Monday, August 22, 2016


In recent weeks the police and the judiciary have found themselves in a near death clench as each tries to assert its authority.

In one incident it is alleged the police is shielding one of their own, former Central Police Station commander Aaron Baguma from prosecution for his alleged role in the torture and eventual murder of businesswoman Dona Katushabe last year.

The police this week said Baguma would appear in court but this is only after Buganda Road Chief Magistrate issued criminal summons for him to appear before his court.

As if that is not enough, the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura is involved in a case where he along with several other police officers are being prosecuted by private lawyers for their role in the beating of members of the public, during the return home of opposition leader Kizza Besigye last month.

Besigye had been detained in prison on various charges since May and was released on bail in July.
On the day, last week, that Kayihura was supposed to appear before the Makindye courts, mobs in support of him disrupted proceedings.

The High Court ruled on Wednesday that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) should take over the case from the private lawyers.

"The happenings have larger implications for the nation and speak directly to the two principles, that no one is above the law and the separation of powers of government...

From a lay man’s perspective, for this country or any country to work there has to be an impartial adherence to laws on which the citizens have agreed and are willing to subject themselves to. The only way this will happen is if there is universal observance of the law.

A steep slippery slope is begun if discretion is seen to be shown to one group or another in regard to who follows the rules or not.

The police who operate under the cloak of the law, to enforce the very law should appreciate this more than anyone else. Without a law their legitimacy is called into question.

To the general public a perceived favouritism or breakdown in enforcement of the law can lead to mobs taking the law into their own hands leading to anarchy.

The recent events in the US serve as a good illustration of what happens when the police lose their legitimacy in the eyes of the public they serve.

This year 676 people have been killed by the police in the US according to a tally kept by The Guardian website. The backlash has been that more than 60 police officers have been killed during the same duration.

This is a situation that is not only unsustainable but is in danger of spiralling badly out of control.
That a country with more robust institutions as the US can be on the perceived brink of disaster should be a pointer for us here in Uganda.

Our constitution, which forms the basis of all our laws is barely 20 years old and has already suffered some stern tests. Which is as it should be, because its potential will not be fulfilled unless it’s tested.

"That being said it is not the constitution that is the guarantor of peace, but more our inherent good will. There are not enough law enforcement agents to peer around every corner of our lives to ensure we are towing the line. We are a peaceful society because we choose to observe the law. That however is not a permanent situation, especially when the new normal slides towards lawlessness...

In school they told us that the school rules are made for the “bad” kids, as the “good” kids don’t need to refer to them since they can tell good from bad behaviour.

The overwhelming consensus should be in that direction.

Good behaviour, with the law as a pointer, should be observed by everybody, especially those we look to for example.

No comments:

Post a Comment