The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen Kale Kayihura, has told critics of the increasing recruitment of crime preventers to go hang.
Gen Kale Kayihura said police will continue to recruit crime preventers regardless of consistent criticism from people he described as political opportunists.
“I am tired of people vulgarising the concept of crime preventers. It is not the first of its kind in the world and they are not militia groups. We shall not stop recruiting crime preventers. You can hang, if you are ignorant over their importance,” said Gen Kayihura at a two-day police sports gala at Sebei College, Tegeres in Kapchorwa District at the weekend.
The gala was organised to celebrate the medals and trophies that were won by the police sports teams at World Taekwondo champions in Bulgaria and East African championships in August and November last year.
At the same event, Gen Kayihura said he passed out 70,000 crime preventers from Kween, Kapchorwa and Elgon region, and this according to the police, will bring the total number of crime preventers to 11 million countrywide, who have been passed out in the last five years.
“Cases of defilement and domestic violence have gone down because of crime preventers. We don’t grab people to join but they do so out of will. It is absurd that someone opposes people’s will,” he said.
Human rights groups, including Hurinet, African Centre for Rehabilitation and Treatment of Torture Victims and Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) recently punched holes in the criteria and curriculum followed while recruiting and training crime preventers and called for the suspension of the exercise.
The Opposition has also criticised crime preventers, saying there are fears they would be used to perpetuate electoral violence.
Recently, Parliament passed Shs37 billion budget to facilitate crime preventers.
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, who was the chief guest, warned the Sebei people against consuming rumours that next month’s general elections will be rigged and violent.
He assured them that government has all it takes to organise free and fair elections just like it has always done.
“It is not a matter of convincing you because you are very much aware that NRM has been credited for organising free and fair elections. It won’t be different even in the next month’s elections,” said Dr Rugunda.
Gen David Ssejusa, the former coordinator of intelligence agencies, revealed in 2103 that FDC candidate Dr Kizza Besigye won the February 23, 2006 vote with a 69 per cent margin. The President, he said, had managed less than 30 per cent of the the vote.
Dr Rugunda also applauded the IGP for steering the police in aspects such sports and technical knowhow.
The duo launched a rally car donated to the police’s female rally star Christine Okello by Samona and MLALEAO investments.
However, the audience was left wondering about the intention of former athletics champion Dorcus Inzikuru when, accompanied by her boyfriend, knelt before the IGP till he finished his speech.
In addition, some crime preventers collapsed because of hunger and some were quick to bring the matter to the attention of Gen Kayihura who also grilled the organisers for keeping them hungry.