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KCCA to arrest, prosecute street beggars, preachers

Beggars at the Jinja Raod traffic lights in Kampala, one of the places most known for the presence of these beggars: PHOTOS BY SHARON NAMAKULA

BY JOSEPHINE NAMAKUMBI

& SHARON NAMAKULA

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is to screen all street preachers, beggars and street children amid reports that some of them are criminals who are terrorizing unsuspecting members of the public.

KCCA spokesperson Peter Kaujju told PML Daily in an interview last week that they have received various complaints from the public that some street preachers and children between 10 and 18 years have participated in several murders and aggravated robberies in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts.

A report by Police’s Flying Squad Unit (FSU) that most of the crimes committed in Kampala Metropolitan between 2014, 2015 and 2016 have involved street children.

Mr Kaujju adds that they reached out to church leaders who send preachers on the streets and that they have agreed to issue identity cards to all of them, showing their churches of origin in order to eliminate criminals.

PML Daily has discovered that street begging has become a lucrative business, with men, women and children now increasingly hitting the streets in different parts of the city.

Originally, it was young children begging at traffic lights and streets, especially on William Street, Ben Kiwanuka and Dastur streets in downtown Kampala. However, adults have started joining the trade, with expectant mothers and men now fighting with young children.

According to Mr Kaujju, most of the beggars are persuaded to come to Kampala for employment while the children are promised sponsorships. But when they find these not available, they are forced to beg on road sides.

Rachel Akol a street girl we talked to said she was brought to Kampala by a family friend to attend school but to her dismay, she was made to work as a housemaid.

Mr Kaujju adds that they have tried to take back some of these people to their homes but they return for what they term as “greener pastures in Kampala”.

He says KCCA is organising an enforcement drive to eliminate these beggars

The KCCA spokesman says they will soon arrest the elderly beggars and arraign them before courts of law since most of them are mentally and physically fine, which gives them no reason to beg.

A preacher tells the Word as other town dwellers go about their business. KCCA is set to vet the preachers for criminals.

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