Crime preventers transitioning to UPDF – Rwamirama

Legislators on the Parliamentary Defense Committee have tasked officials of the Ministry of Defense to explain the sustainability and legality of Crime Preventers.

This follows a pronouncement made by President Museveni in March that the group is now a reserve force under the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF).

Muwanga Kivumbi  the MP for Butambala and Shadow Minister for  Internal Affairs noted that it is wrong for a crime preventers with very little or no skill to be put as part of reserve force under the UPDF. He also said crime preventers have been engaging in political activism which is not correct.

He also warned that if crime preventers are not catered for financially, they are bound to engage in criminal activities for forge a way to earn a living, just like they have been doing.

“When you look at these crime preventers, when they were starting it was not voluntarily, and the then Inspector General of Police had said they would find a way to pay them, so how will the UPDF sustain these crime preventers, and under what law will they be reserve force members” Kivumbi questioned.

Theodore Ssekikubo MP, (Lwemiyaga) tasked the Defense officials to explain under what law the UPDF was taking in crime preventers. He says crime preventers have involved in partisan politics, but have also been involving themselves in criminal activities.

However, Bright Rwamirama State Minister for Veteran Affairs informed the Committee that crime preventers have no financial implication to the budget of the country but said the crime preventers are in a transitional period to the UPDF, and would be retrained.

He added that despite the directive there is a process that must be followed and crime preventers have not yet been absorbed into the reserve force of the UPDF.

Rwamirama justified the mending of the two groups citing Article 17 of the constitution that directs that anybody who meets the requirement to be member of UPDF and clause 6 of the UPDF Act also shows who should be member of the Force.

“The Commander in chief gave us guidelines that these people (crime preventers) should join the reserve force, those who have jobs should go on, but we keep documenting them and we keep them on reserve force. So given the fact that these crime preventers are educated and have some training, it is their right place for them to be a reserve force.” Rwamirama said.

On the issue of crime preventers indulging in crime raised by the MPs, Rwamirama said that given the fact the group has been taken in as reserve force, this will mean those arrested for committing crime will be taken to court martial, in case the culprits have guns to their names.