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Tighten gun control measures to disarm trigger-happy people

Within 10 days, 33-year-old Kenneth Akena has been deprived of his youthful life, shot at a public place in Kampala; police officers Simon Niwamanya and Godfrey Wafula have been gunned down by their colleagues at Jinja’s Nalufenya’s police station; 14-year-old Umaru Batambuze has been shot by a guard at the palace of Busoga cultural leader (Kyabazinga) William Gabula Nadiope, along Jinja-Kamuli road, for allegedly stealing a jackfruit.

This is to mention just a few of the cases that have made it to prominence in the media. Gun violence is now a major concern in Uganda. Over the decades, guns have become a way of life in this country because they have been portrayed as the ultimate harbinger of security. Thus, our sense of security doesn’t seem to go beyond guns.

One of the things that tend to shock visitors in this country is the amount of guns on display. Almost everywhere you turn in Kampala, there is a mean-looking man holding a gun.

Every business premise hires private security guards who are armed. No wonder private security business is booming. Yet robberies and burglaries continue unabated.

Every top government official’s residence is guarded by gun-toting policemen or soldiers who also accompany such officials in their cars and in public places. And Ugandans have been conditioned to believe that this is the ideal way to maintain security. However, in some of the most secure countries on earth, including those from whom we import our weapons, guns are not easily visible.

Apart from the United States whose gun culture and the attendant violence continues to shock the rest of the world, most civilised countries keep guns away from the public eye, unless there is an emergency.

In Uganda’s case, with guns being depicted as the ultimate source of protection for person and property, as well as lax gun control measures, many individuals have acquired firearms. Do they really need them? Is that the path we want our country to tread?

No. There is no evidence that more guns mean more security for person and property. Uganda needs tighter arms control measures to stem gun violence before it explodes out of control.

  • Written by Editorial