PARLIAMENT: Members of the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs have called for halting of the implementation of the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras until a thorough review of the multibillion project has been conducted.
This proposal following the presentation of a Shs26 billion supplementary request by the Uganda Police Force which is seeking funds for the maintenance of CCTV equipment under Phase I and Phase II of the project.
While meeting different security agencies led by the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi on Tuesday, 28 March 2023, the MPs criticised the quality and non-functionality of some CCTV cameras, saying it is unjustifiable for government to continue funding the project.
Erute South Member of Parliament, Hon. Jonathan Odur branded some of the installed CCTV cameras as “dummies” which cannot retrieve any footage.
“CCTV cameras should not warrant a supplementary budget. This issue should be put on hold so that we analyse the state of these cameras. Some of them are actually dummy cameras which do not work,” Odur said.
In 2019, Parliament approved a government request to borrow US$104 million from Standard Chartered Bank to finance the National CCTV Network Expansion Project.
Hon. Bashir Lubega (NRM, Mubende Municipality) said there is need to review the entire CCTV project before more money is disbursed.
The Chairperson of the committee, Hon. Rosemary Nyakikongoro said the Police needs to be investigated as far as the project is concerned.
“This time the investigators are going to be investigated particularly on this CCTV project because one time, a police officer was killed near the CCTV camera but you could not bring the pictures of the criminals,” Nyakikongoro said.
She tasked the police leadership to justify why government should continue spending money on non-functional cameras.
“I think it is not a matter of rushing to buy cranes that will be used to maintain these dummy cameras. Instead, we should spend on quality cameras,” she said.
Commissioner of Police and acting Director, ICT, Yusuf Sewanyana, said the quality of the footage and longevity of the cameras is usually affected by dust and rain which he said calls for timely maintenance.
“For example in Mubende, the cameras were 100 per cent performing but the challenge was simply dust which has been addressed. Even those affected by rain have been replaced,” Sewanyana said.
Police requires Shs187 billion to implement Phase III of the CCTV project that will fill existing gaps within the Kampala Metropolitan Police and other areas across the country.
The Under Secretary of the Uganda Police Force, Aggrey Wunyi said Phase III will not be realised due to financial shortfalls.
The Police has been allocated Shs830.6 billion for the Financial Year 2023/ 2024 against a revised budget of Shs975.4 billion in the current financial year.
Parliament of Uganda