President Yoweri Museveni has revealed plans to deploy a total of 24,000 Local Defence Units (LDUs) in the areas of Wakiso and Kampala as part of the mechanisms to curb incidents of urban crime.
Museveni said that the intervention is only interim as government works to address other technical aspects such as installation of CCTV cameras.
His revelation comes a day after the assassination of outspoken Police officer, ASP Muhammad Kirumira who was gunned down in Bulenga near Kampala on Saturday evening. This occurred just three months after a similar assassination of former Arua municipality MP, Ibrahim Abiriga near Kampala.
Other prominent personalities including former Senior Police officer AIGP, Andrew Kaweesi, former Senior State Prosecutor, Joan Kagezi and Major Kigundu have also in the recent past been shot dead by assailants near Kampala city.
In a state address on Sunday, Museveni partly blamed the rise in such assassinations using guns on the insufficient manpower on the part of security agencies.
“In the interim as we build urban infrastructure, we are calling up 24,000 LDUs for Kampala and Wakiso area. We are calling up the reserves and they will man the little trading centres,” Museveni said on Sunday night while speaking from State House Entebbe.
“This will happen until we have installed cameras,” he added.
He said that government has always prioritized spending on development but added that “since people think they are clever, we are going to handle them the NRA way”.
“We are recruiting these temporarily because we believe technical solutions tend to be cheaper than the human capacity”.
According to the President, the LDUs will be comprised of crime preventers and will have to undergo vetting by the Local Council (LCs) systems in order to sieve out criminals.
This undertaking will cost government up to Shs 57 billion, the President said. He said that in as much as it is costly, what matters is if it restores security.
“There are 1,000 villages in Kampala. We shall flood all of them with our own guns. We shall see which guns have more effect”.
In his assessment of the push factors of crime especially in highly populated areas, Museveni said that the assasins are exploiting gaps like under mobilization and under equipment on the part of security agencies.
President Museveni was among the people to visit the crime scene on Saturday shortly after Kirumira had been murdered. Upon his interaction with the Officer in Charge of the Police station in Bulenga, he learnt that the Police officers at the station did not hear the gun shots despite being 1.5kms away from the crime scene.
It is reported that some of the boda boda cyclists operating in Bulenga who saw he killers speed off chased them only to retreat after they (assailants) shot in the air. Museveni believes that had there been armed officers, they would have taken the criminals out of action.
It is for this reason that he said there is need for additional manpower.
Whereas the globally recommended ratio of Police to the civilian population stands at 500 Police officers for every one civilian, in Uganda this ratio remains low. Instead of the 80,000 officers required for the 40 million population, there are only 43,000 officers.
Asked to comment on which agency of security will supervise these LDUs, the President said this will depend on the location of deployment.
“If they are in border areas, they are under the army, but in Kampala, they will be working with the Police,” he said.
In addition to the deployment of LDUs, Museveni noted the ongoing installment of CCTV cameras and plans to deploy AUVs (drones) and planting electronic gadgets to ease the tracking of boda bodas.
Museveni says that Police has been weak in the area of intelligence which if effective would have nipped these killings in the bud before they occurred.