Govt sued over police officers’ poor housing conditions

MPs appalled by state of houses at Jinja police barracks

A lawyer in Kampala has taken government to court over poor housing conditions for police officers, most of whom he says live in in dilapidated housing structures.

In a lawsuit filed before the High Court against the country’s attorney general, Mr Kalali Steven wants court to declare that the poor accommodation structures availed to some police officers by the respondent (Government) and her agents infringes on the officers’ right to dignity of human persons, privacy and family.

He also wants a declaration that the continued poor habitation of police officers in ramshackle building structures infringes on their right to stay in a clean and healthy environment and development.

“That the act of packing or housing police officers in tents or sharing accommodation as housing as seen at different police barracks infringes on their right to privacy,” Mr Kalali argues in his suit.
“The police officers have no privacy as upon sharing of household which situation goes all over throughout the country, the performance of conjugal rights is made difficult,” he added.
Mr Kalali states that there is a need for a healthy and sustainable environment since the police officers have been sabotaged and cannot exercise the right to express themselves.

He further states that the right to health brings together all humanity and it encompasses the environmental dimensions of the right to life, culture, nondiscrimination among others which the government has allegedly failed for over 30 years now.

Police use a water canon and an armoured vehicle to block National Unity Platform president Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, from accessing Kayunga Town on December 1, 2020. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA. 

According to the lawyer, Uganda police force receives annual sums for its budget and has a welfare department that ought to cater for housing of all police officers in the force every year.
“There is a need to protect the right to adequate housing just like other rights are protected as it provides a sense of place, comfort as well as security which is sensible and consistent with public values,”Mr Kalali states.

According to the court documents seen by this publication, there is no security of family life as the structures of housing are dilapidated and with poor drainage, latrines, among others.
The suit further indicates that having a decent home is part of being a citizen and recognizes the right to descent shelter as well as personal identity since it provides psychological and physical sanctuary.

Mr Kalali contends that the right to decent housing can be a pre-condition for enjoyment of other human rights and its violation can affect a number of other human rights that include the right to work, education, health, social security, vote and privacy.
Through his lawyers of Mwina, Wananda & Co. Advocates, Mr Kalali wants the court to declare that all serving police officers are entitled to decent shelter.
[email protected]