Cash-strapped Uganda police splashes Sh13b on CCTV system
SEE ALSO :Uganda economy up 11pc after rebasingUganda's cameras are part of Huawei's Safe City initiative, which has been rolled out in more than 200 cities worldwide, including in China, Pakistan and Russia. In Africa, Huawei has sold CCTV systems to countries such as Kenya, Egypt and Zambia where activists have raised similar concerns over privacy and effectiveness. In Europe, France, Germany and Serbia have small projects with Huawei's initiative. Surging crime in Uganda is fuelling public anger towards President Yoweri Museveni, 74, who has been in power since 1986 and will likely seek another five-year term. Eightfold jump Police in the oil-rich East African nation recorded 4,497 homicides last year, nearly double the number of five years ago. Kidnappings for ransom, once rare, rose to 202 cases in 2018, an eightfold jump from 2017.
SEE ALSO :Why Uganda is still the Pearl of AfricaAbout 2,500 out of a planned 3,200 cameras covering metropolitan Kampala have been installed. Huawei will eventually extend the system to all major towns in the country. But some current and former law enforcement officials are sceptical that high-tech aids such as CCTV or new forensic tools such as planned DNA and fingerprint databases will have an impact on crime. Uganda's police are poorly paid and have little investigative training, said Herbert Karugaba, a Ugandan police investigator for 17 years before he joined the UN to probe genocide and war crimes in Rwanda and Cambodia. "It's money down the drain," said Karugaba. "It is the quality of the man and woman in uniform... that matters." Police start on a monthly salary of about $150 (Sh15,500). Most prosecutors earn about $270 (27,900). Lawmakers take home around $6,500 (671,682).
SEE ALSO :Uganda cracks whip on human traffickingMost police barracks have not been renovated or expanded since colonial days. Families live in tiny circular iron cabins, often leaking, overcrowded and dirty, an internal police report said. Poor pay and living conditions encourage corruption. Ugandans frequently swap stories of police who demand bribes, meaning some crimes go unreported. At police stations, evidence moulders while cases await trial, said Mike Chibita, a former judge appointed in 2013 as director of public prosecutions. There are only 400 prosecutors in Uganda, a country of 42 million. It takes an average of four years to get a hearing, Chibita said.
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