In Summary
  • The issue: Daring robberies
    Our view: If the government finds it useful, they can centralise locations of Mobile Money agents in manageable areas, where CCTV cameras hopefully can help police monitor such crime.

In just six months, 37 cases of attacks on mobile money agents by armed robbers have been registered countrywide, this newspaper reported yesterday.
This means that there are six cases every month; or broken down, 1.5 cases every week. More worrying is the trend in the city. For instance, at least five people have been shot dead and a dozen injured in robbery of cash in transit by mobile money agents in just three months in Kampala Metropolitan Police Area.

In the latest incident on Friday evening, four men armed with SMG rifles riding motorcycles waylaid a Mobile Money agent, Juliet Nabaasa, and her driver, Twaha Lukwago, at Balintuma Road, Kayiwa Zone in Rubaga Division at about 10pm.

The attacks come at a time when many financial institutions are embracing agent banking, whose operations are so much like the mobile money agents in the open and without security.
Many of these agents transact on behalf of, and for the banks and many times have large amounts of money with them, yet the banking institutions only provide security for their banking halls or ATM points. Now police have said the businessmen and women operating mobile money shops should find it within their means to provide their own security.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Patrick Onyango has so far said: “Attackers have been using this security lapse to waylay Mobile Money agents and rob their money. Mobile money agents should not carry large sums of money home without armed protection, especially at night.”

Yes, we agree that personal security should be the first stop. We also understand that Mobile Money agents are scattered allover and policing them maybe a cumbersome undertaking.
However, security agencies must understand that every citizen has a Constitutional right to protection by the armed forces. The citizens pay taxes from which the men and women in uniform are paid and they must ensure security of life and property of Ugandans.

Alternatively, if the government finds it useful, they can centralise locations of mobile money agents in manageable areas, where CCTV cameras – hopefully – can help police monitor such crime. It would also be useful to answer questions asked on these pages a few weeks ago on the role of CCTV cameras in fighting crime. Why are thugs carrying out such heinous acts in broad daylight and are not caught?

Lastly, the nation longs to know how far security agencies have gone with investigations into the various attacks.