The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen Kale Kayihura, has told critics of the increasing recruitment of crime preventers to go hang.
Gen Kale Kayihura said police will continue to recruit crime preventers regardless of consistent criticism from people he described as political opportunists.
“I am tired of people vulgarizing the concept of crime preventers. It is not the first of its kind in the world and they are not militia groups. We shall not stop recruiting crime preventers. You can hang, if you are ignorant over their importance,” said Gen Kayihura at a two-day police sports gala at Sebei College, Tegeres in Kapchorwa District at the weekend.
How come IDP Kaihura talks with a lot of authority as if he is the alpha and omega in Uganda?
Why shouldn’t Parliament fire him given his schemes that may lead Uganda to instability?
Parliament has approved Gen Kale Kayihura’s appointment for another term of office as the Inspector General of Police.
The appointment committee which vetted Gen Kayihura on Thursday approved his appointment for a fourth term despite repeated calls by the opposition not to.
The opposition had called upon parliament to block his re-appointment, saying it would be an extension of a period of human rights abuses.
Shortly after his approval, Gen Kayihura told journalists at Parliament that he had answered all the questions put to him by the 30 member committee led by the speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.
Gen Kayihura denied being partisan, as has always been alleged by the opposition and said those who tried to block his re-appointment are the ‘criminals’ he has been fighting. He pledged to closely work with all Ugandans including the opposition.
“Those who said Parliament should not approve me are the criminals and terrorists I have been fighting. However, I will continue working with all people. I will also concentrate on improving on the housing and accommodation for the officers in the force,” said Gen Kayihura.
He admitted there have been some hitches in “our operations but I intend to fix them.”
BIRARO REACTS ABOUT CRIME PREVENTERS
Ugandans risk encountering a tragedy in the forthcoming elections if at all the training of militia groups is not curtailed, Maj Gen Benon Biraaro has warned.
Gen Biraaro, a presidential candidate of Farmers Party of Uganda, made the remarks in Kampala yesterday, while launching his campaign manifesto, which he said, would elevate him to power because it addresses the major challenges crippling Ugandans.
The retired General was referring to the continuous training of crime preventers, which he claimed is a political vehicle, made to help President Museveni rig elections in 2016.
He said these militia groups are unnecessary, arguing that they instead put people’s lives at stake since they allegedly do not respect the rule of law.
“These so called crime preventers are siding with Museveni because they will be used as his agents to rig elections. NRM is now like an expired drug and that’s why the rule of democracy has been defiled. This time round, we need leaders but not rulers because we need someone who will espouse the interests of the ordinary people,” Gen Biraaro said.
Why Museveni needs 'crime preventers'
Officially, the thousands of so-called crime preventers being passed out by President Museveni and police chief Kale Kayihura across the country are an effort by the police to fight crime.
However, the timing, the people behind it and the sheer numbers being recruited has raised concerns that this could be a well-orchestrated political scheme to help the incumbent win next year’s elections.
Writing in his weekly column in The Independent magazine recently, Andrew Mwenda, its owner, described crime preventers as Kayihura’s brilliant idea to use police resources to mobilize for President Museveni and destabilize the opposition. Reagan Okumu, an FDC Member of Parliament for Aswa county, recently told parliament that crime preventers were campaigning for NRM and intimidating supporters of other parties.
Indeed, many crime preventers we have interviewed claim they are NRM supporters and fondly referred to President Museveni as ‘Mzee’, a reference commonly used by NRM cadres.
Suspend ‘Crime Preventers’ – CSO tell Government
Human rights groups working in Uganda and other countries have asked the Ugandan government to urgently suspend the new militia force commonly known as Crime Preventers calling it a massive unregulated force that threatens to undermine the security and integrity of next month’s elections.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Network Uganda (HURINET-U), Chapter Four Uganda, and Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) issued a statement in which they condemned the Police for supporting the creation of the Crime Preventers Programme outside the laws of the country.
“Crime preventers are a volunteer force of civilians recruited and managed by police to report on and prevent crime in cooperation with the police and communities.
“In practice, crime preventers are strongly affiliated with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. Its members have acted in partisan ways and carried out brutal assaults and extortion with no accountability,” the organizations said.
The CSOs argue that suspending crime preventers is critical for preventing violence during the electoral period and showing the country’s commitment to non-partisan policing and respect for human rights especially in view of the upcoming elections.
The ambiguous role of crime preventers has already resulted into violent clashes between them and and communities in areas such as Adjumani, The Sunrise has learnt.
The human rights defenders argue that the force is not backed by concrete legal information nor is its command structure and exact numbers clear.