With the recent murder of Ibrahim Abiriga, we need to work together as Ugandans to defeat the killers. However, when you listen to the radios, watch TV and follow social media, there is a lot of irresponsible talk. Some of the moderators are not helping the situation as they are either ill-informed or are part of the problem.
The other day, while listening to a talk show on Kfm, Mr Livingston Ssewanyana [the executive director of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)], said Uganda was now worse off than in the ‘90s. I wondered if this gentleman was serious. In the ‘90s, we had the entire northern Uganda, including West Nile under insurgency, in Karamoja nearly every male adult had a gun which they were using to carry out raids within Karamoja and terrorise the neighbouring sub-regions of Teso, Sebei, Acholi, Lango and sometimes they even reached Bugisu.
To Ssewanyana, this was a better situation than today. How naïve can one be. I wish Ssewanyana could travel on the good roads to Gulu and say what he said on a radio in Gulu. The moderators don’t help by telling off such uninformed people. Many of the moderators are saying there is a lot of insecurity. This is not true. What is true is that there is a spate of criminality in form of killers attacking innocent people like the late Joan Kagezi, Abiriga, Kawesi and others not to mention the killings of women in Wakiso, etc.
This form of criminality will be dealt with and indeed many of the people involved have been arrested and some arrests still continue. I think the police need to step up its release of information to the public in order for the country to have confidence that something is being done.
Last week, I talked to the Deputy Inspector General of Police [Muzeyi Sabiti] and he told me that the killers of Susan Magara had been arrested and some were being hunted down. He said they have a lot of information in regard to that killing. However, information to the public on the Magara killing has been coming out in the form of leakages in the media, which leaves the public unsure whether what they are reading is true or not. As Ugandans, we need to be vigilant in situations like these.
In March, I was in London. I was reading in the papers there that in only three months since the beginning of the year, 55 people had been murdered mainly by killers using guns or stubbing them with knives. There were more than 200 people who had been left injured in these incidences. The reports were indicating that London had overtaken other world cities in crime, but they were not saying that London was insecure.
The population wasn’t criticising the government that it had failed to protect them. Instead, they were rallying behind the government to fight criminality. When there are terrorist attacks in Europe like on trains, the people come out in big numbers to use the trains saying they are not going to fall in the trap of the terrorists, whose intention is to create fear and they don’t blame the government for not stopping the terrorists from attacking.
This is the kind of resolve we need. I take this opportunity to applaud MP Odonga Otto for the statement attributed to him during the burial of Abiriga. He is reported to have said this was not time for the Opposition to criticise government, but a time to work together with the government to fight crime. On the other hand, other Opposition leaders, including its leader in the Parliament, are accusing the government saying it has failed to protect its people.
There is no country in the world without crime in one form or another. What is important is having the ability to fight crime. And this ability, as the President has said before, we are building the intelligence gathering infrastructure to fight this form of crime. Sooner than later, the killers will have nowhere to hide except in the minds of those who seem to speak for them by creating fear in society.
Like we managed to deal with Kony, who terrorised northern Uganda, disarmed the Karimojong and dealt with other forms of terrorists in Kampala, this spate of criminality will be overcome. It is a question of time.
Mr Byaruhanga is the Senior Presidential Advisor/Political Affairs State House. Moses.Byaruhanga@stateh