Wednesday February 26 2014

Police is not protecting citizens

Since the passing of the Anti-Pornography Bill by Parliament at the close of last year, there are emerging reports of members of the public, mostly the ‘unwashed members’ of society, attacking women in miniskirts and undressing them. They are taking the enforcement of the law into their own hands.

It is disappointing that in some of the cases where women have been undressed, it was in full view and without interruption of police officers, defying Section 21 (1) (g) which mandates them to prevent the commission of offences and public nuisance. This happened recently at Mabirizzi Plaza in Kampala. The lady lost all her clothing, including the underwear. It is also doubtful, if she retained her other belongings like the bag, phone and shoes.

According to the Police Act, the police is established to among others, but importantly, protect the life, property and other rights of the individual (Section 4 (1) (a). I am sure that failure to do this attracts legal redress by those affected since the police did not protect them from hooligans.

Accordingly, no one has the powers to enforce the law on behalf of the police but can only help in apprehending the offender. As it was previously with the Kiboko Squad, whose actions were neither sanctioned nor stopped by the police, the same is happening with those attacking and undressing women.

The people attacking women under the pretext of implementing the law should be treated as thugs or organised crime gangs. If at all they are helping the police to enforce the Anti-Pornography law, why haven’t they confiscated all the obscene film content on the streets? Why haven’t they attacked vendors selling printed pornographic material? And, why haven’t they just arrested these women and handed them to police without robbing from them? I am afraid we may be breeding our own brand of the Mungiki gangs of the famous ‘Nairobery’ on our streets.

Paul Mayende