Sadness as Election Police Constables Get Laid Off

1823 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Today, there was an air of dejection at Gulu central police station today as the over 1,000 constables were laid off many, with the thought of turning unemployed again.

 There has been tears of sadness as thousands of recently recruited election police constables have ben sent home in Hoima and Gulu districts.

The police constables were elected in all districts ahead of the 2011 general election. They were used to maintain peace during the polls that had been feared by many that they could be turbulent.
In Hoima, 250 police constables were sent home. The District Police Commander, Augustine Kasangaki, ordered them to handover their uniforms and all other Uganda Police Force belongings and told to go back home pending their re-call.

Each of them was given a package of 330,000 shillings.
However the constables say they are not happy with the move to abruptly send them away.

Geoffrey Barongo, a resident of Kigorobya accuses the police of unfairness and giving them empty promises. Barongo says at the time of their recruitment they were told that they will be permanently employed in the police force but wondered why they were hastily told to go back home.
Emmanuel Tumwesige, a former bodaboda cyclist in Hoima town, says he abandoned his job knowing he had secured a better and permanent one in the police force. He blames the police officials for not telling them the truth.
Other constables looked visibly disappointed as they stared at the heap of returned uniforms at Hoima police barracks.

DPC Kasangaki refused to comment on the matter referring the press to the regional police commander for Midwestern, Marcellino Wanitho.
Wanitho allayed fears among the police constables that they had been permanently laid off. He said they would remain as crime preventers in their respective villages working hand-in-hand with the police as they await their return to work.

In Gulu more than 200 of them were also sent home. Moses Muluya, the District Police Commander, thanked them for the good work they did during the elections.

Muluya said it was not in the interest of the force to lay them off but financial constraints have forced them to do so.

The DPC assured them that they stand a chance to be recalled and absorbed into the police force once funds become available.

He appealed to them not to misuse the training they received to break the law but to be good ambassadors of the police force within their communities through community policing and reporting any crimes to the authorities.

He warned that whoever gets involved in crime will not escape the long arm of the law. Most of them wore sad faces as they listened on.

Joseph Okello, one of the constables, said his hopes for employment had been dealt a deadly blow. He said he is contemplating seeking legal redress against the government with the help of Uganda Law Society and FIDA.

Another constable, Richard Okak, said he was disappointed to learn about their lay-off over the radio on Tuesday night yet they had worked that day without any signs.

Alex Byalaga, a constable regretted that he had resigned his job as a guard at one of the private security organizations to take up the police employment.

Martin Amoru, the northern Uganda Regional Police Commander, said the constables had completed their specified duties and deserved to be laid off. He denied that the action would lower the capacity of the police force to ensure law and order.