to public outcry in Bulenga where he lived and his ancestral village in Mpigi. His idol in the Police force, AIGP Felix Kaweesi was brutally killed in a similar style.
Two months ago, Ibrahim Abiriga, then Arua Municipality MP, was gunned down by assailants in almost similar style near his home. Maj Muhammed Kiggundu, a former ADF commander who had been rehabilitated into the military, was taken down a year and a half after Senior Principal Attorney Joan Kagezi was also killed by assailants riding on boda boda.