Residents Reject Crime Preventers In Community Policing Programme

1679 Views Bundibugyo, Uganda

In short
Geoffrey Mucunguzi, the Bundibugyo Resident District Commissioner, says his office has not received any complaints against crime preventers. Mucunguzi wants the residents to collaborate with the crime preventers and the police to avert conflicts in the area.

Bundibugyo residents have rejected the inclusion of crime preventers in the community policing programme.  As a result of the conflicts that often engulf Bundibugyo district, police teamed up with crime preventers to combat further conflicts in the district through community policing.

 

The program is being implemented especially in areas that were mainly affected by last year's conflicts, which left more than 40 people dead and hundreds displaced.  However, more than 700 residents in Ndugutu, Bubugwanga and Ntoroto Sub Counties are not happy with a move to use the crime preventers in community policing and have petitioned the Resident District Commissioner.  



 
Dan Baluku, a resident of Ndugutu Sub County says that the community policing drive is good for the community, but the use of crime preventers is suspicious. Baluku explains that some of the crime preventers have been implicated in criminal activities or connive with thieves to fuel insecurity.

 
//Cue in: "they connive…
Cue out: "…it is illegal."//
 
He says unless police listens to their concerns, they will shun the program. Teopista Bbira, a resident of Kirindi village in Bubugwanga Sub County, says that she knows crime preventers who have extorted money from residents, connived with land grabbers and are involved in community policing. 




She says although police is aware of their actions nothing has been done. Bbira wants the crime preventers screened before they are involved in community policing.



Geoffrey Mucunguzi, the Bundibugyo Resident District Commissioner, says his office has not received any complaints against crime preventers. Mucunguzi wants the residents to collaborate with the crime preventers and the police to avert conflicts in the area. 


According to police records, there are 11 Million crime preventers across the country. The crime preventers have in the past come under criticism for their methods of work.  There is also scanty information available about the exact mandate, command structure, and their status in the law.
 
 
Last year, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Network Uganda (HURINET-U) and Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), urged government to suspend the crime preventers ahead of the general elections. 

They argued that suspending crime preventers was critical for preventing violence during the electoral period and showing the country's commitment to nonpartisan policing and respect for human rights.
 

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.