Museveni Orders Police to Stop Using Mobile Phones for Emergencies

President Yoweri Museveni has once again directed police officers to stop using mobile phones when conducting emergency operations.

“When you use a mobile phone you are only communicating to one person,” he reminded the police, saying they must stick to radio communication network.

The president who was delivering his State of the Nation Address before Parliament on Friday afternoon explained that in an emergency operation, communication on police radio enables all those involved to know what is going on simultaneously. He was making a brief review of Tuesday’s tragic assassination attempt on the former Chief of Defence Forces and Minister of Works General Katumba Wamala, whose car was showered with bullets that instantly killed his daughter and driver in Kampala.

The president illustrated the limited effectiveness of mobile phones by citing scenarios when territorial commanders (like DPCs) are unreachable on their phones as they could even be asleep. But when communication is by radio, the DPC can continue sleeping as others on the network respond to the emergency.

The president also took issues with police for underutilizing the security CCTV camera system which was expensively acquired using a commercial loan, unlike the usual governmental borrowing at concessional rates from development financial institutions. The city CCTV cameras were bought with a $120million commercial loan from Standard Bank.

Museveni criticized police officers for only using the CCTV camera for retrieving videos after a crime has been committed for “postmortem” purposes trying to see how it happened. Instead, the president insists, officers manning the command centre should be vigilantly monitoring the camera feeds so as to alert the network of suspicious events and actual attacks so that they can be responded to in real time.

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