By Prisca Wanyenya
Uganda Police Force is seeking for Shs70Bn to procure uniports for its newly recruited 10,000 officers, to deal with dilapidated housing structures in the force.
The request was made by Aggrey Wunyi, Under Secretary Police while appearing before Parliament’s Budget Committee to defend the Shs60Bn supplementary funding, a funding shortage he said if not provided would constrain the Force from effectively and efficiently policing the country.
Wunyi told Parliament that although the Force boosted its personnel with an additional 10,000 recruits, there are no accommodation facilities for the recruits and in order to mitigate the crisis, there is need for Parliament to approve Shs70Bn for the purchase of classified stores commonly known as uniports for the deployment of 10,000 personnel that have just joined the force.
Wunyi said the other mitigation measures is the purchase of one man tent as Police look for a permanent solution to the problem of accommodation, “We are planning to procure 10,000 uniports and we signed a contract of Shs70Bn and we are asking for 30% advance payments.”
The development comes at the time Parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs Committee was horrified to discover that although the 10th Parliament had recommended the Police housing units in Mbale be demolished, an onsite visit on Wednesday revealed that dilapidated structures still stand, having been constructed in 1954 by the colonial government.
Minister of Internal Affairs, Kahinda Otafire commented on the dilapidated structures, admitting that the current regime hasn’t done much to improve the welfare of the Police, but they are making amends with their shortcomings by constructing new facilities and maintenance of the existing structures.
He said that the government is committed to not only maintain but reconstruct new housing units for the police, however the financial basket over the years hasn’t been adequate but that this was a priority of cabinet.
“The situation is bad, but we are addressing it. The situation in Mbale is very bad. Over the years, maintenance of the police barracks has been wanting. Mbale isn’t alone, I must admit. There has been an inability to maintain and build because the houses you are referring to were built by the colonial government,” said Minister Otafire.
He added, “Unfortunately the successors haven’t been able to adequately keep braced with constructing barracks for the police force and this is what we are thinking about.”
The Police is also seeking for an additional Shs5.505Bn for fuel, oil and lubricants, with Wunyi saying that the fleet size of Police has increased and the fuel budget available can only secure 3.5liters daily, yet the Force’s fuel need is to a tune of Shs132Bn need, but the Shs5.05Bn will get the fleet on the road for a mean time.
The Force is also seeking for Shs10.720Bn to feed 40,000 officers on deployment, where each of them is budgeted for Shs7000 daily for a three course meal and each officer is expected to consume 1Kgs of posho daily.
Additionally, Police also wants Shs1.730Bn for Aircraft maintenance involved in a number of operations especially in Karamoja region and the Force must ensure the crafts are serviced, at the moment, Police is relying on foreigners to provide expertise.
Police also want Shs1.310Bn in Classified expenditure in order to sustain operations against threats and increasing insecurity in the country.
The Force is also seeking for additional funding to purchase equipment that helps in taking fingerprints for various guns so that it is easy to investigate when crime is committed using any weapon. The other equipment to be purchased is the technology on facial reconstruction to help in investigation of cases at crime scenes.
In the 2020/2021 Police received a supplementary budget to a tune of Shs19.01Bn that was used to enforce the Standard Operating Procedures during the second lockdown and this money was spent on; fuel, allowance to personnel, uniform and protective gears, sanitation, intelligence and public relations. However, 739,000 officers who were deployed during this period haven’t been paid because of duplicate names and wrong account details.