Monday, July 3, 2017

PICTURES: Who will protect the property of #Ugandans?

The constitution of Uganda mandates the Uganda Police to protect the lives and property of Ugandans. However, ever since Museveni privatised the former Uganda Police by turning it into a coercive tool of his autocratic regime, the lives of Ugandans have been left at the mercy of God. Apart from Museveni and his close cohorts, anybody else in Uganda knows that he or she can be easily physically harmed or loose his or he life any time to murder. The most painful part of it is that there is no Willingness to find the culprits. Museveni has hypocritically repeatedly stated that the police has been infiltrated by criminals.
The Police kidnap, torture, maim, kill with impunity in a wider scheme by the regime to keep Ugandans in fear. We have repeatedly highlighted these incidents and will continue to do so. Just this week Aline the Security forces have shot and injured three people in Mbale two of whom are teenage students, in Ntoroko district the top security managers shot dead two locals, in Kasese they shot dead a lorry driver and in Rakai police has shot and injured a senior two students of Kacheera Secondary School, Hassan Namara.
What about the January 2015 shooting by the police of a senior two students of Kabale-Sanja Secondary School, Duncan Ssewanyana? In general, the security personnel have a licence to shoot, maim and kill.
Ugandans have given up on the right to life and continue to live on the mercy of God. Our topic of discussion today is the right to property. Members of the security forces have taken a center stage in determining who can own what. They are conniving with criminals to steal, rob, and grab property of Ugandans with impunity.
They have been repeatedly cited in high profile armed robberies, theft, land grabbing, and malicious destruction of property through arson. We have highlighted the rampant and mysterious incidents of fire breakouts that target private schools and markets as part of the wider scheme to grab land and enforces poverty.
Now, look at this madness targeting commercial motorcycles commonly known as Boda Boda. The Police finds a lot of pride in carrying out raids to impound thousands of suspected stolen motorcycles but forget that their primary mandate is to protect such property from being stolen. The commercial motorcycle transport has become a factor of productions as it employs tens of thousands while millions of Ugandans directly and indirectly benefit from the industry. It has been made a tool of manipulation by selfish political players but have not guaranteed its physical security. The police without shame repeatedly state that these motorcycles account for a bigger percentage of the accidents in the country instead of putting in place proper regulatory measures. The riders have greatly been victims of armed robbers who in most cases leave their victims physically harmed or dead but the regime has not adequately come out to guarantee their safety.
Instead of providing the physical security to the industry, the security forces have instead opted to exploit its vulnerability. They only harass, intimidate and arbitrarily arrest the riders for purposes of extortion and to dissuade them from supporting the opposition. The security forces look the other way when the riders are being robbed, maimed and killed by robbers but only turn up and pretend to be carrying out security operations to recover suspected stolen motorcycles. This is because security officers benefit more from the later action as they steal the impounded motorcycles and their spare parts. Regular security swoops have also been carried out under the guise of enforcing traffic regulations but on the contrary such operations are meant to extort from their victims.
To clearly illustrate the above arguments, just take a look at the following sample incidents;
  1. In August 2003 a total of 1,037 motorcycles were impounded in Kampala by the Police to curb theft.
  2. In February 2010, a total of 500 motorcycles were impounded in a joint police and CMI operation covering the districts of Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Bushenyi, Kasese, and Bundibugyo. One of the motorcycle was recovered from a soldier attached to the army 305 brigade at Hoima and it had earlier been robbed from a rider whose dead body had been found around Golf Course in Kampala.
  3. In August 2014 the Police in Lira recovered 33 motorcycles allegedly stolen from different parts of the country. The police advised people to come to Lira and identify their stolen motorcycles. The swoop followed the killing of 10 riders in a short period of six months.
  4. In August 2014 the police in Kampala invited people to the police headquarters to identify the thousands of motorcycles it had for some time been impounding from in and around Kampala. According to police, the motorcycles were part of the lot that had been unclaimed after being involved I'm accidents. This was two weeks before auctioning them.
  5. In June 2016 the Kampala Metropolitan Police impounded over 5,000 motorcycles for traffic offences in a week-long operation and it was reported that some stollen ones were also recovered.
  6. In October 2016 URA disclosed that it was losing revenue at a rate of 200M per month due to a motorcycle smuggling racket to DRC through Kasese alone. That an average of 100 motorcycles were being impounded per month.
  7. In November 2016 a police security swoon in Kabaale netted 14 riders and 27 motorcycles. The police alleged that the riders are conniving with criminals to rob, steal and rape from their victims.
  8. In February 2017 a joint operation by Police and URA netted 110 motorcycles over traffic related offences.
  9. A March 2017 police crime report indicated that more than 516 cars and 395 motorcycles were stolen from Uganda in 2016 and sold to DRC. The Director of INTERPOL disclosed that on average one motorcycle is smuggled to DRC every day. The 2013 crime report indicated that 792 motor vehicles were stolen within the first six months. The same report indicated that in 2015 alone 23 Isuzu Elfu trucks were stolen from Mbarara and smuggled to Tanzania by a one Kasozi, a Bukoba based car robber.
  10. In May 2017 police in Buyende claimed to have recovered 50 suspected stolen motorcycles.
  11. In May 2017 police in Busoga region impounded 120 suspected stolen motorcycles; 78 of them were packed at CPS Namutumba while 42 were at Busembatya.
  12. Currently, the police in Kampala is carrying out raids aimed at recovering suspected stolen motorcycles.
The above incidents are just a tip of the iceberg. The big question is why focus on recovering and impounding instead of preventing and protecting. The police are not also telling Ugandans how many motorcycles stolen from neighboring countries end up in Uganda.
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