Police Officers Among those injured as vetting exercise turns chaotic

By Melechezedeck Ejakait

Scores of people, including Administration Police officers sustained injuries on Wednesday in Teso South constituency in Busia County after a national identity card vetting exercise turned chaotic.

Area police boss Paul Odede told the press four Administration Police officers sustained slight injuries after angry youths pelted them with stones, amid claims officers from the registration of persons department are  refusing to vet them due to lack of requisite documents like birth certificates .

He said his officers were called in to guard the vetting committee at Amukura divisional headquarters in Simbachei after forceful attempts by the affected youths to get vetted.

“This is a border county and we cannot compromise the security of the country by allowing people without proper documentation to be vetted” he said.

The Deputy County Registrar of Persons John Kichamu blamed Amukura Central Ward Representative Patrick Ombo for the altercation after he brought a number of youths and forcefully wanted them to be vetted without following the set procedure.

“Over 1000 applicants had turned up for the vetting exercise but only 300 possessed birth certificates. When the MCA arrived with a group of youths, he wanted to be vetted at the vetting center, we had already attended to all of them,” Kichamu said.

He continued “Our intention was to finish with them first, before attending to the other applicants lacking documents. However the ward representative started inciting the group, claiming the president recently directed that all those aged 18 and above should be registered with or without proper documentation.”

However, Ombo refuted the incitement claims, saying he was only concerned after the committee vetted applicants aged between 18 and 24 years, and declined to vet those above 24 years demanding they produce birth certificates.

One of the injured youths who declined to be named said the police officers started beating them indiscriminately; forcing them to run away, though only a few of them were involved in the incident.