Monday, August 4, 2014

Uganda: " Are we trigger happy ? Russian roulette in the waiting room "

New Vision reports

Police to recruit over 5,000

The Uganda Police Force is to recruit 5,000 officers in a one-week exercise  starting September 1

The Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, said the recruitment drive is to bolster the Force to ensure effective policing of the 2016 general elections. 

It is hard to comment on this without knowing the size of the Ugandan Police Force ( UPF ) but the New Zealand police force has about 8000 officers for a population of a bit over four million extrapolating that figure out the Ugandan police force for a population of about 35 million would be about 70,000 officers, I suspect it is far higher. By New Zealand standards this is a huge increase in man power. If as Commander Kaweesi says this is to police a general election then the legitimacy of the Museveni regime has some serious question marks.

“The last elections were marred with incidents of violence. And recently we have got information that the opposition with some civil society organizations are plotting to block the general elections through violence. The recruitment will enable us counter all those threats,” Kaweesi explained. 

Violence is something the UPF seems to specialise in, from the Guardian. 

" The worst part of John's life is the punishment meted out to him and his friends by the very people whose duty it is to protect them. They are accused of being criminals and chokora (scavengers), and beaten. "They cane us, the police. Big boys cane us. They use sticks and they [punch] us," says John, who is about 15. This usually happens at weekends, he says. "

The Kampala Police chief made the revelation at the passing out of a total of 1,000 crime preventers from areas of Mukono, Kira Division, Nagalama, Jinja Road Police Station and Kira Road Police Station who had gathered at Kira Road Police Station play grounds on Sunday. 

The police in Uganda get playgrounds ? Again from the Guardian

" We eat leftovers. I don't sleep very well – it's not very comfortable. We live badly," he says, before huddling together with about 30 children on a shop verandah, opposite a nightclub. "

Batshit crazy ? Cops get playgrounds and kids get... well apart from beatings from the police it would seem nothing.

Kaweesi also noted that there is a group of people led by Kampala Retired Bishop Zac Niringiye planning to disrupt peace in the city in a demonstration dubbed ‘Walk To Freedom’. 

" Walk To Freedom " Is it possible that Zac Niringiye is making a point ? Is it conceivable that Commander Kaweesi and the UPF has totally missed the point ? Yup.

“A move to block the general elections is fighting the constitution, something our job does not allow, so we have to be prepared. 

Really ? Ignoring the constitution doesn't seem to bother your elected representatives.

" A couple of points, one has to wounder why there was no quorum given this was an issue that is supported by all peoples on the African continent. Clearly Ugandan Parliamentarians can read even if their Speaker can't count. The other point that should be made is why President Museveni signed this bill into law if the President of Uganda has such a disregard for the constitution Uganda has some very dark days ahead."

We allowed the opposition leaders and civil society organizations to go round the country over the electoral reforms; they are now planning to misuse that liberty to cause unrest. We are ready to suppress them, the way we did in their first attempts,” he said. 

The UPF allowed people to exercise their democratic rights but an election is happening next year so those rights are now proscribed. 

He said the recruitment will also help reduce rampant incidents of crime in the country and improve police to population ratio. 

A ratio I would like to know but can't find.

“We hope that the recruitment will help plug the attrition in the police force which stands at over 1000 annually as a result of death, retirement, desertion and dismissal of personnel,” he said. 

Hang on. " 1,000 crime preventers " just passed out according to this article and 1000 leave per year, it would seem Uganda is increasing its police numbers by far more than the attrition rate. Why ?

Kaweesi said the applicants must be Ugandan citizens with the minimum qualification of Senior Six or its equivalent. 

Additionally, they must not have a criminal record and be ready to work long hours. 

Guess I am not going to qualify as a Ugandan police officer.

“Application in triplicate filled in own handwriting and accompanied by photocopies of academic transcripts and certificates, curriculum vitae, three recent passport size photographs and recommendation letters from LC1, LC2, LC3 and RDC should be brought in person at the recruitment centers,” he said.

I am screwed my handwriting might get me past the first hurdle but I have never met any of the LC's and I have no friends at the RDC. 

He called upon the interested candidates to obtain application forms from secretaries to district service commissions or the public service commission adding that they should also fill in the Uganda Police recruitment bio-data forms from the offices of the district commanders. 

The regional centers are the Police Training School Kibuli, regional Police headquarters at Jinja, Wakiso, Masaka, Mpigi, Moroto, Gulu, Arua, Hoima, Fort Portal, Masaka, Mbarara, Mbale and Soroti.

Police states scare the shit out of me.

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