A security meeting on Friday which had been convened to find solutions to escalating cases of crime in Kayabwe Town Council, Mpigi District turned into a fist fight between local leaders and residents.
Katonga Regional Police Commander Bernard Akankwasa and the district police commander, Mr Joab Wabwire, who presided over the meeting, were forced to intervene and stop the fight as leaders attempted to block some residents from expressing their views.
The fight was sparked off by Mr Isaiah Kimbugwe, the Kayabwe Parish chairperson, when he physically attacked Joseph Yiga, a businessman, accusing him of discussing the creation of new villages which was not part of agenda.
“That was not part of the agenda,” Mr Kimbugwe roared as he jumped to grab a microphone from the latter.
Kayabwe Town was recently included among the new town councils and a section of residents together with some leaders headed by Nkozi Sub-county chairperson Paul Lubega suggested that new villages and other lower units be created from the original five villages.
However, a section of other village chairpersons in the parish including Mr Kimbugwe objected the proposal.
The Mpigi District Police Commander, Mr Joab Wabwire, quickly intervened and stopped the fight when he managed to whisk away Kimbugwe, offering him a seat next to the high table.
Mr Yiga, who was backed by a number of people, claimed that since Kayabwe developed from a mere parish to a town board, and now a town council with the population growing from only 2,000 in 1983 to now more than 15,000, it was obvious to have smaller administrative units for leaders to easily control and monitor the area.
The Jandira Village chairperson, Mr Emmanuel Nsubuga, challenged Mr Yiga and his group, saying the cause of insecurity in Kayabwe Town Council was not the size of the villages.
“When a man and a woman develop a misunderstanding in their home, it does not call for the intervention of another man,” Mr Nsubuga said.
The meeting was meant to curb the increasing crime such as theft of motorcycles and house break-ins, among other things.
“The police have not done their best to reduce crime but instead are giving a chance to the criminals to terrorise us,” Mr Huzairu Kalule, a boda boda cyclist, said.
He said in the past one year, six cyclists have been killed, 10 seriously injured and 50 motorcycles stolen.
But Mr Akankwasa urged residents to reject new settlers who come to their villages without introduction letters from where they are coming.
“I also implore all of you to adopt the neighbourhood watch strategy in the fight against crime because the police does not have enough man power to patrol each and every household at ago,” Mr Akankwasa said.
He requested residents to hand over a list of suspected criminals they know, but adding that they should have enough evidence to pin them.
Despite approving creation of new 364 sub-counties and 352 town councils across the country this financial year, government says the administrative units will not be operationalised due to lack of funds.
According to Finance minister Matia Kasaija, government has taken a decision that in future, creation of any new administrative units will be based on availability of resources to finance the institutions.
Mpigi is one of the traditional 16 districts of Uganda and currently has six rural sub-counties and one town council; Mpigi Town Council. It consists of 56 parishes and 339 villages.