Friday May 9 2014

Police should probe NGO burglaries

By Cissy Kagaba

The Uganda Police Force has made absurd allegations that NGOs are responsible for the rising burglaries amongst themselves. Such utterances portray selective general incompetence of the police when it comes to certain individuals or organisations. It goes without saying that there are some areas where the police have performed their duties as mandated, but also exhibited major hiccups in regard to certain categories of people and organisations.

The police have a mandate under the 1995 Constitution and the Police Act, to protect the property and lives of all Ugandans without fear or favour, and this in some incidences has been exhibited diligently when it comes to tear gassing people on the pretext of protecting lives and property. The question, therefore, is why have they failed to protect the property of NGOs and instead resorted to blaming the victims?

It is a shame and indeed embarrassing for a senior officer like Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango to utter such blanket, unsubstantiated statements in the media. Police should come out and name the NGO leaders that are obstructing their investigations.
To even think about the possibility of any NGO leader preventing the police from conducting their investigations is laughable. If Onyango genuinely believes his utterances to the media, then the NGOs must be such a strong force that renders the Force powerless and ineffective.

Various NGOs that have been targets for burglaries have indeed reported to the police but years down the road, no reports or action has been taken. One, therefore, wonders why the culprits have not been apprehended if indeed it’s an inside job like Onyango claims. Also, considering the nature of burglaries and the way they are conducted, one must possess certain unique tools that the police should be concerned about and not merely lament that their investigations have been frustrated by NGO leaders.

The police should stop the blame game and conclude investigations into the burglaries. Blaming the NGOs for the unfortunate events that have befallen them is being callous. The police should instead arrest those individuals they consider to be protecting the culprits on grounds of obstruction. Short of that, any excuse by the police to protect the property of Ugandans is unacceptable.