Unfortunate are these incidences of brutal quelling of unarmed demonstrations
The untimely killing of Rachael Ayebazibwe by a stray bullet as reported in the Daily Monitor of August 28, is what has forced me to write after many unfortunate happenings in our country. I will also add my voice to those of many gallant sons and daughters of this country, who have vehemently condemned the violence meted on unarmed citizens, whose crime is just but to express their fundamental human rights through demonstrations.
Unfortunate are these incidences of brutal quelling of unarmed demonstrations. My concern today will, however, be addressed to this thing called “stray bullets”.
According to Wikipedia, a stray bullet is one that after being fired from the gun, hits an unintended target.
Such a shooting accident may occur during crossfire or celebratory gunfire. Well aware that most people who are killed or injured by stray bullets are unaware of the events leading to the gunfire that caused their injuries, just as in the case of Ayebazibwe, may the Almighty grant her soul eternal peace. Victims of stray bullets are usually unsuspecting bystanders, who have no opportunity whatsoever to flee or take any preventive measure.
Against this background, let us focus on our men/women in uniform - army and police, for they are the biggest culprits here.
From their training, I suppose they should have been oriented on shooting a bullet at no specific target. Truly and as night follows day, a bullet fired at no specific target, unless directed to empty space, will be stopped by a given object. And if fired at a crowd, I wonder whether it still amounts to a stray bullet! When fired towards a residential area, school or office blocks as the case has been in the recent past, then the object that stops that bullet will be the Ayebazibwes and others.
However, it may not be long before it comes home, my dear uniformed trigger happy friends! I don’t know how you would feel if the object that stops that bullet is your father, mother, sister or uncle. No life must be lost through such irresponsible actions.
What hurts even more is the fact that, the victims’ families are left grappling with hopelessness in terms of justice since the perpetrators are never brought to book. Without justice, stray bullets will continue altering the nature of life to the victims’ families and their neighbourhood by creating fear and anxiety in the population. If creating fear among the population is not the motive of these stray bullets, then government should prevail on its security operatives and stop them from using live bullets in quelling demonstrations. As a nation, we have the capacity to be tough or civil in our actions.