Rights groups have tasked government to suspend recruitment of crime preventers ahead of the February 18th general elections.
The groups that include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Network Uganda, Chapter Four Uganda and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative say suspending crime preventers is critical for preventing violence during the electoral period.
They argue that this will also show the country’s commitment to nonpartisan policing and respect for human rights.
They further note that despite being a volunteer force, in practice, crime preventers are strongly affiliated with the ruling NRM party and have acted in partisan ways, carried out brutal assaults and extortion with no accountability.
Senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch Maria Burnett says these forces need to be regulated, impartial, effectively trained, and held accountable to the highest standards if they take on policing functions.