By Andrew Irumba
Kigo: There is concern and fear among Ugandans sailing across Lake Victoria that the country’s marine police lacks capacity to patrol the lake or water bodies in Uganda and to swiftly respond to emergencies.
This is because three Marine Police boats have been grounded for a long time and they have since started rotting away at Kigo Police Marine Base. It should be noted that these boats were purchased to do surveillance around Lake Victoria and other water bodies but for some reasons best know to the Uganda Police, they remain grounded. The speed boats which were purchased in 2016 by the Uganda Police Force have been grounded for more than two years, hindering operations of the Marine Police.
Marine officers are now forced to use wooden boats or canoes for operations. However such boats are not recommended during operations especially when the winds are strong. Moses Wadenga, the Police marine engineer at Kigo Marine base says that “The engineering department still lacks resources to repair and maintain the boats to effectively operate on Lake Victoria.” He adds that “Police has not yet ascertained the costs of repairing the marine boats.” However, Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango says management of the money for repairing the boats has been availed in the next financial year budget. But he declined to reveal the amount of money. A 2015 report by the Auditor General indicated that the equipment for the Police Marine Unit including all the boats was poorly handled.