The Uganda People’s Defence Forces is set to begin registering crime preventers countrywide as a part of efforts to integrate them in the army as a reserve force.
On Wednesday, President Museveni, while meeting the 11 million crime preventers at Lugogo in Kampala, said they can help detect crime and declared them a reserve force of the UPDF, arguing that they could also defend the country in case of invasion.
On Friday, UPDF spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire said they will retrain or reorganise the crime preventers for easy management.
“Under Section 6 of the UPDF Act, such people, as trained under article 17 of the Constitution, are one of the sources of our reserves, therefore these crime preventers legally qualify to be a source of reserves for the UPDF who can be called upon when need arises,” Brig Karemire said.
He said the crime preventers will fall under the reserve forces commander, Maj Gen Charles Otema, who will ensure that they are well integrated into the army.
“Crime preventers will follow the UPDF chain of command in terms of reporting. This could be in combat or any operation aimed at defending territorial sovereignty or any other functions in supporting in terms of disaster,” he said.
On Wednesday, the President said he personally conceived the idea of crime preventers and that he is not about to discard it.
“In the role of detecting crime, I need to sit down with ring leaders to see how to handle it, criminals operate mainly in villages. If you’ve not yet developed village coordinators, you should because it’s easy to know how many houses there are,” he said.
The President also urged the crime preventers to spearhead poverty eradication programmes.
“Apart from preventing crime, you should be exemplary actors in poverty eradication in your homes, become the example. Don’t be the one in a bar with swollen cheeks like a ripe banana, let your light shine. Your leaders should work with Police and operation wealth creation. We maybe need one crime preventer per parish to serve as an example for the rest,” he said.
The National Coordinator for crime preventers, Mr Blaise Kamugisha told Mr Museveni that as they did in the 2016 general elections, they will always be ready to protect him and canvass for him votes.
“We played an important role in the last election. We did not only protect the vote but we also voted,” Mr Kamugisha said.