By Denis Turyahebwa
Residents of Kasunga and Baranywa villages in Kihamba Parish Kyegegwa District have cried foul to Government over the increasing criminality levels caused by Crime Preventers who have turned into criminals instead of ensuring safety in the community.
According to Ms. Resty Kabonesa a resident of Kasunga village, jobless youths in their community who were recommended for jobs by the community leaders in the area have instead turned against them by terrorizing communities.
“We’re surprised as leaders to see these Crime preventers degenerating into perpetrators of crime contrary to their expected mandate of assisting the police to prevent crime. These young Crime Preventers are continuously engaged in terrorizing villagers through theft and beating of residents in the villages,’’ Resty said.
Kabonesa added that The Crime Preventers have caused mayhem in the villages leading to failure by residents to sell their Bananas in the plantations, hence making them penny less and lacking funds to pay for their children’s school fees. “Peasants no longer harvest any beans or maize from their gardens due to the actions of theft by these crime preventers who continuously steal all their crops from the gardens during the night” she said.
The Chairperson L.C.1 Baranywa village, Mr. Kalambuzi Charles also complained of lack of cooperation from the Police Force to apprehend the crime preventers whenever they report to them. Kalambuzi lamented that; ‘’For a long time I have reported the matter to Police but I am always requested for proof of the crime preventers’ actions of theft for which most times I don’t have’’.
Meanwhile, Kalambuzi noted that residents have complained over the actions of the crime preventers whom they see at night in their gardens but fear to make alarm and eventually in mornings their crops go missing.
As a group of civilian volunteers’ to the Uganda Police Force, Crime preventers are supposed to supplement community initiative of ensuring safety of people and their property.
In March this year, President Yoweri K. Museveni directed for the transfer of services of the Crime preventers from the Uganda Police Force to the Uganda People’s Defence forces.