Kampala, Uganda | URN | Although President Yoweri Museveni said that traffic officers will be armed, police say they don’t have enough pistols for individual traffic police officers to be armed while carrying out their duties.
President Museveni on Sunday 6, June 2021 said traffic officers will be armed or paired with armed officers in a bid to contain cases of insecurity following an assassination attempt against former army commander Gen Katumba Wamala which left his daughter and driver dead.
In compliance with the president’s directive, police is sticking with the pairing of traffic officers with armed personnel from general duties or the Field Force Unit (FFU).
Last week, unknown gunmen riding on two motorcycles opened fire at Gen Katumba Wamala’s UPDF Land cruiser along Kisota road in Kampala, causing the death of his daughter Brenda Nantongo and driver Haruna Kayondo, leaving the general with injuries and a bullet stuck in his body that the doctors are still figuring out how to remove safely.
In his address on the COVID-19 situation in the country, Gen Museveni also said Gen Katumba’s attackers who rode on two motorbikes encountered a traffic officer who tried to stop them as they fled the scene on the Kisota-Kulambiro road in Kampala, but were able to escape because the officer was not armed.
“These fellows who attacked Gen Katumba met the traffic police but the traffic police were not armed, that’s how they ran away,” Mr. Museveni said. “These people took advantage of our laxity. Now they have alerted us. The traffic police will be armed or paired with armed people.”
According to Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, in the past, traffic police officers have been paired with Field Force Unit (FFU) or general duty officers while on the road and the situation will remain as it has been since they don’t have enough weapons (pistols) for all traffic policemen in the country.
He explained that currently, it’s only District and Divisional Traffic Commanders as well as the Regional Traffic Commanders that are armed by the virtue of being senior officers that they are entitled to pistols.
“It is going to remain that way until we acquire a sufficient number of pistols to arm the traffic officers,” explained Enanga. “There is no way you can give a traffic officer an SMG rifle to the same time carry out traffic duties. You need something convenient. The pairing with general duty officers will continue for now.”