On the evening of March 4, 2018, I was pleasantly surprised by a tweet on President Yoweri Museveni’s Twitter account which read as follows: “In exercise of powers granted to me by the Constitution, I have appointed General Elly Tumwine as the Security Minister. I have also appointed Mr Okoth Ochola as the Inspector General of Police (IGP). He will be deputised by Brigadier Sabiiti Muzeei.”
Worth noting is Ochola’s impeccable track record as a police officer. Justice Julia Sebutinde’s Commission of Inquiry into corruption in the Police Force found Ochola to be one of the few police officers with a clean record.
He was recommended for a promotion at that time. It is good that a seasoned police officer will be heading the police force. Ugandans had become tired of the incessant ego wars between the former minister of Security, Henry Tumukunde, and the former IGP, General Kale Kayihura.
The scandal-ridden police force was costing the country’s security and threatening to tarnish the National Resistance Movement’s greatest legacy, peace.
The numerous scandals such as the infiltration of criminal elements in police, police’s association with notorious groups such as Boda Boda 2010, and traffic officers allowing boda bodas to park on pavements were denting the police image.
Then there were cases where complainants were required to finance their own cases, police officers soliciting bribes, the recent Shs 125 billion debt incurred by police, the failure to pay suppliers to police, the establishment of crime preventers whose role has never been clearly defined, the quick release of suspects which contributed to mob justice, rampant robberies, the flimsy charges against police officers such as former Buyende district police commander Muhammad Kirumira.
Ugandans want a professional police force and, above all, to feel secure. Therefore, these changes have come at the right time. I wish the three new appointees the best in their new roles as they redeem police’s image.
Ugandans need to improve on saving culture
Cabinet recently proposed to amend the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Act to, among others, provide for mandatory contribution of all workers regard- less of the size of their employers’ enterprises.
Ugandans have had one of the worst saving cultures in the world and this is mainly attributed to our history which was characterized of war, diseases, low life expectancy, and high mortality rates, among others.
This fear of saving money has kept Ugandans in abject poverty. Uganda has the lowest savings to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, at 13.48 per cent, with majority of the population being unbanked.
The low saving rates are largely a result of traditional banking remaining out of reach for most people. Many financial institutions do not have much of their own money to give out as loans.
They depend on customer deposits to generate funds for granting loans to other customers. So, with high deposit and savings rates, this money would be used by the bank to disburse more loans which encourages investments and businesses.
In addition, savings provide security to depositors against future adversities which encourage financial discipline such as saving and creditworthiness of individuals.
Therefore, there is need to encourage and attract Ugandans to get into the financial system. In addition, local banks and other institutions such as NSSF have to introduce new financial products or instruments that respond to the saving needs of Ugandan households.
Let’s learn from Rwanda on church closures
Rwanda closed down more than 700 unsafe and noisy churches in the country. According to the government, the said churches had failed to comply with minimum requirements of building regulations and, thus risking lives of the numerous congregants they attract.
They were also contributing a lot of noise pollution. Uganda is neighbors with Rwanda and the two share a great deal in matters including religion. For instance, almost all the religions found in Rwanda are also found here in Uganda.
Whereas we have different laws regarding worship and religion, the challenges brought by these religions sometimes remain the same. We need to borrow a leaf from Rwanda and come down hard on errant churches.
Ronald Dennis Bukomba,
Tribute to women everywhere
In Genesis 26, after God created man, he saw that he was incomplete, lonely and lifeless. He saw something was missing and decided to create someone different from a man who would bring life and meaning to the man.
However much women are taken to be weak, one should always know women are the strongest and great people and God’s special creation, created for a special purpose. So, women deserve to be handled with care, not to be abused, manhandled, and harassed or killed.
In line with this year’s Women’s day theme of “press for progress”, we need to support women.
Prioritise police funding
I read with dismay about the recent reduction of funding to the police force where over 20 directorates are going to miss funding.
This was disclosed in a recent meeting held to fight criminality through rectification and building policing systems. What annoys most is the fact that the force is still grappling to clear a debt of Shs 125bn. Is government really committed to fighting crime in this country?
The police can only perform their duty of detecting and preventing crime when the critical directorates are fully facilitated and motivated.