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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Why #African #dictators can't do away with the 'idle and disorderly' law


The offence of being Iddle and Disorderly is one of the strong weapons that African dictatorial regimes use to suppress political dissent and agitation. 

 It mostly targets the unemployed youth who are the major victims of poor economic mismanagement that leaves them with no economic prospects.   

This law gives the police powers to arrest anyone whom they suspect could be in some public place with the aim of airing out his graviences against the regime.  

To disguise this, the police after areesting the victins they prefer against them crininal charges of being idle and disorderly.      

In Uganda, the military regime often carries out security swoops in urban centres to arrest and detain youths on the pretext of improving security.  Even at a local level of a lsmall police post  and individual police officers often carry out security swoops in their areas of operation where they arrest and detain such youths simply as a way of generating some cash to boost their meagre salaries.  

During and at the conclusion of such security swoops, those victims who can afford to instantly buy their freedom are set free before they even reach the police post or station;  those who can't afford to pay instantly are taken to the police station from where they are assisted to make telephone contacts with their relatives and friends who bring the money to pay for their freedom; while those who can't afford to buy their freedom are either detained without trial and later released or taken to court on charges of being Idle and Disorderly and remanded.  

Among those arrested in such security swoops are both petty and hardcore criminals but because of the I'll motive behind the whole plan, they often get away with their criminality hence the escalation of crime.      

In all the ongoing arrests of youths in different parts of Uganda, the regime police has only one substantive criminal charge - Idle  and Disorderly. 

This is the charge that is used on such victims because freedom of assembly and peaceful protests are guaranteed by the constitution. 

During the campaigns for the just concluded presidential campaigns, Museveni decreed that the police should stop arresting Ugandans on charges of being idle and disorderly.  He argued that:  "......how can one be idle and disorderly in his own country."

Obviously as the main beneficiary, he was not being sincere in his decree but was simply playing populism in order to win over the urban unemployed youths' vote. 

Otherwise, that law which is only applicable to urban centres will have to remain in place.   On the other hand, he may have to rebrand it moreover he already enacted other laws that allow his repressive police to arrest and detain in the name of state security.    

INFORMATION IS POWER

First published by Change of Guards Blog on February 29, 2016

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