Rev Fr Gaetano Batanyenda, the outspoken political activist and priest of Kitanga Parish in Kabale, has called for the disbandment of the Local Defense Unit (LDU) that was commissioned recently to work alongside police and other government security bodies to fight crime in the country.
The skyrocketing number of cases of murder and kidnap around the country ever since the commissioning of the armed unit, Fr Gaetano says, speaks volumes on its irrelevance.
Speaking yesterday to press, Gaetano says the spike in crime in Uganda is not as a result of lack or resources but the political will in government to fight it.
“Government has no will to fight crime; we see that in the sheer refusal to motivate the officers that are already out there in the field,” said the man of God.
“Instead of training and empowering the existing officers, Government has now recruited more LDU’s. Earlier, (Former IGP) Kale Kayihura brought crime preventers. They recruited many of them, but they all failed. The crime preventers failed, the police and the army have failed, even the LDUs have failed.”
Gaetano says the right way is to disband the LDU and head back to the drawing board.
“These LDUs and the crime preventers if they still exist, I think that their time has not yet come. The real reason they were created is to disrupt the 2021 election process; specially to stop the opposition from mobilizing. Otherwise for now they aren’t working and therefore should be disbanded.”
Gaetano, a former supporter of the NRM government and President Yoweri Museveni said for years, government has showed numerous signs of failure to secure Ugandans and their property.
“For all the serious cases of murder that we saw, Joan Kagezi, (Felix) Kaweesi, (Muhammad) Kirumira, and many others, the police say they are still investigating. Shall we get the reports on these murders on resurrection day?” he wondered.
“The criminals are now so emboldened that they fear no one. Imagine writing to a judge, to two lawyers and a District Police Commander, threatening to shoot them. If they can’t fear these people, how will they hesitate to take the life of an ordinary person?”
“Now we are hearing that the police are seeking help from the FBI in the Maria Nagirinya case. At the rate at which people are being kidnapped and killed, for how long will they keep calling the FBI? Will the FBI become resident here?”
President Yoweri Museveni in his latest security address however, expressed optimism on the steps taken to address criminality, such as the installation of CCTV cameras on major roads.
As a result of these cameras, Museveni says Police have been able to apprehend suspects in all the recent cases of murder.
“This is all before we introduce the other measures, such as the digital (electronic) registration of all vehicles and motorcycles so that we electronically track every vehicle. It will tighten the rope around the neck of criminals,” Museveni said.
“As I write now, the killers of Nagirinya have all been arrested, including the red-jacketted character,that was driving Nagirinya’s car after killing her.
Therefore, the criminals will all be caught, even the killers of Kagyezi Joan, the Moslem sheikhs etc.”