As Violence Spreads In Uganda, Gen. Museveni Claims He's Restored "Peace"

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Relatives mourning victims in Rwenzori last year. Photo: The Daily Monitor [Elections 2016] The most flouted and talked about achievements of General Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Movement (NRM) government is the peace and security environment it claims it has ushered in Uganda. In fact in all his addresses president Museveni will always say "we brought peace and security into the country so that people can sleep in their houses." In his 2011 to 2016 manifesto, President Museveni writes: “Uganda is now a totally peaceful country, with security assured for all citizens. The peace and security we are enjoying, is irreversible". This is NRM myth; that Uganda is secure and peaceful. People continue to die in numbers in Uganda and the authorities simply look on; Ugandans in fact are resigned to the fate that the police are ineffective to handle crime and in most cases the police are the aiders and abettors of crime themselves. Ugandans do not feel secure at all; a country cannot claim to be peaceful when the norm in the country is that places of residence have become like fortresses and garrisons in all neighborhoods in the capital. Residences of the affluent are characterized by high perimeter walls, response alarm system, private security guards, private guns; besides the unpopular police patrol elements who extort money from the residents at night. Let's compare the previous regimes to the 30 years of NRM in power. For example under NRM there has been a huge proliferation of small arms in the country and this has been attributed to the spike in killings in Uganda. In Uganda the role of the police has become to keep the government in power and it has outsourced law and order to private security firms. There are over 80 private security companies in Uganda, providing security for both private and public officials, while supplementing the work of the police. The dilemma is that most of these private security companies are owned by the ruling families or their associates-- ministers, army officers and police themselves.  Even with all these mushrooming private security firms and state security organs in Uganda peace and security has remained elusive under NRM. Households literally have to fortify themselves; as an extra layer of security they hire the private guards, some residents even possess personal weapons. Ugandans are neither safe at the highways or in their private homes. Incidences of highway robberies are rampant in some cases night travelers have been robbed just a few meters from police check points. The number of high profile murders has escalated. Several prominent businessmen, Muslim clerics and rural families have been shot and killed or butchered with many of these murders remaining unsolved. The police has failed to control crime. In Kampala alone, in the national referral hospital of Mulago, the morgue each night receives victims of violent death and the emergency sections is struggling to deal with injures of survivors of iron- bars hitmen. We can only imagine what goes on in upcountry locations where no reports reach the national media.  It's suggested at least 10 people are killed in Kampala each night despite the heavy presence of police and private security guards. The disaster is that the personnel in these security companies tend to include wrong elements; often in many occasions there have been incidences of guards being implicated in robberies and other organized crimes. The available figures show that crime has been rising sharply under the NRM regime since 1986. The 2013 Crime, Traffic and Road Safety Report showed the number of cases of murder by shooting in Uganda rose by 14%. In 2013 police investigated 131 cases of gun-shot murder, compared to 115 in 2012.  A total of 426 cases of death by mob action were reported to Police. Then there was the death of 92 Ugandans in the Rwenzori region in July 2014 which dented the credentials of security forces’ ability to protect Ugandans. Therefore Museveni and NRM should desist from promoting the false and misleading information that they have ushered in peace and security.  No country with deep levels of inequality and entrenched system of corruption can sing "peace." Instead Ugandans have been held hostage to coercion, manipulation and intimidation; these are the order of the day.  Only recently it took the brutal murder of acting Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Joan Namazzi Kagezi for police to respond in a knee jerk reaction; yet similar spates of murder remained unresolved.  Jannette Mugisha is a pro-democracy activist. 

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