There have been at least six deaths as a result of mob action in Luweero District alone in the past one week, raising queries on a matter that has gone unattended to for a while. See Daily Monitor of October 4.
Mob action may refer to the use of force or violence by two or more people to execute an act without authority of the law.
Many studies have shown that people carry out mob action because of a slow legal system and the courts unnecessarily adjourning cases. Others have said the punishment handed to criminals is often a slap on the wrist and does not deter them from committing crime. So the sense that crime is largely unpunished or victims take long to get justice has forced many to give instant justice by taking the law in their own hands.
Impunity coupled with rising intolerance is also another major cause of mob action because people believe they can commit crime and get away with it given weak or lukewarm investigating bodies.
The rising spread of fake news has also fueled cases of mob action because the public has an information overload, mostly of harmful or catalytic content, which have the potential of charging people against one another, or suspected criminals.
The proceeds of mob action are usually catastrophic given that they happen in the spur of the moment.
The first casualty of this is the law and order. Mob action renders this basic tenet of a peaceful society irrelevant because the public becomes unruly.
In another vein, mob action creates a sense of insecurity and anxiety among the general public because they do not know when enraged residents might turn against them. It is needless to say that the moral fabric of society is tattered and the confidence in the state goes down the drain.
It is because of this that we appeal to the powers that be to see to it that we tackle, head-on, mob action. And this can be addressed in several ways.
First, the government should put in place proper working judicial systems and also ensure that cases are prosecuted fast and fairly.
A deliberate hard punishment for perpetrators of mob action is needed to ring the message home to all stakeholders that it is not business as usual.
The political class should lead by example by showing some respect to the rule of law across the board. This way, even the general public will have the impression that the law works and therefore detest mob action.