COMMENT | Samson Tinka | Media houses and a section of politicians continue to pour cold water on security agencies in relation to the numerous arrests of different people across country. These groups of people are majorly concerned with the modus operandi of the whole operation. Maybe be they have some points, however, we need to look at the issue as whole.
This operation has not been the usual known security operations. Looking at the 18th Nov 2020 riots, they pointed to a well-coordinated, facilitated and activated riot. This means that there were a number of players including funders, facilitators, advisors, implementers. The fact that big numbers were involved, makes the plan to have them complex. Certainly, the intelligence and investigations teams have a lot of work on their desks to coordinate, gather intelligence, arrest their targets, screen, charge them and have those indicted arraigned in courts.
If government or security agencies have to get to the bottom of this matter, they will need a lot of time. This therefore reminds us -the population to be a bit patient with the security forces and support them through volunteering information on the possible perpetuators of 18th Nov 2020 riots.
Over 50 people died, businesses were impacted, the government reputation was at risk, tourism was hurt as a result of these riots. Therefore, any person, organizations, companies or even governments that facilitated these riots in one way or another should be held accountable. The effects of Nov 2020 riots may stay with us for some time. Ugandans are quick to point fingers to security officers, but this is a wrong thing.
Security officers are always in their barracks, offices or homes on business as usual. They never come to streets to start or ignite riots. They come to deal with rioters. Why blame someone who may have made mistakes in response to a call to save the situation, but spare the party that started the problem?
Ugandans need to learn that security forces come in after being forced by our own violent actions. I saw images of civilians attacking policemen, distributing tyres, staging fake roadblocks, stealing, abducting women, beating up a section of people and many such act. Where in this world will the state look on as its citizen are being molested, beaten, dehumanized. That can happen.
Ugandans thought that elections madness was a form of immunity to their criminal acts and behaviors. We must appreciate that a crime doesn’t rot “ekibi tikijunda” in my language. The state may take long to act but it will certainly do. In my opinion, these numbers are still few. More will be picked up for one reason or another. I saw a number of civilians abusing, throwing stones and sticks to security officers because of political events leading to elections. Be reminded, that all these events were recorded on the CCTV national infrastructure and sooner than later, those responsible will be a guest to security agencies. Know that your personal conduct or behavior during these political campaign times may save or send you to the jail.
A growing intolerance culture
Sadly, Ugandans at all different levels, whether in homes, work place, churches, schools, political platforms no longer tolerant divergent views. Everyone respect only their views. Its me or me. This cropping up culture is un sustainable. We must learn and practice the win-win situation. It cannot be one size fits all. Most Ugandans talk a lot and listen less. Its through listening that one learns new life lessons and appreciate challenges. Children no-longer listen to their fathers, bosses shout at their subordinates, politicians lie their voters, policemen behave like semi gods etc. The culture of respect is slowly dying off. This is un sustainable in the long run. Church leaders don’t spare their sheep either. There is a need to reorient our personal conduct by removing the talk button and replace it with listening skills.
Recent increased crimes
A number of mobile money thefts involving loss of lives and car thefts as well are back on streets. Lock down had slowed down the crime crave but with normalcy slowly returning, criminals are back on duty. These events trigger security agencies to react and with full force. Ask those that have lost their beloved ones through these senseless robbers, they can never forgive security teams if they don’t pick up these people.
Imagine Maj Noel being killed other day for no offence committed, the mobile money woman among others. Security agencies mandate include looking for such people and have them in courts of law. Whereas there may be gaps during the operations to fetch these chaps, it’s important to acknowledge the need to arrest notwithstanding the shortfalls that may crop up during such operations. The Command in chief-CIC that I know will fix these gaps especially with these meetings that he has held with security bosses and other meetings that are about to be held. Threats to economic and political stability should be responded too with full force. And perhaps we shall have some innocent victims but efforts to minimize them should be seen and appreciated.
Police should always summon?
Often, there is a section of people who claim that these criminals should be summoned instead of being arrested.
This is the most ideal situation but so un realistic and untenable. It’s on record that even people don’t attend church/school/village meeting summons. How do you expect hard core criminals to respond to police summons? You risk to miss them forever.
How do you expect a criminal with military stores (uniform, guns, bullets, bombs) etc to show up on just police summons? Besides, how do you sermon someone with no known physical address or a place of aboard. This is a day dream.
Politicians should leave matters of security-to-security specialists or at least just advise when that have a contribution to make. Should Uganda turn rowdy, the violence is less segregate. It will impact on us all either directly or indirectly. Therefore, I expect all of us to denounce violence, not support crimes or criminals in any way possible, report criminals within our vicinity, support security forces in efforts to pacify our beautiful country, to provide enough resources at budgeting level to security agencies as these fellows continue to keep law and order.
Some individuals will err in execution of their duties but certainly their errors are not sanctioned by the state nor permitted. It’s on record that this government champions peace, has fought for peace and has given its nationals un interrupted peace for decades. Let’s embrace peace and hold it dearly. Ask those within our region how peace tastes, some don’t know. For us with it, it’s vital that we guard it jealously.
To the mighty security forces, don’t give “talkers” opportunity to talk, look at your processes, close the lose gaps and have these criminals behind bars. Your efforts are seen and acknowledged. We shall continue to pray for you, support you and your commitment to secure us is well appreciated.
You spend long hours at work, you stay aware from your young and old families, you are paid peanuts, it rains and shines on you. You are beaten by uncooperative people through mob justice but you continue the journey to providing cover to us. You will always be remembered for your good deeds. The struggle continues.
Samson Tinka is a safety and security consultant | firstname.lastname@example.org