Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), once again, found itself facing the wrath of ordinary citizens after the organisation’s law enforcement officers chased a woman to her death in Nakivubo channel.
Olivia Basemera, 38, was a handkerchief vendor trying to escape from a KCCA law enforcement crew when she met her death.
The callous reaction of the KCCA officers, who drove off as Basemera lost her life, sparked off an angry reaction from city dwellers, including vendors and boda boda riders.
The initial reaction by KCCA, especially through the statement released by its communications desk, caused further uproar, with many saying the city authority was taking an otherwise grave matter lightly. Over the weekend, following public pressure, KCCA moved to redeem itself.
The authority arrested four of its law enforcement officers involved in the incident that led to the death of Basemera, a mother of three. Yet this is not the first time that the actions of KCCA law enforcement officers have caused harm to ordinary Ugandans and triggered intense public distress.
Sometime in 2014, two-year-old Ryan Ssemaganda was crushed by a KCCA vehicle after his mother, Madinah Namutebi, had been arrested by the authority’s law enforcement officers for illegally selling fruits and other items on Kampala streets.
In another incident caught on camera, KCCA law enforcement officers brutally bundled a mother and her child onto a pick-up truck, injuring her in the process.
Kampalans have also not forgotten the 2012 shooting in Luzira during an eviction exercise conducted by the late George Agaba, who was by then the KCCA director for physical planning.
These and other incidents that have happened outside the glare of media cameras clearly show that a lot is wrong with the way KCCA conducts its law enforcement activities.
Why should ordinary Ugandans be subjected to such horrifying torture in their own capital city? We hope the arrest of the law enforcement officers involved in Basemera’s death is not merely a public relations ploy.
KCCA needs to overhaul its law enforcement methods, review the personnel it deploys and set up fresh engagement procedures. The current methods are clearly causing more harm than good. The time to clean house is now.