Uganda Police Force has learnt with profound disappointment that a Facebook group called Team JPAM 2016 has referred to ‘Crime Preventers’ as a militia force, as if that was not enough, they have also drawn comparisons of it with the infamous Rwandan genocidaire group called the Interahamwe who were responsible for some of the most heinous crimes against humanity in the history of mankind.
Amid this outrageous ill-motivated accusations, we thought it was important that Ugandans understand that the concept of community policing has always been there and contemplated for implementation, as way back as 1990. It is a metamorphose of the ‘Nyumba Kumi’. Those who are old enough will remember that Nyumba Kumi works on the premise that each community must be able to be self-reliant on security matters. In fact though Nyumba Kumi means ‘ten houses’ in Swahili, the concept is not rigid in its implementation. Again those of pertinent age will remember that visitors and or any new person in a given community was required to register and deposit their IDs with the chairman or the police.
The current IGP Gen. Kayihura has refined that Nyumba Kumi concept to what we are seeing as Community Policing, the difference is that as society develops so does crime, while in the late 80’s and 90’s we had magendo, waragi trade, and occasional highway robbers, today we have various forms of serious crime that may require physical confrontation with the perpetrators. We have terrorists, we have child sacrifices, aggravated burglaries, assassinations, illicit drugs trade, rapes etc. So if crime preventers are going to support the police in defending
their communities, then surely they must be able to have basic self-defense skills and also to understand their place in police command hierarchy.
Therefore those who seek to provoke us as an institution for the purposes of cheap politicking will not deter us from meeting our constitutional obligations of ‘Detecting and Preventing Crime’. In respect of our brothers and Sisters in Rwanda we shall not delve into the Interahamwe machinations. But those who know what they did to humanity should out-rightly reject ‘poisonous politicking’.