President Museveni has for the first time spoken out about the fate of crime preventers all over the country saying they are “his project” not Kale Kayihura, the sacked formerInspector General of Police.
Kayihura had been widely perceived as the crime preventers’ god father, and after he was sacked, their fate was uncertain.
Speaking to a group of over 2000 coordinators for the crime preventers at the MTN arena in Lugogo on Wednesday,Museveni laughed at critics of the group for speaking ill about them.
“A few weeks ago I read in the papers that fate of crime preventers was to be decided by the new IGP.I called him and told him this(crime preventers) was not his problem,”Museveni said.
“Anybody who had an idea that it(crime preventers) was a Kayihura project was wrong.”
Before his sacking, Kayihura praised the group for being instrumental in fighting crime all over the country, prompting many to brand the group his own creation and ready to serve him.
However according to Museveni, the idea of crime preventers was a replica of the set-up of the National Resistance Army .
He equated the crime preventers and the local communities to the body system and the heart as they need and depend on each other.
“The heart cannot function without the body and vice versa.”
Museveni said that while chief political commissar of the UPDF, Gen.Kale Kayihura spearheaded such a program in the army, adding that it is the same idea of crime preventers that he introduced to the police force.
“The strategy of crime preventers is not a strategy of Kayihura but one for the NRA. He(Kayihura) actively implemented it and those saying it is his programme are wrong,” Museveni said
“Kayihura is a loyal cadre who implemented the NRA strategy into the police.”
Museveni said that the 12 million crime preventers all over the country can now be regarded as the reserve force of the UPDF.
He said that the group can be actively involved in detection and prevention of crime but could also be useful in case of any invasion on the country to act as the reserve force.
The National Coordinator for crime preventers, Blaise Kamugisha told 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,”Kamugisha told Museveni before making a rallying cry: “Brace yourselves to protect the president.”
In the past, many people especially opposition politicians have accused government of using crime preventers to orchestrate violence against them especially during campaigns and election time.
In the 2016 presidential election petition, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi accused the incumbent, Museveni of using police and crime preventers to harass his supporters.
However, the crime preventers’ national coordinator told Museveni that the group’s name being mentioned everywhere is a sign that they are doing a good job.
“Election observers and in the petitions, we were being talked about. If did not play an important role in the last elections, why are we being talked about?” he said.
He said that theirs is not an opportunist group but one for patriotic Ugandans ready to die for their country.
In response, Museveni urged them to engage in income generating activities like commercial agriculture so as to avoid being redundant.
He pledged Shs 1 billion towards the group’s sacco.