Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, the minister of internal affairs, has come under heavy criticism for suggesting that Ugandans raise their tax contributions to support the government’s effort to increase the number of police officers on the ground to combat the country’s rising crime rate.
The revelations were made recently at the 26th Police Council meeting at the police headquarters in Naguru by Otafiire, the chairperson of the Police Authority.
He said, whether they give them enough police officers or stop complaining about crime. He argued that Uganda has a parliament that is bigger than the one in Britain.
Uganda’s GDP is 200 times smaller than that of Britain. Uganda has 554 MPs whereas Britain has 600 MPs. Office raised the question that how is it possible for Uganda to have a parliament the size of the British one but not have enough police officers.
He then added by arguing that each MP in the parliament receives three minutes to speak, according to him nothing could be said within those three minutes. He used to talk for about 15 minutes and now it is being shortened to three minutes. He asks what is possible to talk about in three minutes.
He questioned the president about the source of funding to support the police and parliament and he warned the president that if he didn’t give them a district, they wouldn’t vote for them.
Otafiire said that if the people of Uganda need a great police force, they need to pay high taxes. They have a big parliament but not a big police force, so Otafiire questions how they are going to pay the police officers if they raise the force and he suggests that creating more districts may help to get more taxes from people.
The Uganda Police Force, which employs roughly 54,000 people has a poor officer ratio of one police officer for every 800 people. This is more than the standard of one police officer for every 500 citizens that are accepted globally. In recent months, Uganda has seen a rise in armed robberies and a wave of violent attacks on security facilities.
Three unidentified gunmen raided a police station on December 9, 2022, killing two bystanders in the process. In July 2022, two police officers were attacked at a roadblock in Kiwumpa village, five kilometers from the Luwero town council, by an individual with pangas. The thieves have stolen two pistols while stabbing the policemen.
A group of armed terrorists attacked the Bussika police station on October 31, 2022. They stole two guns, injured two others, and then shot two on-duty police officers to death.
In Kyanja, assailants on a motorcycle attacked Keningston police on November 15, 2022. Armed individuals attacked soldiers on November 17, 2022, near the Gaddafi barracks, on Amber Court Road. L/Cpl. Norico Kibirige and Sgt. Eyagu were deployed together.
The shadow minister for internal affairs, Muwanga Kivumbi, said that Otafiire was aware of the main abuser of these funds. The highest level of leadership is where the main issue is. The beneficiaries of classified expenditure include Otafiire. In the financial years 2021-22, they received over three trillion shillings, received five trillion in 2022-23, and now demand four trillion in 2023-24.
The Executive director of SEATINI, a non-governmental organization that works on trade, fiscal, and development-related issues, Jane Nalunga said that Otafiire is right because they need to cut their coat according to the cloth they have. According to him, in Uganda, the cost of administration is relatively high and so they require a smaller cabinet, parliament, etc.
He added that because the establishment of districts aims to further political objectives, Otaffire is also dishonest.
Otafiire doesn’t need to claim that Ugandans want the additional districts to impose higher taxes. They believe that their leaders are aware of the wants and needs of their people, said Nalunga.
According to Jonathan Odur, a member of the parliamentary committee on defense and internal affairs from Erute South, Otafiire is ungrateful and takes Ugandans for granted. The tax obligations of Ugandans have been faithfully met.
The Shs 900 billion annual budget for the police is funded by the same Ugandans from whom Otafiire blames. Odur asked what happens to the money that is left over after paying salaries and hiring, which total about Shs350 billion.
He said that the problem is not insufficient resources but the problem is bad planning. According to Odur Otafiire is unfair and probably doesn’t understand the current circumstances.
He is shocked to know that Otafiire criticizes the size of the parliament. When Otafiire served as the minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs in the last parliament, they suggested that the number of MPs in parliament should be lowered to around 200.
There are roughly 150 people who take part in home activities. When they made this motion, instead of lowering the MPs, constituencies were made.