Two events happened in the previous months that caught the attention of the Uganda Police Force. First, it was a video of high school students engaging in a dance that was adjourned sensual on a school bus during a study tour. Then later a video containing sexually implicit content involving one of Uganda’s socialites became available in the public domain.
Obviously, the Uganda Police reacted in both scenarios. Inquiries were launched by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations into the viral video of the students performing erotic dances that would impair the morality of other students as per the reckoning of the Police Spokesperson.
The investigations culminated in an order by Police to the school to suspend the students involved and the two teachers that were on duty during the trip charged with neglect to prevent a felony. The Uganda Police were equally offended by the video with the indecent exposure and a probe was launched by the same Directorate of Police.
On both occasions, the Spokesperson of the Uganda Police Force made a statement and thus reminding us how grace the situation was. Our Police’s preoccupation with minor offences at the expense of the major cases is because either no one has pointed them towards more atrocious criminal actions or they are just too inept to solve the real issues.
I will give our very serious Police Force the benefit of the doubt and believe that no one has directed them towards more pressing illegal acts in this nation. As a good citizen – that I am, I will labour to direct our dear Police to four categories of crimes that should ordinarily give them sleepless nights.
A society that does not seek to remedy its past wrongs is an immoral society devoid of any moral authority to speak against its current social ills
First, as a nation, we should be more interested in fighting crimes against women. All progressive societies should take kin interest in the welfare and protection of groups that have been marginalized throughout the ages. Women are such a group in Uganda.
Throughout history and our recent past women have been denied access to property, jobs and their bodies have been violated. These crimes continue until now. Police should devote its resource to probing cases of alleged revenge porn, assault and rape, and domestic-related instances instead of having an inquiry into consensual sexual encounters recorded on tape.
A society that does not seek to remedy its past wrongs is an immoral society devoid of any moral authority to speak against its current social ills. If the Uganda Police considers the dances of the high school students immoral, then what should we say about the unresolved murders of women in this nation?
Secondly, the Uganda Police would be of better public utility if it tackled crimes against children and not construe mere acts that are not injurious to the welfare of children as crimes. Children are vulnerable and dependent on the adults around them, and as such they are an easy target for crime.
Crimes against children include physical, and sexual abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation and trafficking. Children in rural areas and slums have been subjected to early marriages, neglect and all sorts of sexual exploitation. The role of the Police is to offer protective services to children, arrest perpetuators and facilitate the prosecution of all children related crimes.
The events in the school bus fall short of a child crime since the much needed intention to commit a crime was nonexistent. In light of the many crimes being perpetuated against children in this nation, we need not to criminalize acts of puberty and adolescence to keep ourselves busy.
Thirdly, crimes against property. The idea of a state is that individuals yield their continued stay in the state of nature to stay under a civilized society with a government which promises protection to the individual and their property. Governments are therefore, expected to offer protection for property and they do this through laws and the enforcement of laws offered by their security organs.
The current regime’s failure to protect its people’s rights, interest, and ownership of land is egregious. The Uganda Police is complicit in the growing land grabbing cases. The Security Organs not only conspire with land grabbers by offering them protection, but also do not aid the enforcement of Court Orders.
Land grabbing is not only a violation of property rights enshrined in the Constitution, but also affects the economic life of the societies and cultural rights and sentiments attached to land. The Uganda Police should parade land grabbers with their accomplices in police, but not teachers whose only error was being on a bus with students.
If the Uganda Police considers the dances of the high school students immoral, then what should we say about the unresolved murders of women in this nation?
The continued assault on public finances and abuse of public institutions are greater acts of immorality than the two highlighted events that caused the assemblage of journalists to listen to the Spokesperson of Police. The Corruption Perception Index ranked Uganda 144 out of 180 countries.
The involvement of the Uganda Police in corruption is known far and wide. Before seeking to weed the corruption of morals from the society, Police’s senior officials should seek to uproot the corruption in the institution itself that has had overreaching effects on law enforcement in this nation.
There is common knowledge that the Police is involved in corruption at all levels and the sporadic initiatives taken by the police to address the issue have not yielded much. As per the IGG and Transparency International reports the Uganda Police ranks as the most corrupt institution in Uganda with its occupants accused of extorting the general public. Priority should be given to curing the ills in the police force before we seek to fight that which does not affect the majority.
An accusation of whataboutism may be levied against me for trying to raise other follies in response to questions that are being asked about the students’ and socialite’s conduct. And my response is simple to these claims.
Priority should be given to crimes that affect human relations, aspirations and development of the society. The category of prevailing acts that I have highlighted above are top on the list of some of the most heinous acts that affect us all.
Our pursuit should be to eliminate these crimes and then maybe out of boredom we will have the latitude to criminalize private and innocent acts. Until then the Uganda Police should keep its hands off our children’s dances and our private consensual sex interactions.
Interesting read: I Love My Arts Teacher But Does My Government Love Them Equally?
Author: Emmanuel Luwaga
Emmanuel Luwaga is a lawyer, passionate writer, debate coach and adjudicator.
In November 2020, 54 people were killed both directly and indirectly by the armed forces in this country. No one of the concerned batted an eye. Recent videos of criminals caught on the public CCTV cameras- robberies and a van ramming into people, on the road and none of them flinches. It seems obvious to me that the police in this country is not interested in fighting crime. Instead they watch as the public tears itself apart by blaming victims of electoral violence.
Indeed, even when evidence is open for review, the concerns of those affected by senseless violence and misuse of power are left unchecked or completely ignored which only negatively affects the growth of this nation.