At the helm of public outcry for the increasing insecurity, let’s all think so critically and nationalistically to easily embrace the culture of community policing.
By Richard Kyambadde
The country is in a state of mourning and increasing fears after the gruesome murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi (RIP) which occurred in Kulambiro, a Kampala suburb just about 100 meters from the deceased's residence on Friday March the 17th in broad daylight!
It is indeed worth mourning and also raising fears and worries in the general public because peace and security has been this regime’s strongest spike. Fear being instilled by the dark nights’ fragility in past regimes, the biggest fraction of the citizens in the country would at the present time afford to sleep and wake up in peace.
However, the recent gruesome murder of AIGP Kaweesi coupled with all the other likened murders of the Muslim sheiks and the Assistant Director of Prosecutions and Head of International Criminal Divisions in Uganda`s Ministry of Justice (at the time of her death) Joan Namazzi Kagezi that have occurred since 2012, leaves us with an unanswered question on who is secure?
With the increasing levels of insecurity, criminality, terrorism, robbery, theft and the like in Kampala and other places in Uganda, we should all restlessly sweep the area for solutions to these unbearable misbehaviors. Fundamental efforts should be directed towards making this beautiful country a better place for all people to live in peacefully and happily without worry and fear of the circumstances and results of these pointed out raising misbehaviors.
President Yoweri Museveni while addressing mourners at the deceased's home in Kulambiro, issued a directive to install CCTV cameras in Kampala. In actuality, this is a good idea in curbing down the ill conducts of criminality, terrorism, theft and reckless driving among others.
Installation of CCTV cameras has been proved to lower the above listed ill conducts in all the studies carried out by International Security Industry Organization but only to some extent. This effort needs to be supplemented with other viable efforts and the process of installation has got to be streamlined right from inception, procurement, implementation, public involvement and sustainability.
Ensuring the listed supplements will make certain that this country highly benefits from the Shs 400bn CCTV sacrificial camera investment.
All of those efforts accompanying the CCTV camera initiative is a somewhat unmanageable task for a country like Uganda which has suffered wounds of corruption entailed in government projects. Real caution must be taken this time if we are to reap from this investment.
There are so many things that need to be looked into before/as cameras are installed in Kampala and other major towns in the country. The unreliable electricity characterized by power outages sometimes leaving the city in a total blackout.
This calls for alternative sources of power along with the CCTV cameras perhaps solar powered cameras or power backups for a 24/7 surveillance to give no chance to the criminals . On the other hand, the dusty streets in Kampala compromise the environment in which CCTV cameras can be sustained for accurate recordings.
The streets will have to thoroughly be cleaned, all dirt sucked up and ensure stringent measures for city waste management. The questions are, will these things be done? Is there a will by those concerned to do anything for good? Do we have the resources to start or do anything effectively in this line?
Some possible supplementary efforts to CCTV cameras
No.1 Major planning authorities and of course ministries, in this case I will point out and concentrate on Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) , should advise/persuade and possibly come up with regulations on all City developments to include CCTV cameras for disaster management as is the case with Kigali.
Since July 2014 Kigali’s ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (Midmar) set standards for all public buildings in the country to comply with safety regulations among which include fire-fighting equipment: a fire alarm system with an alarm bell on each floor; smoke detectors and sprinklers on each floor; a fire extinguisher every 50 meters on each floor; hose reels on each floor; closed circuit television cameras and a control room; and a lightning conductor.
They also came up with a regular system where installations are also inspected after every three years by law enforcing agencies, which hand sanctions to non-compliers. To date, most of their private and public buildings are compliant. This in fact is one of the reasons why Kigali is safe and the rate of ill conduct is low.
Well, some of the listed regulations for Kigali private and public buildings do exist even here in Kampala except for Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) which is now very necessary to not only ensure the safety of building but also the safety of the people who transact business within and outside these buildings and their properties. Can you imagine, thugs freely steal customers` properties from cars parked in unsecured parking lots decorated with many disclaimer notices (PARKING AT OWNERS` RISK). Some building corridors are a no go zone because thugs have turned them into their theft zones since they are not in any way worried that anybody is trailing them or that there are systems in place to trail on them. It’s these acts of theft and disguised mediocrity that breed into severe criminality and terrorism if not curbed down.
I must mention that all Stabex Petrol stations countrywide have installed CCTV cameras inside and outside their properties and I was not surprised that a few weeks back police had to use a footage from of their CCTV camera system from the Mityana Stabex petrol station (not far from my Mityana Home) to get a hold of a private car that had been stolen from the vicinity of the petrol station. How about if we had maximized CCTV camera surveillance?
If you may recall from the IGP`s (General Kale Kayihura) speech at the burial of the late AIGP Kaweesi in Lwengo, he noted out that police had watched a footage from the CCTV recordings of a certain supermarket (which he did not mention) and noticed the deceased`s assailants but because they were at a distance, the footage wasn’t clear enough. Imagine if we had maximized CCTV surveillance!
No. 2 At the helm of public outcry for the increasing insecurity, let’s all think so critically and nationalistically to easily embrace the culture of community policing. Let us be vigilant to ensure we are our neighbors` watchmen because this is one of the proven methods in curbing down ill conduct in society in westernized countries like Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and African countries like Mauritius, Botswana, Madagascar, Zambia, Malawi Tanzania (Through the Ujama policy), and others. It is this virtue that will even keep the CCTV cameras in place when we succeed at installing them.
Community leaders should ensure that all citizens in their locality are registered in their respective village registers and establish a localized means of communication amongst the members to ensure ties and bonds such that people become familiar with the people in their vicinity.
Together we can bring about change for a secure nation. It’s everyone’s responsibility, let’s not cast a blame to the state.