There’s a deep well of public resentment at the rising crime gripping the country.
The escalation in bold murders and kidnappings in recent days seems to suggest some crime kingpins hold too much sway in urban and rural Uganda. They are unleashing terror.
Government should be concerned at the loss of its power of coercion to non-state actors and police abdication of its duty to protect people and their property. Government needs to roll out something unusual to change the status quo. It appears Uganda has placed a ridiculous low premium on human life and safety. At less than $50 (Shs 130,000) a mobster can abruptly end someone’s life!
The country is saddled with intermittent and unremitting kidnappings, armed robberies, ritual killings and cult-related violence. Nobody seems to be safe. Even the well-heeled such as ministers, members of parliament and other very important persons protected by specialized outfits such as Special Forces Command (SFC) or police feel insecure.
Indeed, there is real fear of danger across the board, regardless of the arrangements citizens make to protect themselves. When the guerilla outfit then, the National Resistance Army (NRA), captured state power under the leadership of President Museveni in 1986, one of its selling points was its ability to restore peace, and safety of citizens.
Security and peace have also been the taglines in the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) manifesto. They often assured voters that they had no match in securing citizens.
The prevailing situation is an indicator that Uganda is slowly but steadily descending into the stateless and brutish nature where no one seems to have a firm grip on violence and only the fittest survive.
All the police do is celebrate the occasional arrests they make. They parade suspected murderers and kidnappers such as Young Mulo. The government seems to have invested heavily in infrastructure such as street cameras and equipped the local defence units (LDUs) with guns and ignored the vital component of having a competent crime intelligence network.
A skilled intelligence network should have already demolished the crime and bandit cells. To think that arming LDUs with the latest weapons will bring crime under control is to descend into a realm of delusion. The very guns that are given to LDUs and other security agents are the very weapons that are hired out to the criminals to terrorize the country.
The government does not need to be reminded that the security and welfare of its citizens is its primary purpose.