Parliament wants police recruitments halted as accusations of favouritism taint process

The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, has directed government to nullify the just concluded recruitment of police officers, after Members of Parliament reported irregularities in the exercise.

Kadaga said she was concerned that all MPs who had contributed on the matter during Thursday’s plenary sitting had negative reports about the recruitment process.

“The voices here are voices of discontent, I have not heard anyone stand up and say it was okay in my area. This is about equity, and it is a fact that certain parts of this country are not well represented, we cannot endorse this impunity, this must stop,” said Kadaga.

Legislators say the recruitment process was characterized by favouritism, unfairness, and that some recruits were not residents of areas to which it is claimed they come from.

Hon Silas Aogon (Ind., Kumi Munic.) criticized qualifications required of one to join the police force, saying that some requirements were irrelevant.

His counterpart from Ngora County, Hon David Abala was equally displeased that although Ngora district was used as a recruitment centre but that none of the residents benefited from the exercise.

“In Ngora it was worse because applicants were chased from the recruitment centre. The recruiting officers instead brought two buses with people from other districts,” said Abala adding that “Even Ngora residents who passed with a 1st grade were not recruited.”

Hon. Gerald Karuhanga (Ind., Ntungamo Munic.) expressed fear that the force entrusted to keep law and order is engaged in lawlessness even at the point of recruitment. He wondered how the public would be able to run to police when they are aggrieved.

“If it is conceived that the police recruitment was not transparent or equitable, the spirit in the public is that the force we have is not qualified to enforce law. People won’t run to police anymore,” said Karuhanga.

Legislators want government to repeat the exercise and have local authorities verify applicants and that all regions be given the same number of vacancies.

“This decision of whoever has been recruited should be revised and halted to allow verification. Local authorities were not involved. Let us stop the exercise and we repeat it,” said Hon George Kumama Nsamba (NRM, Bbaale).

The Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, appealed to the MPs to wait for the report of the Internal Affairs Ministry about the matter. He however agreed with MPs on irregularities in the recruitment and urged government to apprehend anyone wrongly recruited.

“Earlier I said that within police, there are 127 cases that are being scrutinised because of wrong recruitment. Anybody who has been wrongly recruited in proposal must get out,” he said.

Rugunda also directed the Minister of Internal Affairs to report to Parliament on the status of recent police recruitment during the sitting of Tuesday 17 September 2019.

Speaker Kadaga demanded that the Internal Affairs Minister also provides the entire list of recruits.

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