Police create security ring for Kampala

Sunday May 22 2016

Police patrol Kampala city recently. PHOTO BY

Police patrol Kampala city recently. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By Andrew Bagala

Police have created new security zones around Kampala to tighten crime surveillance in the city and its surroundings which include the neighbouring districts.

The zones will form an expanded police surveillance ring which will see creation of more police stations and bases along major roads, 40km away from the city centre.

Areas that have been identified are Lugazi on Kampala-Jinja highway, Kakula on Kampala-Kayunga road, Busula on Kampala-Bombo road, Lukoma on Kampala-Hoima Road, Zigoti on Kampala-Mityana Road, Bubula on Kampala-Masaka Road and Kisubi on Entebbe Road.
The expanded security zone covers 2,000 square kilometres, policing more than 3.5 million people.

The police spokesperson, Mr Fred Enanga, said the new security theatre will bolster the old defence ring which has become ineffective and cannot handle crime challenges of the expanding urban area.

“The British established police stations in strategic areas such as Old Kampala, Jinja Road, Katwe, Kira Road and Kawempe where they were able to protect the city and its inhabitants. Now the city has expanded making those places ineffectual,” Mr Enanga told Sunday Monitor by telephone on Friday.

“Therefore, there is need for a new security perimeter for the city. That is why we are looking for land at the boundary of Kampala metropolitan area to establish ,” he added.

During the colonial era, the colonialists strategically located police stations in Kampala at the current sites to hinder African protesters from paralysing business in the city’s administrative.

Later, they become police operational command centres to-date.
In the last five years, police have had trouble containing riots in the city especially by the Opposition.

A police source said during the Buganda riots in 2009 the biggest incidents happened outside the old police defences, which are in the city centre and the officers could not cope with the surging numbers of rioters.
The rioters overran Nateete Police Station and burnt it down after overwhelmed police officers fled.

The police source said the Opposition walk-to-work protests in 2011 also posed similar challenges and police had to deploy at roundabouts outside the city to secure traffic flow.

In this year’s presidential elections, security agencies erected roadblocks on all roads leading to the capital Kampala to block anticipated mass movements of Opposition supporters from outside the city.
Meanwhile, police are planning to buy 50 acres of land on the Kampala metropolitan boundary where they will shift city police bases to.
Mr Enanga said the Field Force Unit and Counter Terrorism bases in Naguru Barracks will be shifted first after police have acquired the land.

“We want to have police bases that have training camps and accommodation as was the case during the colonial times when operation officers had a training base and a residential area as well,” Mr Enanga said.

He said Naguru Police Barracks is congested and cannot accommodate a training school and officers’ residences.
The strength of Field Force Unit and Counter Terrorism at Naguru is more than 5,000 officers.

Police are also planning to give away Naguru and Nsambya police barracks land to investors in exchange for building alternative police bases elsewhere. Negotiations with investors are still on-going.

Targeted areas

Kampala metropolitan area covers Kampala city and districts of Wakiso, Mpigi, Mukono.

Population statistics indicate that the people who used to live in the city centre are shifting to districts neighbouring Kampala like Mukono, Mpigi and Wakiso.

Wakiso now has a bigger population of 1.9 million than Kampala‘s 1.4 million. Mukono has 600,000 people while Mpigi has 250,000 people.

Police said businesses and criminals have also shifted from the city centre to the neighbouring areas, which is possessing strategic security challenges.