Today, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) General Kale Kayihura has paraded about 100 criminal suspects, allegedly involved in terrorizing the Greater Masaka Region.
It is well the news of the arrests might provide temporary relief to the residents of the affected areas who have been living in perpetual fear.
However, there are pertinent questions to be asked and most prominent is: ‘how did we get here?’
Over the years, there have been persistent complaints by Ugandans of various shades, accusing the police of lackluster performance in the way some members of the force handle some reported cases.
Not surprising therefore, the reported cases at the Police Standards Unit (PSU) are testimony to the level decadence that could have infiltrated the police, one of the reasons President Yoweri Museveni, while eulogizing the late Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi, asked the IGP to ‘clean up his house’.
Quite often some people with criminal minds seek ‘protection’ from the very people that are supposed to ensure that all Ugandans live in tranquil.
And, once out of the scrutiny of the force, the same criminals indulge in dubious activities, shielding themselves in disguise as ‘security personnel’. Here, in recent times, the name Dan Tandeka immediately comes to mind.
At the height of opposition activities after the elections in 2011 and 2016, there were various footages on display, showing stick-wielding goons beating up the opposition politicians with the police just looking on.
Needless to mention, such scenarios have only helped to coarsen the criminals, who believe that they can get away with crime as soon as they can identify with any of the security agencies.
So, what needs to be done? Like President Museveni counseled, let the police remove the ‘bad apples’, starting with those (including the top officers) who have been implicated in various cases at the PSU.
Secondly, now that the force has established a Police Post in almost all the areas, this must be followed by ‘feeling the presence of the police’, something that involves having both day and night patrols, the night patrols conducted with Local Council (LC) officials.
Those two approaches, beefed up with other initiatives, will go a long way restoring the image of the force and also to ensure that security for person and property is guaranteed.
Ugandans need to feel safe at all times!