This week, there has been a photo-shopped montage making rounds on social media platforms with the words, ‘if the government doesn’t trust me with my gun, I do not trust them with theirs’.
This has caused heated debates with a section of the public supporting the notion, seemingly oblivious of Section (3) of the Firearms Act that inter alia states: ‘no person shall purchase, acquire or have in his or her possession any firearm or ammunition unless he or she holds a valid Firearm Certificate’.
It should be noted that the Ugandan government has strived to remove illegal arm from the public following the political turmoil that gripped the country in the 80s.
This has helped restore stability in the country and recently, while addressing the people of Alebtong in northern Uganda, President Museveni revealed that the army had recovered 40,000 guns from the Karamojong. Indeed, as a result cattle rustling is now considered almost nonexistent.
“Because the army is strong, we have managed to bring peace in the country,” Museveni said.
And when one gets to the urban centres, law enforcement personnel have dealt firmly with those in illegal possession of guns, although the problem is yet to be solved entirely. Because of that, the police regularly reports about cases of armed robbery; murder and other gun related crimes but many of the people who carry out such crimes are still at large, with their guns!
Worse still, the thugs seem to no longer target the private security guards to acquire guns; they now target policemen and there have been many reports of police officers losing their guns after being attacked by thugs in some parts of the country and many of these guns have not yet been recovered, something that has put the lives of several Ugandans at risk.
As if to prove a point, four thugs armed with two AK47 rifles recently waylaid ASP Ronald Higenyi of the Police Engineering and Logistics Department and stole his pistol as he made his way back home.
So, given that many people have been murdered or robbed by gun-wielding thugs, with instances like the killings of the Muslim clerics where the police indicate that the murders were likely carried out by people with military training, then the army should intervene in the process of getting rid of guns from the thugs.