BY MARVIN KUSHABA
Ugandan Police have failed to fulfil their primary role which is maintenance of law and order.
The most prominent and troubling role the police have achieved is ideology of the war on crime. They have assimilated the overriding message that as long as their actions are taken in the name of the war on crime, constitutional rights can be liberally disregarded.
The police have spread the idea that doctrines and rulings that promote fairness and equality in the criminal justice system aggravate crimes and violence. Many poor Ugandans are believing that adherence to constitutional principles is incompatible with effective law enforcement.
Repressive and harshly punitive legislation is passed in the name of crime control like Public Order Management Act (POMA) that was specifically enacted to prohibit opposition rallies. The law does not apply to members of the ruling party. Courts are attacked for being too soft, and the police are encouraged to use extra-legal methods to control crimes and criminals.
Since officers have learnt that neither their own department nor the courts of law will inquire into legitimacy or constitutionality of their conduct, as long as there is evidence of crime produced, they have developed a sense of impunity with regard to illegal conduct.
The recent police’s beating of Besigye’s supporters and onlookers with electric cables and clubs on the streets of Kampala, the Kasese shooting, the special squad known as Black Mamba storming the High Court, the emergence of Crime preventer whose police professionalism is questionable – all this illustrates this challenge.
Civilians’ complaints detailing of police’s misconduct are regularly rejected.
It’s bizzare that our own courts of law are quiet at the persistence of this habit, meaning the judicial process itself now is compromised to the full vindication of human rights.