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ITS TIME FOR US TO HAVE NEUTRAL CONVERSATIONS ABOUT OUR POLICE FORCE

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ITS TIME FOR US TO HAVE NEUTRAL CONVERSATIONS ABOUT OUR POLICE FORCE

Post by sol_drethedon on Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:15 pm

ITS TIME FOR US TO HAVE NEUTRAL CONVERSATIONS ABOUT OUR POLICE FORCE

Last week it was in the news. A senior police officer lined up his juniors and forced them to take an HIV test. Judging from their protests, it was very much against their will. This is a blatant abuse of human rights. In the same week the police in Kampala was kept busy dealing with protests surrounding the predicament of the Lord Mayor. They detained some for more than the constitutionally stipulated 48 hours and beat plus allegedly tortured others. This again is another case of blatant abuse of human rights .

It is very important that we focus on the state of the police which is mandated to keep law and order for we are at a point where the force has for all intents and purpose become a law breaker of some repute. We have seen them eating the food of market women who have fled the pungent smell of their tear gas. They have shot suspects in cold blood. There is documented evidence of their involvement in crimes not limited to hiring out their guns to criminals, releasing suspects in exchange for money, taking bribes, defiling and sexually abusing female suspects and many others.

Yet we have seen them being forcefully evicted from their barracks, watched their seniors beating some up on television, heard them cry about sexual harassment, know of the squalid conditions in which they live and the fact that their meager salaries many times come late. A society is in quandary when the lawmaker and enforcer is in a dilemma like the one in which the Uganda's police force finds itself. The trouble with Uganda today is that most issues are politicized. You either look at it from the government or the opposition lens, and thereafter make your conclusion

The opposition feels that the police is an extension of the NRM party intended to help perpetuate itself in power by the use of force which in most cases breaks the law. The government on the other side feels the police is doing a good job keeping law and order. In all this pulling and pushing, we have failed to answer the question of justice, law and order. Our people, including the police suffer.

The trouble begins with the welfare of the police not being taken seriously for the police is seen as a tool by the government to subdue the population. It then attracts many desperate and unsuitable people in the ranks. They endure abuse which numbs them and soon become accustomed to passing on abuse to those they encounter in the course of their duties. We all need justice one day. And by all we include those who abuse the rights of the police, the police and they that use the police to abuse the rights of others.

It happened to former Zaire, now DRC. Mobutu manipulated the police and the army to abuse the local populace and serve his own interests. A time came when he had to deal with foreign forces that facilitated an internal rebellion. All his instruments of coercion could do is lay down their weapons and take off for dear life. History has lessons for us. It is time to hold honest conversations about building a police force that keeps law and order. It does not matter when we shall achieve this but we definitely have to start on it. We have to face this responsibility one day if this society is to endure. Uganda is not ending now.

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sol_drethedon

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