Revive the Local Council system
Posted Saturday, September 28 2013 at 01:00
East Africa is reeling from the attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya. As right thinking people, we ought to devise means of guarding against a recurrence of this cowardly act. In Kampala, we ought to tighten our security. Malls are not the only targets for terrorists but churches, schools, mosques and villages too are targets whose security needs to be stepped up.
Terrorists set up their cells in suburbs and in secluded homes in our communities. They are able to do this simply because LCs are no longer vigilant enough to ask for letters of introduction from new residents. In order to counter terrorism, local councils, hotels and all other places of residence should monitor their guests/ tenants.
I am sure in Kenya these terrorists camped in a suburb for a period of not less than a month preparing and doing routine reconnaissance at the mall. Let us not give these heartless fellows room to execute their plans. Let’s all be watchdogs in our communities, any homestead with unfamiliar occupants should be reported to the authorities.
In St Paul’s Church of Uganda, Kanyanya, we instituted a policy out of sheer love to know each other. We ask any visitor to tell us where they come from, which person they have come to visit, etc. In doing this, we get to know the person and offer a courteous visit to him. If anyone has sinister motives, a visit of this nature at his home with a simple request to visit a place of convenience, will be enough for one to notice his uneasiness and covert activities. Such a scenario is enough for one to pick up suspicion necessitating a report to the authorities. I am sure if mosques and churches do this, terrorists will have nowhere to hide.
The only way to reduce the rate of terrorist penetration is to revitalise and legalise the now nonfunctional local council systems. The government in general and the Ministry of internal affairs in particular ought to carry out the aborted 2006 local council elections so that these vital institutions of governance are given the requisite instruments of power to oversee security in their areas of jurisdiction.
The legal and operational local council system will now go back to their roles of registering residents, enforcing the rule that requires any resident hosting a visitor or an alien to introduce him to the local council chairman. Local councils should be rejuvenated, remunerated and facilitated in all possible ways so that they can look out for marijuana growers, drug abusers, serial rapists etc and hand them to the police.
In the same breath, the government should seriously and expeditiously continue with the issuance of national identity cards so that every Ugandan can be easily identified. This will ease the police work of apprehending foreigners who enter Uganda with intentions of committing felonies.
Chris M. Kato,
CMK Events Solutions