By Stephen Twinoburyo
The death of Ugandan police officer, Assistant Inspector of Police Ariong was unfortunate and unnecessary. His death should never have occurred and more so the manner in which he was murdered. That he was on duty is non-debatable. Whether he was on a mission to protect civilians or terrorise them is debatable. However whatever mission he was on, the people he was deployed among could not view him as a friend considering the violence the police force he served has come to be associated with. Probably the current police force is the most brutal, most politically abused, most inhumanely treated by their masters yet daftly compliant and most disliked in Uganda’s history.
Now all and sundry within the NRM government are suddenly noticing a death that has occurred during a demonstration – in fact a walk that was supposed to be peaceful. These are people that have been masters of killings and to them a single death hardly raises alarm – and in many incidences celebrate deaths that have occurred on their hands. Now we hear this nonsense of them being very concerned. What utter rubbish! Everybody who wields authority, from the president, to the prime minister and so on, are now issuing threats and talking violence. This is a language that they have come to be associated with for years now. Don’t they realise that their language and actions lead to the situation we are seeing now? Don’t they realise that that Ugandans are fed up of the violence and threats of violence that are constantly rained from the top?
The president appeared in a shack that his government provides to a senior police officer as a home and, as Ugandans have come to know him, went on to allot threats to whichever direction he rolled his eyes to and appeared unashamed at the squalor surrounding him that he provides his police officers. The entourage of his security personnel could have easily outnumbered the immediate slum neighbourhood, with his motorcade of 50 plus vehicles dancefully negotiating their way over mud and potholes to the slain policeman’s home. One shudders to imagine how the constables live. Yet these poor souls are released almost on a daily basis to wreck terror on their brothers and sisters in the name of the leadership that has lost touch not only with the masses but even with itself.
If the government were concerned about the police force, they would have not only respected them, but they would have also provided better for them. Now all they are trying to do is gain political capital out of this man’s death and get an leeway for random clampdowns simply because the demonstration he had gone to reign terror upon was organised by the opposition. The president is now urging the police to deal with the opposition ruthlessly. Then there’s this excuse of a minister (of State for Internal Affairs, James Baba) that was calling upon the slain officer’s body to be taken to parliament for display. Sometimes one gets a sense that some of these people are simply picked from the gutters and made ministers to yap whatever they think will sound pleasant to their out of touch master. Would taking the body to parliament have brought peace to Ugandans or joy to the bereaved family?
The Uganda government are the number 1 instigators of violence in the country and many of the problems we see in the country begin with them. It is them to change first if the situation in the country is to improve.