Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#Uganda - Is mob justice criminal only when the victim is an #M23 fighter?

Last week in Kisoro town two businessmen were charged with murder of a former M23 rebel fighter and remanded.  Bertin Birori described as a Congolese refugee residing in Kisoro town was lynched by a mob on the night of 28th January 2017 after he was caught stealing a TV set in the house of one of the accused.  This is a very big shift in policy because the regime has always kept a blind eye on violent and gruesome acts of mob justice throughout the country.  Maybe it is because of the special status that the regime accords to the Tutsi M23 fighters.  It should be noted that Kisoro is now a center of renewed activity by M23 rebels returning to launch a fresh rebellion in Congo.

Under Museveni's military dictatorship, mob justice is the order of the day.  It takes the form of stonings, beatings, matchette attacks, burning alive, stripping suspects of clothes and parading them on the streets and destruction of property.  The most common is lynching (gruesome mob murder) that mainly targets suspected robbers, thieves, witches, defilers, criminal trespassers, and murderers.  The major underlying issue is release on bail of suspects by courts and bond by the police - a constitutional practice that is misunderstood by some members of the public.

Museveni has been the leading advocate against granting of bail in his effort to target his political opponents that he repeatedly detains on concocted charges.  Much as the public has lost confidence in the criminal law enforcement agencies, the regime uses such violent scenes to keep the public in fear.

His regime cohorts have also re-echoed his opposition to bail thus inciting mob justice.  In August 2016 at Luwero Town Council offices, now Minister Hajji Naduli rallied residents of Luwero to revive mob
action against suspects citing an earlier operation that he led as the District leader in 2009 that left five suspects lynched. 

In October 2013, the Lyantonde district Chairman, Fred Muhangi urged Boda Boda cyclists to lynch and burn suspected thieves.  As of April 2001, the then Police Chief Gen. Katumba Wamala estimated that more than 1000 people had been killed by mob violence since 1991. The then National Political Commissar (NPC), Cryspus Kiyonga called mob justice "another type of insecurity".   Contrary to what Museveni wants us to belief, the criminal justice system is okay and not different from other civilised societies elsewhere in the world.

Here below, find a few of the gruesome incidents of mob justice that have gone unpunished.

1.  In May 2016 three suspected armed robbers were lynched by an angry mob in Rubaga, Kampala.

2.  In August 2016 Bodaboda riders in Rukungiri town lynched a robbery suspect, Kafeero, before setting his body on fire and destroying all his property.

3.  In September 2016 an angry mob in Kyanja Parish in Kampala lynched a suspected car robber and seriously injured another.

4.  In December 2016 a mob in Mukono lynched a senior army officer, Lt. Col. Kebe Nepekele, over suspicion that he wanted to steal from a mobile money shop.

5.  In December 2016, an angry mob in Kabaale burnt to death a man after suspecting him to be a thief by a shop keeper.

6.  In October 2016 in Kamira S/county in Luwero an angry mob lynched  Edward Ssekate after he was found stealing pineapples.

7.  In October 2016 in Kamira S/county Luwero, two brothers, Kitaka and Sembewo were lynched by an angry mob after they were found in possession of suspected stolen property.  The two slain brothers
brought the total number lynched in a period of two months to eight.

8.  In May 2016 in Maziba, Kabaale three unidentified people were lynched after they were suspected to have stolen 120kg of maize.

9.  In April 2015, Makerere university students lynched their alumni, David Ojok Otim suspecting him to be a thief after he had gone to claim his money for computer repair services.

10.  In February 2017 Aroon Musawo a student of MUBS was lynched by fellow students and Bodaboda riders after he was mistaken for a thief.

11.  In February 2017 a retired soldier, Pte Waiswa Kabalindi was lynched for attempting to steal a mattress in Itonko village, Namutumba.

12.  In July 2012 Paulo Semanda was lynched and his body set ablaze by angry residents of Luwero Town Council for suspected murder.

13.  A 2009 Police Annual Crime Report recorded 232 mob action cases many of which resulted in death.

14.  In February 2017 Pastor Severino Lukoya narrowly survived lynching by angry residents in Agago for false prophesies.

15.  In April 2016 Paddy Aroho was lynched by an angry mob in Hoima town after they suspected him to be a motorcycle thief.

16.  A police crime report covering Jan - Sept 2015 revealed 180 victims of mob lynching.  Of these, theft took 46, robbery 22, murder 10, house breaking 10, witchcraft 5, land disputes 5, and Kampala city
accounted for 40 incidents.

17.  In January 2011 a Managing Director of a city laboratory, Yusuf Kigozi was lynched by an angry mob who suspected him to be a robber.

18.  In April 2004 two suspected motorcycle robbers were lynched by a mob in Ntungamo while another five survived with serious fatalities.

19.  In Dec 2009 an unidentified man suspected to have stabbed another was lynched an angry mob.

20.  The 2008 Police crime report revealed 368 cases of mob justice of which 232 were suspected of theft while 59 were suspected of murders.

21.  In April 2002 a young man suspected to be a robber was lynched by an angry mob in Kawempe, Kampala.

22.  In August 2008 an angry mob in Bwanga trading centre in Mayuge lynched three suspected robbers after cutting off their genitals and hacking them to death.  The mob grabbed them from the custody of
security officers who had arrested them.

23.  In May 2003 two suspected robbers were lynched by an angry mob and the third one seriously injured but was later on grabbed from a hospital bed and lynched too.

24.  In Sept 2009 angry residents of Obutweli village in Lira town lynched a suspected robber.

Security personnel have been exemplary in carrying out mob justice through extra judicial killings and torture of victims.  From the rounding up of villagers suspected of being rebels in northern Uganda before shooting them dead or tortured to death to burning people alive in a train wagon in Kumi.  From close range shooting dead and crashing with tanks of Karamajong women and children inside their
krals during the disarmament exercise to extra judicial killings by JATT, CMI, OPN Wembly, Flying Squad, regular police and other security outfits.

Police in Kyangwali beat to death suspect Gilbert Mukonyezi.  In Kampala RRU officers tortured to death suspect Henry Bakasamba.  In Gulu Police officers killed suspect Calvin Ocwee.  In Kisoro two SPCs beat to death Evaristo Mihigo for resisting arrest.  In Kiruhura district police shot dead two people who they wanted suspecting them of being thieves.

Just last week, in Ibanda bodaboda cyclists petitioned for police permission to allow them to lynch suspected motorcycle thieves.  The list of incidents is endless and the above is just a tip of the iceberg.

Who will put a stop to this carnage???


#Uganda - Is mob justice criminal only when the victim is an #M23 fighter?

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