Presidency Minister Milly Babirye Babalanda, on Friday, September, 3rd concluded her two day visit to Greater Masaka where a range of issues partaining service delivery and security were discussed during a capacity building workshop for Resident District/ City Commissioners( RDCs/RCCs), and other security Committees.
In attendance was the Secretary, Office of the President, Senior Presidential Advisor Greater Masaka, the Head of RDC Secretariat / Anti-Corruption Unit, Coordinator, RDC/RCC Buganda Region, NRM District Chairpersons; RDCs, RCCs, District Police Commanders; District Internal Security Officers; District Crime Intelligence Officers, technical Staff from Office of the President, etc.
On the issue of the security threat in the area, Babalanda pointed fingers at “evil-hearted individuals” who she said are sponsored by “enemies of peace and order.” She thus warned the youths against falling prey of evil plots by bad political actors serving interest of the country’s foreign enemies.
The use of gruesome murders using machetes, Babalanda said is occassioned by the smart fight against violent gun killings which has considerably reduced due to the use of improved technics by the security where murderers can be easily identified on the basis of fingerprints and gun. This, she said may be the reason why the criminals have resorted to stabbing knives and pangas.
She however warned that the NRM government under the leadership of General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will not be defeated using this rudimentary strategy.
“I need to remind all of us that in the Uganda of today you cannot gain power by stabbing to death innocent civilians. One has to follow all the democratic steps including convincing the masses of your good ideas and selling your manifesto,” Babalanda noted.
“Its unfortunate that some individuals are desperate to apply very destructive means to undermine a democratically elected government. Ugandans have voted and maintained General Museveni in power for a long time. Our detractors should ask Ugandans why they have done this rather than kill the defenseless old men and women in cold blood.”
She further warned that the current situation in Greater Masaka may spill to the rest of the country since the perpetrators seem to be targeting to widen their attrocities beyond.
She therefore, challenged all leaders to stand to these threats and vigorously mobilize the people to defend themselves.
“You may think that the evil plan is only targeting the President; yet those being killed are your very sisters and brothers,” the minister noted.
OBJECTIVES OF THE CRIMINALS
The Minister took the group through what she believes could be the motive behind the killings. These include;
Disorganizing government from focusing on developing the nation such as implementing the NRM Manifesto.
Cause panic in the public and create a sense of helplessness and insecurity which will lead the masses to gang up against the government.
Scare off the tourists and investors so that the economy gets paralyzed and government fails to fulfill its mandate.
Divert the Government of Uganda and that of the DRC from the planned pursuit and defeat of the ADF thugs in their hideouts in the DRC.
She also identified notable shortcomings in the communities and amongst leaders that may give the thugs an upper hand to continue orchestrating the violence on the innocent public. These are mentioned below:
Intelligence gaps in our security circles especially at the grassroots.
The ‘I don’t care attitude of our leaders.
Lazy security personnel who choose to sleep on the job.
Local Councils are not vigilant or mobilized enough to address the security issues.
Bad politics are influenced and financed by external forces.
Unemployment among the young people whose redundancy could be taken advantage of to recruit them into criminal activities.
High poverty levels were largely increased by the COVID lockdowns. However, this may not be the case in Greater Masaka where the actors are not motivated by money, land, or assets and which leaves us with any questions.
Poor working relationship among members of the District Security Committees has also created some gaps. In a meeting I recently had with DPCs in Katakwi; concerns were raised about the poor working relationship between DPCs and RDCs/RCCs.
Accordingly, I will hold a countrywide zoom meeting with all members of the District Security Committees on 15th September 2021. This meeting will also be addressed by Stakeholders at National Level.
MEASURES TO ADDRESS THE CHALLENGES
If the perpetrators of the killings are to be decisively defeated, Babalanda underlined several measures that should be taken to address the challenges listed above, that may impede the successful intervention by the security against the assailants. These are;
Widescale and countrywide community policing to provide the public with key tips in crime intelligence.
Widescale and countrywide mobilization and sensitization of the masses by leaders. The public should be made to reject this evil campaign and stop it from spreading to other regions.
The Local Councils should engage the Youths in their villages to gather intelligence and to make it easy for them to reach out to security operatives with intelligence.
Security should be accessible on the telephone 24/7 and for quick responses. The public should have all these contacts and when called there should be a swift response.
There should be 24/7 security surveillance by the Police. This surveillance should be extended beyond the town areas to the lowest levels possible.
The Members of Parliament and the LC5 Chairpersons should own the campaign against the enemy by being accessible and available to guide the electorate. They should facilitate easy coordination and guidance with security.
Parents should be keen to monitor the movements of their children, especially the youths.
Radio and social media users should join the campaign against the enemy through mobilizations, sensitizations, and whistleblowing.
All leaders, security organs, and private stakeholders should declare this security threat a Public Emergency and prioritize its address and publicity at all levels using all manner of means including the Media, and office and public communications, etc.
For purposes of successful implementation of the measures above, by security operatives, the minister further provided three key strategies” of controlling crime. These are;
Targeting the underlying causes of the crime, deterring the potential offenders by ensuring that the cost of offending is greater than the benefits thereof, and increasing the difficulty of offending by reducing the opportunities to commit the crimes.
At the time of the Minister’s visit to Masaka, the spate of murders in the area had progressively reduced after three days without reports of any murders as had been for the last one month. This is seemingly due to a beefed-up military intervention in the region that could have scared away the offenders.
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