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Hold on! Parliament halts police recruitment over discrimination

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga during a plenary sitting recently (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has halted the recruitment exercise of police officers over numerous complaints that the recruited officers are non-residents in the areas where the exercises are being conducted.

Hon Kadaga’s directive followed a concern raised by Robert Ntende (Bunya South) who told Parliament on Thursday, September 12, that out of the 68 recruited officers from Mayuge district only 24 are from the area, sentiments that were shared by a number of complaints raised by lawmakers who said that although each district is allocated positions in the force, some districts have been pushed out of the exercise in preference of others.

Margaret Babadiri (Koboko Woman) said that the recruiters should explain where the people recruited came from arguing that they need to be guarded by people from their areas.

It wasn’t long before other lawmakers like Jennifer Nabulindo (Busia Woman), James Waluswaka (Bunyole West), Joy Ongom (Lira Woman) and William Nzoghu asked the Speaker to order for the halting of the recruitment exercise pending verification of names of the officers on argument that most of the recruited officers were not the areas as the exercise intended.

Walusawka said, “That recruitment be halted until these names are sent to the districts.  Otherwise, you will find that the position of Butaleja maybe is taken up by Kasese, I don’t know.”

Nzoghu added, “To constitute a select committee to investigate this circus of recruitment.”

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda attempts to cool down MPs fell futile with calls to have the exercise continue and have those that flouted the recruitment procedures dealt with in their individual capacity, but his pleas feel on deaf ears prompting him to accuse Parliament of hijacking the recruitment process.

He said, “There can’t be a dispute about the national character of recruitment of national institutions. This is a very well-known national policy which in my view should be strictly adhered to. If anyone departs from that position, he or she should be dealt with in accordance with the regulations. Anybody who has been wrongly recruited in Police must get out and the recruitment must have a national character.”

Rugunda added, ”Colleagues should not get worried about reporting. The lists are being displayed in districts. The House should not hijack the role of recruitment from the Police but ensure that things are going correctly. I think it has been a one-sided affair and we should hear from the Ministry of Internal Affairs”

The protest from MPs prompted Kadaga to order for the halting of the exercise and directed the Minister of Internal Affairs to table before Parliament a list of recruited officers for verification per district.

The Speaker told the Prime Minister that he should be in a position to understand that the voices in Parliament are voices of discontent, “I haven’t heard anyone stand up and say it was okay in my area, everyone who has stood up has said, there is a problem. It is a fact that certain parts of this country aren’t well represented, so I don’t think that we should allow impunity. The difference between Saturday and Tuesday is very small, let the exercise end and the Minister comes here and explain to us. It should stop, the Minister comes here and we shall take a decision on how to move.”

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