“Democracy is not simply a license to indulge individual whims and proclivities. It is also holding oneself accountable to some reasonable degree for the conditions of peace and chaos that impact the lives of those who inhabit one’s beloved extended community.” – Aberjhani, (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays).
After the hectic usage of the Crime Preventers in the run-up for the General Election in 2016, they are suddenly relevant again. Even after the state are failing with funds and such. The National Resistance Movement, still seems to need several more guns and soldiers out there walking in the streets of Uganda. That is how it seems, but however now it has changed from being part of the Uganda Police Force, into a brigade from the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). That means the Generals will control it and order it, not the Police. That is very different animal if this happens.
Reported by 411UG today: ““I now regard you as a reserve army for UPDF. My idea is to have a small army which is equipped but with a big reserve”, Museveni stated in his address at Lugogo Arena. However, before saying so, President Museveni refuted rumours surrounding ‘who owns them’ he said; “Anybody who had an idea that this was a Kayihura project, please, get it out of your head. But Kayihura was an active cadre who executed that aspect and I congratulate him.” (411UG – ‘I now regard you as a reserve army for UPDF — Museveni tells crime preventers’ 28.03.2018).
What President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, is distancing himself from the statements the Uganda Police Force did during campaigns of 2015, when the UPF stated this: “Uganda Police Force has learnt with profound disappointment that a Facebook group called Team JPAM 2016 has referred to ‘Crime Preventers’ as a militia force, as if that was not enough, they have also drawn comparisons of it with the infamous Rwandan genocidaire group called The Interahamwe who were responsible for some of the most heinous crimes against humanity in the history of mankind. Amid this outrageous ill-motivated accusations, we thought it was important that Ugandans understand that the concept of community policing has always been there and contemplated for implementation, as way back as 1990. It is a metamorphose of the ‘Nyumba Kumi’. Those who are old enough will remember that Nyumba Kumi works on the premise that each community must be able to be self-reliant on security matters. In fact though Nyumba Kumi means ‘ten houses’ in Swahili, the concept is not rigid in its implementation. Again those of pertinent age will remember that visitors and or any new person in a given community was required to register and deposit their IDs with the chairman or the police” (Uganda Police Force – ‘CRIME PREVENTERS ARE NOT A MILITIA FORCE’ 22.03.2018).
So if they are reserves to the UPDF, that means Amama Mbabazi was actual going forward, because the accusation is now true. That means the Crime Preventers will become a brigade, another force under the UPDF. They are militia under the army, they are secondary army and brigades when in need. That means they shouldn’t be involved in policing, but national security. That is if the difference between the police and army is respected. This also means, that the Police Force getting less extra officers, since the changes of program should come swiftly, also the change in mandate of the Crime Preventers.
This is also not in line what he himself said in 2016: ““In all modern countries, there is an Army and Police Reserve. Crime Preventers are a Police Reserve. They do not have any political affiliation. Anyone who wants to become a Crime Preventer should join,” he said. Mr. Museveni reassured the country that there will be no violence during elections. “The law guarantees a peaceful election. It says what is wrong and should not be done during elections. If you do what should not be done, we will arrest you. Soldiers are not yet deployed but they will soon be,” he said” (PPU – ‘ President Museveni: Crime preventers are a Police Reserve Force’ 14.02.2016).
So two years ago, they we’re a Police Reserve, now it has changed, the army needs reserves, the army needs to be bolstered for apparent reasons unknown to mankind. The UPDF needs the extra personnel, that the UPF cannot pay for, the UPDF has budgets for extended personnel and firepower. Certainly, there is something underlining the will of the President. That he is willingly using the Crime Preventers as military reserves. That means, they will follow orders from the military and not from the new leadership of UPF. Meaning they are going from one security organization into another, where the mandate and meaning is different.
This means the Police are now having less people associated with it, this is winging the organization and establishing another norm. We can wonder if the brigade and that the National Crime Preventers Forum (NCPF), that was established in 2013, meaning that the mandate and will of this organization too, needs to change if it supposed to make sense. The Community Policing will not make sense, if they are a military brigade, unless he want to show military force and spread fear. That tehe soldiers will be with guns and ammunition in the streets, to show that the NRM has big enough force to continue their rule, therefore, you never know when you meet a UPDF Crime Preventer. The former Community Policing officer who coordinating directly with the Police. Should now be in direct line with the military. That is because their mission changed.
We can wonder what the need for a military reserve, how come? Is there a war brewing the world doesn’t know about? Does Museveni plans to invade the Democratic Republic of Congo, again? Does Museveni plan to intervene with soldiers in South Sudan, again? What is the use of extra and more soldiers in reserve, that was previous community police officers through the Crime Preventers Program.
Because, it doesn’t make sense to conduct fighting internal policing and being military at the same time. They are two vast different approach to both organizations within the community, the army to secure the borders and people from outsider invading, also being a securing element. That stops the neighbors from wanting to cross the borders. While the police who has the allowed space of investigating and combating crime within the territory, they are also securing the safety directly in the territory. Therefore, seeing the Crime Preventers becoming part of the army, means that the mandate change.
This means that Museveni is up to something. I don’t know what, but it smells fishy. I just don’t know what. Peace.