By Max Patrick Ocaido
PARLIAMENT. President Yoweri Museveni has addressed Parliament on matters regarding security of the country.
Museveni, in his address on Wednesday listed a 10-points strategy that among them include fingerprinting all guns in circulation that government is set to embark on to fight criminality in the country.
The President told Parliament that he has not directly been involved in fighting of crime until the killing of Maj Muhammed Kiggundu and AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi which provoked him into action.
"There should be no undetected crime after taking the following measures; fingerprinting all guns in Uganda. All guns must be fingerprinted to capture fingerprints of any user. That means if any legal gun was used for criminality, we shall know whose gun was used and who the perpetrator is," Museveni said.
He however warned that fingerprinting of all legally owned guns may not solve the situation where guns are smuggled into the country, adding that government will devise other means to handle smuggling of guns.
Museveni also listed nine other strategies that government will embark on to fight crime in the country. Among others include; mandatory installation of electronic number plates on all motor vehicles and bodabodas at the expense of the owner, banning of hooded jackets and provision of illuminated helmets with numbers printed on the front and back. The other strategies include; installation of cameras in the highways and towns and streets and installation of a modern forensic laboratory which will capture the palm prints and DNA of the criminals.
Museveni also put Police to task on speed of response when called into action and ordered them to revive the 999 patrols and Flying Squad that was recently disbanded by IGP Martin Okoth Ochola.
"I have told police to revive 999 and the flying squad, only that this time, it will be a flying squad not a crawling squad through a heavy traffic," Museveni said, before warning criminals who misuse social media.
"These criminals use social media to cause panic, threatening violence, but we are going to acquire capacity to quickly locate the criminal without interfering with others. Why do you hide your identity if you have truth in what you are saying? I don't want to block use of social media, we shall only go for the jigger. You know when a jigger enters your foot, you don't cut the foot, you only dig for the jigger," he said.
Museveni also noted that negligence and collusion with the criminals by some elements of the security forces has been part of the problem, adding that the Security Council has resolved on having a small army which is well-educated, well-equipped and well-trained.
"It's foolish and a waste of time for anyone to think that he or she can destabilize Uganda using weapons...We have a robust capacity to guarantee security of Ugandans," Museveni said.
During the National Budget presentation last week, Museveni in accordance with article 101(2) of the 1995 constitution had requested Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to give him an opportunity to address Parliament. Article 101(2) states that the President may, also, in consultation with the Speaker, address Parliament from time to time, on any matter of national importance.
This presidential address comes at a time of insecurity influx marred by kidnaps and murders which climaxed with the killing of Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga who was shot dead near his home in Kawanda on June 08.
The President's 10 proposed measures to curb crime
1. All legally held guns will be finger-printed. When this happens, once a cartridge is fired, we shall be able to tell which gun discharged the bullet. If any legally-held gun is used in crime, we shall trace it, this includes guns in private hands but licensed by the police.
2. Every vehicle and motorcycle will be required to have electronic number plates with an electronic signal, installed at cost of the owner. However, we shall protect people's privacy.
Our concern will only be with vehicles or pikipikis seen in an area where crime is committed. If one attempts to interfere with the number plate, the central monitoring unit will be notified.
3. Hoods for motorcycle riders is banned. Police will charge anybody covering themselves that way. Riders will also have to wear helmets with illuminated numbers both at the front and back.
These helmets will be registered and details captured in the central monitoring hub. I encourage the National Enterprises Corporation and our private sector here to manufacture these helmets here. We should not spend money importing them.
4. Installation of cameras on town roads and streets and along highways. Potentially the criminal or enemy can evade other forms of detection except the optical; eye, camera and telescope.
If necessary, the cameras will have thermal sensors. If criminals try childish games of covering their heads, they will be seen at the command post.
5. Modern foresinc laboratory. I thought the national ID project should have done this. We shall capture thumb prints and DNA of criminals so that we can trace once blood is left at the crime scene.
Even other elements like sweat, saliva, hair will also be analysed. If you want our country to be peaceful, why fear to offer DNA for storage. Support me so that we stabilize our country.
6. Speed of response and how quickly we arrive at the scene. I have directed the police to revive the 999 and reform the Flying Squad. It should be a real flying squad. We are providing UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones) and light helicopters.
7. The enemy can also use drones to promote crime. The defence committee has authorised 30 UAVs. We have 130 applications while 500 have been impounded. They were being smuggled into the country. The responsible minister will bring a law to regulate use of these drones.
8. Misuse of social media. Criminals use social media to threaten violence and create panic. We are going to acquire capacity to quickly locate criminals abusing social media. The government does not want to block these sites but we shall pick out the jiggers. We won't cut the entire foot.
9. Acquire more scanners under the Uganda Revenue Authority to check all containers coming into and exiting the country. Criminals hiding guns as cargo will be grabbed. The Era of weak or non-existent state authority ended.
10. Back to the army. Our strategy is a small, professional, well-equipped army, backed with a large reserve force. Our military capacity is robust created over last 50 years. We have capacity to defend Uganda.
I thank you.