Kampala. In June last year, President Museveni announced a 10-point strategy which he ordered security agencies to execute in order to tame the rising wave of violent crime that hit the country, particularly the capital Kampala and the metropolitan area.
At that time, several prominent Ugandans had been assassinated by shooting and other citizens kidnapped and murdered in cold blood.
The security measures included installation of CCTV cameras in urban areas and highways, deploying army and Local Defence Unit personel (LDUs), purging the police of “bean weevils” (wrong elements), electronic number-plating for vehicles/ motorcycles, finger-printing all guns, boda boda wearing hoods, prioritising public intelligence, use of police radio calls, drones and regulating social media.
These measures, the President said would stop or eliminate the murders, kidnaps, robberies and other violent crimes.
However, violent crime has continued to-date, especially in Kampala metropolitan area where many boda boda riders and mobile money agents have been killed.
Since the year began, the media have reported at last six people killed by shooting or using other deadly weapons in Kampala metropolitan alone.
On June 11, gunmen killed Harriet Naluwadde and Moreen Nakabubi, mobile money agents in Zzana area on Entebbe highway and the assailants escaped on motorcycles.
On May 16, Rafael Walugembe, a university student, was killed by a stray bullet during an attack by armed robbers on city businessman Denis Mwesigwa in Nateete. Mwesigwa was injured and robbed of cash.
On July 9, Rebecca Namuganya, 22, a mobile money agent in Kapeeke Village, Nama Sub-county in Mukono District was killed. The killers slit her throat from her rented house.
In May, three workers of Cheap General Hardware in Nansana Town on Hoima Road were killed during broad day light by masked gunmen who later grabbed more than Shs300m cash. The robbery lasted about 30 minutes without security response.
On June 30, 2019, Derrick Mulindwa, a boda boda rider was killed with a hammer by two robbers he was carrying as passengers at Kakyeka in Mengo, Rubaga. Police have since arrested one suspect who has confessed to the killing.
These cases account for only incidents reported by the media and do not represent the actual crime registered statistics by police, implying the toll could be much higher.
This years’s police bi-annual report on armed violence, shows that 41 cases involving use of guns were recorded countrywide between January and June.
However, the report does not specify crime statistics for Kampala and the metropolitan area to tell whether the aforementioned killings reflect an increase or decline in crime compared to the same period last year.
The report shows that 45 guns were involved in the crimes countrywide this year with 26 being AK-47 while another 26 firearms were recovered by security agencies.
The report says out of every 100,000 people, 612 were victims of crime and Kampala Metropolitan area remained top in crime rates followed by West Nile, Albertine, Elgon, Busoga North, Ssezibwa, Kiira and North West Nile.
In his June address last year, Mr Museveni said the installation of CCTV cameras, deployment of LDUs and other listed security measures would constitute a magic combination to eliminate urban crime.
The Shadow minister for Internal Affairs, Mr Muwanga Kivumbi, said the violent crime is still prevalent despite the security measures because government invests less in intelligence gathering and spends a lot on reactionary means to fight crime.
“Police is supposed to detect and prevent crime and apprehend suspects. This requires enhanced spying. But how do we invest in CIID (Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Directorate) [when] only Shs200m is for CIID for every district? This is very little. Also, each district gets Shs900,000 for operations,” he said.
“If you have five sub-counties, that means each will get Shs150,000 for operations. They are literally immobile. But even the little they have is always wasted in defending the regime,” he said.
However, the director of Internal Security Organisation (ISO) , Col Kaka Bagyenda, insisted the killings will be eliminated. “This will soon end,” he said