Uganda Police Brutality


1.1 Amid Uganda's rising statistics in regard to Global Police Brutality, JEEMA urges the general public not to necessarily blacklist only police authorities such as Commandant Andrew F. Kawesi and Omara, but squarely blame it on principle architect Mr. Museveni. On several occasions, including during this year's Heroes Day celebrations on June 8, Museveni glorified the reckless application of teargas in public places as an antidote to his political opponents. His public adoration of the heinous actions has so excited police personnel that this week on June 20, they physically opened cans of teargas into the eyes of Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago and other members of the public. They also threw over, disease-contaminated water into the public in addition to stopping people from proceeding with their income-generating operations. This alone was an abuse of individual dignity and enough to stop any potential capital investor from doing business in Uganda. But the cops continued with the rampage in Mityana on June 21, spraying teargas among people gathered to listen to Democratic Party leaders, a political party duly registered to conduct political activities in this country. Either by commission or omission, the Uganda Police Force (UPF) that Museveni has since purged of professional personnel (whom he used to undermine) in favor of loyal young regime cadres, has failed to conceptualize the reality that a political opponent for him is not necessarily an enemy of the state. They have failed to distinguish the personality of Museveni, the politician from the presidency of this country. Hence they have failed to appreciate that for a legitimate opposition politician to potentially galvanize massive support to marshal power from Museveni is not a criminal offence in the Penal Code Act of this Nation. It's why not a single case has successfully been secured against political activists in courts of law, let alone police's abuse of their dignity with impunity. Hence legitimate political activism has never and will never justify the police brutality that our country is witnessing today.

1.2 Beside, the Freedom of Assembly enshrined in the 1995 Constitution, it's an accepted global norm that popular leaders are greeted by people whenever they appear in public. Ugandans vividly recall that nearly three decades ago when Mr. Museveni was still popular, he enjoyed people's attention whenever he rode the highways. If it wasn't a public nuisance then, why should it be today after he has lost popular appeal, starting with the capital, Kampala?

1.3 JEEMA, therefore, wishes to appeal to the general public to remain calm—well aware that all the perpetuators of the brutality meted at them, will and must be brought to book to account for their actions. It's a matter of time and surely they won't escape the well recorded justice.

Conspiracy to murder innocent Ugandans!
1.4 Ugandans continue to be murdered in cold blood. The latest incidents involve a New Vision Journalist, Thomas Pere who was slain on June 16, 2013. On May 20, Kalori Kate (80), a resident of Kiganda Village, in Rakai District became the 20th victim murdered in similar circumstances in as few months as six in that area alone. This strange phenomenon of assassinations has raged since last year, with parts in Buganda region most affected. Our deep condolences go to the families and friends of the deceased.

1.5 The fact that all the cases have been brought to the attention of concerned bureaucrats but at best received lukewarm attention, without a single conclusive investigation report to that effect, suggests a conspiracy in which the state could be factored. Hope from Ugandans fades the more when, instead of expecting enhanced security measures from the state, are just reminded of previous regimes, as though atrocities then justify those of today!

1.6 JEEMA wishes to reiterate that if there was indeed a true president of the people by the people and for the people, such gruesome conducts should have featured prominently in this year's State of the Nation Address and express orders would be issued for thorough investigations into these actions.

1.7 There is, however, glaring evidence that such painful lose of precious lives is not a serious concern to the present administration. There is something for the general public to learn from this: after lose of popular support, the NRM administration has turned the country into a police state, whose survival is sustained upon intimidation, blackmail and brutalizing the public using the Para-military police apparatus. It's therefore, incumbent to every Ugandan to act against these actions, using all available legitimate means.

Uganda Cranes
1.8 JEEMA applauds the gallant sons of this nation who did us proud by coming from a goal down to trounce the national team of Angola 2:1 at Mandela National Stadium last weekend. Our faith in the team remains unequivocal and we believe, notwithstanding the halfhearted government support, the team will sail over upcoming challenges to the Brazil 2014 World Cup finals. Given the critical importance of sport in general, however, JEEMA suggests that in future, a fully fledged Sport Ministry be made independent from that of Education.

Swaib K. Nsereko
Email: [email protected]