Despite the regular attention given to severe shortage of accommodation for Uganda's police, the situation is not improving.
The police officers said that with increased police employment and growing families, the inadequate housing provided to them is more insufficient than before.
Police officers who spoke to Uganda Radio Network say two to three families are forced to share tiny unipots and rooms.
The police officers, who all spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing victimization for sharing their views on the matter, said they can neither be intimate with their spouses nor share any private family issues because often there is just a curtain separating them from the other families.
Two such officers, attacked to Kyengera Police Post on the Masaka-Kampala road, said the lack of privacy is a constant embarrassment for them.
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In 1995, a police officer attached to Naguru Mobile Police Patrol Unit shot and killed the members of his colleague's family when he found them eating a good Christmas meal. His own family, which lived in the same quarters, did not have money to buy a Christmas meal. The police officer later shot himself.
The housing situation is slightly better at Kibuye Police Station where some senior officers have rooms to themselves. However those slightly further down the rung have been forced to live in indoor toilets and bathrooms that have been redesigned to house the police officers.
At Old Kampala Police Station, rooms in the police barracks built two constables now house six families. Small cubicles have been created with plywood to separate the families from each other.
Several police officers were recently transferred from Old Kampala to Wakiso Police Station. Although there is no accommodation in Wakiso, the officers at Old Kampala are being forced to move out of the barracks to create space for the newly-arrived police.
Some police officers are taking the problem of accommodation into their own hands. A policeman at Namungoona Police Post said that although he hates to be separated with his family, he was forced to send them back to his home town, in order to save them from the inhumane circumstances under which they were living.
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Other police officers said they are forced to use part of their meager salaries on renting houses for their families outside the police posts.
A solution to the police accommodation problem does not appear to be at hand.
Speaking during the commissioning of a new police barracks in Ntungamo district in May, the Inspector General of Police, Major General Kale Kayihura said the police needs about 1.4 billion shillings to construct modern barracks and offices in every district in Uganda. He said there are only 8,000 housing units for the 19,000 police officers in Uganda.
The Inspector General of Police told Museveni that the situation is alarming because the budgetary allocation to the police has declined steadily since the 1990s.
President Yoweri Museveni, who personally commissioned the barracks, blamed the problem on corruption in the Police Force. He said that although it is important to secure finances for police accommodation, the Force must pay attention to the problems within its ranks that are causing a shortfall in funds.
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