A section of legislators have said that President Museveni’s loss of touch with the reality in the country is why he thinks capturing the palm-prints and the DNA of everybody can help eliminate criminality in Uganda.
The MPs said that the president’s opinions on the installation of cameras, capturing the palm-prints and DNA of everybody to curb criminality is farfetched on the basis that Museveni has been talking about the same each time a prominent person is murdered.
Museveni, in a statement following the murder of 28-year-old Susan Magara this week, suggested capturing of palm-prints and DNA of every citizen arguing that it would help curb such criminality.
Magara was kidnapped on February 7 and was found dead 21 days later. Her captors reportedly demanded for $1m (about Shs 3.5 billion) in ransom money. It is alleged that they used up to 17 Sim-cards to communicate with Magara’s family during the three-week ordeal.
“DNA records of everybody are good to compare with blood samples, sweat, sperm etc found at the scene of the crime. Palm-prints are better than thumbprints because the criminal may leave the palm-print and not a thumbprint,” Museveni said in his statement.
Some MPs including Jonathan Odur (Erute South), Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga) and Fred Baseke (Ntenjeru South) argue Uganda, a poor country struggling with a lot of other challenges cannot afford DNA and palm print capturing in addition to failure to address challenges within the heads of security among others. Last year, government ordered for a switch off of all unregistered Sim-cards following the murder of former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
“His statement on the gruesome murder of Magara had value only in as far as conveying his condolence to the bereaved family. The absence of CCTV, DNA and palm prints does not automatically prevent criminality; after all, it is the same police and other security organs personnel who shall have control over such systems,” Odur said.
Odur added: “is the absence of CCTVs, DNA and finger prints responsible for fights between his generals, unemployment, marginalization, low remuneration of civil servants, corruption and lack of political will on the side of NRM? If his best previous performance was security, which is now deteriorating, then no doubt his best is past getting behind him.”
The legislators say that Museveni’s advisors are failing him on certain issues and that he does not realize the capacity of his government in handling them, the fact that people feel the country is increasingly becoming insecure.
“How can the president try to tell Ugandans that in all centers, he will make sure that there are tracing points so that when you are captured your DNA and finger/palm prints can be stored in the data bank, where is the data bank, where is the backbone to that data bank?,” Ssekikubo said.
Baseke said that while he agrees with the president, Uganda as a country is still struggling with meager resource envelope. “It’s a good idea but how are we going to achieve it in the short? How much money are we going to put in?” Baseke said.
According to Ssekikubo, the president should be honest to Ugandans because he proposed sometime back in his state of nation address of 2016 that cameras were to be installed in several parts of the city and towns but up to now, nothing has been done as said.
“He repeated the same in 2017, in March after the murder of Kaweesi, he repeated the same, then the murders of all those prominent persons [state prosecutor Joan] Kagezi among others and now this time round the president is not telling Ugandans that criminals have mustered the art,” Ssekikubo said.
“They know that government has no way it can track them down, that’s why they can do their criminality with impunity. The president should know that country is getting impatient, the country is getting tired. We need less words, we need action,” he added.
At the funeral of Kaweesi, the president directed that because of repeated murders in the city and other towns, immediate installation of cameras in all major towns of Uganda and along the highways was to be worked on.