Crime preventers duped to attend Museveni rally

Some youth from northern Uganda, including crime preventers, join a demonstration against former prime minister Amama Mbabazi in July. PHOTO BY JULIUS OCUNGI

Gulu- Crime preventers from Gulu District, who recently completed training, were on Tuesday hoodwinked to go for a pass out function in Lira District but ended up in Kampala for President Museveni’s nomination rally, Daily Monitor has learnt.

More than 80 crime preventers were ferried from Gulu Central Police Station on Monday evening with assurance that they were going for pass out.

They are said to have been transported with their colleagues from Amuru and Nwoya districts.

Mr Boniface Opolot, a crime preventer, told Daily Monitor that the Gulu District police commander, Mr Martin Okoyo, assembled and used them as supporters of Mr Museveni against their will.
“Since we had not yet been passed out, everyone was eager. By 6pm, we had assembled. Two buses belonging to Gulu Senior Secondary School and Gulu University Faculty of Agriculture were hired for our transportation,” Mr Opolo said.

He said along the way, plans were changed that the crime preventers should first be taken to Kololo Independence Grounds to observe Mr Museveni’s presidential nomination.

“When we reached on Tuesday, we were handed yellow T-Shirts and caps as supporters of President Museveni,” Mr Opolot said.
When contacted on the matter, Mr Okoyo said crime preventers with a genuine complaint should report to police.

“If any of the crime preventer has reported to you (the reporter) a complaint, come along with him to the police, that is all I can say,” Mr Okoyo said.

Ms Santa Oketta, the presidential adviser in-charge of Acholi sub-region, said it is wrong to use crime preventers as supporters of Mr Museveni, adding that she will investigate the claims.

Mr Micheal Apire, the head teacher of Gulu Senior Secondary School, acknowledged that the DPC contacted him to hire the bus but was not told its purpose.

In July, crime preventers in the district were hoodwinked into joining protests against presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi.