Part II: Forging the ideology-Karl Marx in his Eleven Theses on Feuerbach stated that “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”
After successfully training and passing 700 Makerere University Students to lead in the fight against crime, the police head, Gen Kale Kayihura expressed interest for continuous engagement especially with the organizers.
We wanted to have the same concept rolled out in other universities, tertiary institutions and then countrywide.
IGP made follow ups to know whether the concept was working at the university level, he would later invite the team to his office in Naguru to share ideas on crime prevention and the role of our generation.
Through the continuous meetings that would go till wee hours of morning, we shared alot on the challenges of the youths especially of our generation and we all seemed to agree that the problem was generally lack of ideology amongst the young people.
Besides the brilliant and innovative minds, we lacked purpose and a sense of direction that could translate our potential into tangible results. If we wanted to have a crime free society we needed to have what to protect.
We needed to be productive to address the root cause of crime, unemployment. We formed a sort of study group/think tank through which we came up with four pillars of strength on which the team was to be anchored. They were mental strength, Spiritual Strength, economic strength and above all ideological strength.
IGP shared with us the second-generation policing model which community is policing in line with the police centenary celebrations of 100 plus years theme, From Colonial Policing to Community Policing.
In order to grasp the concept of community policing better, IGP often, during the meeting urged us to research, arguing that information is power, he emphasized that for us to succeed we need to anchor ourselves on the four pillars of strength.
We sub subject ourselves to a lot of research, I remember my team and I spending sleepless nights forging ideas on what would and wouldn’t work.
We our research and discussions were guided by the urge to have a lasting solution through community policing to the problem of crime and eliminating it from our communities. The team was mainly composed of students and young graduates from Makerere University.
We came up with the idea of having a retreat of students from all institutions of higher learning at Police Training School Kabalye, Masindi and presented it to the Inspector general of Police. He agreed and we never looked back.
The team had fine-tuned itself and ready to work albeit voluntarily. We gathered 300 students from various institutions and headed to Police Training School, Kabalye Masindi.
The training focused crime prevention, its causes and how we can be useful in combating it. Besides, that it also focused on building a generation of youths who would be agents of change specially to solve the problem of unemployment which had been cited as the root cause of crime.
His Excellency the President passed out this first group of students that underwent training and through his address, he pointed out ideological gap as a big hindrance to development, crime was just a symptom. He urged to focus on the root cause of crime and not sole crime if our mandate was to eliminate it.
It is at the end of this training that the idea of having a national body to coordinate future activities and engagement with police was mooted with each institution having a representative. Coordinators were elected from each institution to represent and act as an ambassador to the institution.
During the meeting, various names were proposed and finally, we settled with National Youth Crime Preventers Forum. This was the name we first registered as an organization, the mandate was to coordinate crime prevention activities in schools and among the youths.
That’s how we began the massive movement of crime preventers based on the spirit of voluntarism, patriotism and the fierce passion to see a better Uganda. The idea had come and Victor Hugo would state “Nothing is as powerful as an Idea whose time has come”. The days to follow were challenging.
Blaise Kamugisha, the author, is the National Coordinator of the National Crime Preventers’ Forum – NCPF.