Members of parliament have called for the review of crime preventers, who were trained during the era of former Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura.
Led by Budaka County MP Kezekiah Mbogo, the legislators called for an assessment of the role and mandate of Crime Preventers, a group of civilian vigilantes recruited to work alongside the Police Force.
These were volunteers selected from the communities to promote and implement community policing through a model of neighborhood watch, commonly known as mayumba Kumi. It was a project spearheaded by Gen. Kayihura.
The individuals were selected on the recommendation of Local Council leaders and trained by police to act as a link between the community and police in detecting and preventing crime.
However, over the years, crime preventers have been singled out among those perpetrating crime and violence across the country, especially here in Kampala. Some of them have also been arrested in theft and murder cases.
Now, a number of Ugandans believe that the vigilantes, are strongly affiliated to the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM party and carry out assaults on rivals in the opposition without any reprimand.
Hon. Mbogo says that although the crime preventer's concept was unique, the choice of personnel and manner in which they were recruited left a lot to be desired. Mbogo argues that government needs to develop clear guidelines stipulating the mandate, command structure and actual numbers of crime preventers in order to streamline the operations of the group.
Hon. Mbogo’s submission was seconded by Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya who says that the group of vigilantes needs to be disbanded as a way of taming crime in the communities. He further sargues that the start of the crime preventers program was marred with irregularities, which turned the rather good concept into an anti-people gang.
Over 200,000 crime preventers have been recruited across the Country.