What you need to know:
- The residents are optimistic that security in the area will improve.
Residents of Namawanga in Lukhojje Sub-county in Mbale District have mobilised and constructed a modern police station to fight crime.
The Shs116 million police station was commissioned on Wednesday at an event attended by locals and dignitaries.
These include Mt Elgon Region Police commander John Bosco Otim, manager of Uganda Wildlife Conservation centre David Musingo, former academic registrar of Makerere University Alfred Namawa Masikye, and Mr Moses Musingo, the assistant commissioner of secondary schools in Ministry of Education.
The police station has offices for the officer-in-charge of criminal investigation department and the officer-in-charge of the police station, two reception cells for both genders, stores for armoury and four accommodation units
The residents are optimistic that cases such as murder, land grabbing and defilement will now reduce.
“We mobilised resources on our own because we needed a police station in this area to curb the crime. We hope we will now have peace,” Mr Robert Wandwasi, a resident, told Monitor.
Mr Masikye said: “The high cases of rape and defilement had resulted in rampant teenage pregnancy and early marriages but this will now be mitigated in the long run.”
Mr David Musingo, the chairperson of the organising committee, said security had been elusive in Namawanga and it had affected development of the area.
“The people would fear to invest here and when we saw police were taking long to build for us a police station because of finances, we had to mobilise,” he said.
The police station will serve more than 50,000 people from the districts of Manafwa, Tororo, and Mbale.
The locals emba rked on the fundraising drive in early 2021, through a WhatsApp group “Namawanga Alumni” and in one month, the administration of Namawanga Church of Uganda offered land to house the station.
Mr Musingo said locals who couldn’t contribute financially provided labour, among others.
Mr Brian James Wandera, the chairperson of Luhojje Sub-county, said criminals have been taking advantage of lack of police station to commit crimes.
“This place has been a hub of criminals. Cases of house break-ins and robbery have been common but now we feel relieved,” he said.
He asked police to allocate enough manpower to the station. “We need enough manpower since this station also has accommodation units,” he said.
Mr Moses Musingo, a resident, said security would also spur population growth.
Mr Robert Wandwasi, the MP of Bungokho South, said the residents have demonstrated community responsibility and solidarity.
“I ask them to continue with the spirit and champion more projects,” he said.
Mt Elgon Region Police commander John Bosco Otim applauded the locals for their efforts. “This area has been one of the hotspots for crime in the district. It was being used as a hideout for thieves,” he said.
Mr Otim said the presence of a police station will translate in faster response.
“It will close the gaps in community policing and also foster the cardinal institutional mandate of protecting life and property as enshrined in the Constitution,” he said, adding that police are committed to constructing more police stations.
“The Uganda Police Force leadership is committed to addressing the challenges such as manpower, indiscipline, human rights observance, personnel welfare,” Mr Otim said.