By PATRICK JARAMOGI
LUBAGA, UGANDA [SHIFTMEDIANEWS] A rather sad revelation from inside sources indicate that the high crime rate in Kampala Metropolitan is being fueled by some ‘unscrupulous’ police officers.
A top Police Detective alarmed residents in Kitaka zone in Natete on Saturday when he openly said crime is fueled by the police. The Crime Intelligence Officer (Names withheld) who has served in the force for over 30 years said Police is to blame for the increased crimes in Kampala, and its suburbs.
According to the recent crime report released by Uganda Police, some spots in Kampala are so dangerous to live in due to the high crime rate.
Places such as Old Kampala, Katwe, Kasangati, Lusaze, Lubya, Masanafu, Kabalagala, and Kawempe were listed among the hot spots for crime.
The crime cases range from gun violence, thefts, robberies, burglary, defilement, rape, assault and murder.
Despite Kampala Metropolitan having 3,321 installed CCTV cameras, apprehension of criminals, like the one who gunned down social media fanatic Olaxis aka jjaja Iculi remains futile.
What are the Underlying Issues?
While addressing Ghetto Youths in Kitaka Zone in Natete, the Detective said: “The issue we have an upsurge of crime rate in Kampala is the police, our selves. Criminal gangs are arrested, but the police asks for payments, and they are released to terrorize communities.” “When we make operations, some rogues are apprehended, but surely after being in cells for days, these poor ghetto youths are demanded money by some of our officers to be released on police bond. where do you expect a jobless ghetto youth to get that money? sometimes they are ordered to return and pay or be arrested again. Such a person will resort to stealing, grabbing ladies’ bags and phones to try to get the money to give to the police officers.” said the Cop.
Rubaga Ghetto Youth Coordinator Nakalema Jackie (C) addresses the Ghetto youth at Kitaka zone in Natete The experienced Detective had no kind words for officers who release suspects arrested for stealing from accident scenes. “Recently we arrested some gangs that have been terrorizing motorists in northern bypass and stealing from accident victims and scenes. but even before we knew, they had bribed their way out. How can we continue working like this,” he said.
Gen Ddamulira Engages Ghetto Youths
Through the efforts of Director Crime Intelligence Brig. Gen Christopher Ddamulira, scores of youths in Kampala Metropolitan are being engaged to leave criminal activities and start engaging in more development activities with support from government. For over a year now Gen Ddamulira on instructions of President Museveni has been working closely with Major Kutesa who is attached to State House to revive the lives of these Ghetto youths and slum dwellers.
The Ghetto Coordinator for Lubaga Division, Councilor Jackie Nakalema and her deputy Nasser Nyaika have been in the trenches of entire Rubaga combing for Ghetto youths. “The exercise hasn’t been easy, but somehow we are getting there. we have sensitized these youths to dislodge from politics and instead engage in meaningful activities,” said Nakalema.
Nakalema and her team of Crime Intelligence officers on Saturday held several meetings in Natete, Busega, Kibumbiro, Kigwanya, Kitaka, and Peninsular where they addressed hundreds of Ghetto Youths on government support for them.
In Kitaka Zone in Natete, the organized Ghetto Youth told the team they are ready to start a washing bay project. The women on their part wanted capital to start saloon business, restaurants and knitting.
Nakalema said government had earmarked some money to be given to the Ghetto Youths who are organized to stary income generating activities. “Government has through our Gen. Ddamulira given us money to distribute to organized Ghetto youths to start income generating ventures. We shall only release the monies to well established and organised Ghettos,” she told the youths in Busega.
While addressing the Jam Rock Development Group in Natete, Nasser the deputy Ghetto Coordinator and Chairman for Gender in Rubaga Division hailed the Ghetto team here for being organized. “I am happy that you now have a studio with some equipments donated by musician Khalifa Aganaga, also one of you. Much as we appreciate these efforts, a studio is good, but the returns take long. We want you also think of activities than can generate for you income daily to survive, said Nasser.
The General secretary Jam Rock Ghetto, Sharif Ssejjemba said as a team they would opt for a washing bay and a chapati business. This was agreed by the majority, and money was agreed to be released to help the youth secure a jet car washing machine.
Nakalema said such engagements brings the government closer to the youth in order to understand their challenges and implement necessary policies to address them.
The ghetto youth, many who are unemployed and struggling to eke a living formed Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi’s aka Bobi Wines’ core fanbase in urban areas during the 2021 presidential elections.
Majority of these youth live in squalid conditions in ghetto areas which serve as breeding grounds for criminals.
Gen Ddamulira in an earlier meeting with the Ghetto youth in Kampala said he and Major Kutesa had been appointed by President Museveni to ensure that they transform the lives of all the Ghetto youths in the county.
Nakalema told the Ghetto youths to elect their leaders, have National IDs and register if they are to benefit from this government program.
Crime Statistics At A Glance
The Volume of crime has been on a downward trend since 2017 from 252,065 crimes to 195,931 in 2020 when the country experienced the Covid-19 lockdown. Thereafter, there has been a seeming rise in the crime trends from 196,081 in 2021, to 231,653 in 2022, when the lockdown was eased.
The Minister of State for Internal Affairs Gen Muhoozi attributes the crime rate to lifting of the COVID-19 ban.
Muhooiz says 90,182 Criminal suspects were apprehended and successfully prosecuted due to improvements at CID in case management. “The major crimes registered include terrorism, robberies, cybercrime, narcotics, trafficking and human trafficking as well as theft of especially livestock,” he said.
According to the 2022 major crimes report, terrorism crimes were 15, Homicide Cases 4,043, Robberies 6,854, Narcotics 2,797, Cybercrime 286, and Human Trafficking 1,200. However, Gen Muhoozi explained that a high incidence in the capital category of robberies, homicides and Narcotics respectively is because of the adverse economic situation globally post Covid-19 as well as the increased rural-urban migration and its pressures.
He also revealed that in Uganda the police-to-population ratio which is 1:800 against a target of 1:500 is also another challenge that must be addressed with immediate effect.
“Currently according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), Uganda’s population is estimated to be 45,653,000. Given the recommended United Nations policing ratio of 1:500, Uganda should have a Police Force with a strength of 91,306. The current strength of the Uganda Police Force is 50,826 leaving a gap of 40,480,” he said.
“CCTV cameras some are not functionals for various reasons including discoordination by other service providers. You find sometimes road works interrupt the CCTV structures. We need a cross-government approach in the layout of this infrastructure so as to serve well their purposes,” he said.
Muhoozi however asserted that despite the limited budget, the ministry has put up several strategies to ensure that crime rates in Uganda decrease.