“President Museveni has directed the police leadership to deploy 20 policemen per sub-county and facilitate them with two motorcycles for patrol and easy mobility. This as he castigated the Uganda Police Force for sticking to the conventional methods of policing amidst dynamic modern crime trends. This as he closed the 25th police council meeting at police headquarters in Naguru” (NBS Television, 19.11.2019).
Before we look into the new directive of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, we can by the statistics of the Electoral Commission in 2016, estimate that there is 1403 sub-counties, as there is 112 official districts by 2016 alone. There been since then more created and awaiting more before the 2021 general elections.
By this its 1403 times 20 police officers, the grand total of 28,060 police officers. Which should be trained, stationed and paid for. By 2015 statistics there is already, all in all 44,897 police officers. That means half of them will go to sub-county level. Also, in 2015 there was a total of 1399 police posts all across the republic, which there is a lack of enough stations for all the ones whose suddenly deployed elsewhere. As well, as by the 44,897 officers only about 7,000 had supported housing. The Police Force is already underpaid and understaffed for the amount of work it has. With the new directive, the Police Force needs more police posts and more accommodations.
If we follow the Electoral Commission of 2018, then the numbers of districts are 122 and the amount of sub-counties is 1671. By the measure of police officers is then 33,420 who has to be deployed sub-county level. With that in mind, the numbers are even worse. We can imagine the even more lack of housing and police posts for them to be in. Not to think about the movement of them all. Not to imagine all them who are in special units, special training and whatnot. As there are detectives and whatnot in the police force. Not like these wants to end in Kagadi, Serere or in Lira.
With the knowledge of deploying 20 per post, which exists now, there is only capacity of 27,980. That’s with the knowledge of the 1399 posts, which exists now. But the ability to build more, must be a priority and also station it sufficiently across the sub-counties. If this policy should make any sense.
Unless, this is a political gamble and a election ploy to gain rural voters. Because, this is not only to combat crime, but show the needed amount of force. From the same presidency, that already lack the funding to pay Local Defence Units (LDUs). The same one that didn’t do enough for the Crime Preventers in the previous election cycle. This is a continuation of that.
With that in mind, I have to quote Finance Minister Matia Kasaija:
“We have discovered that many politicians simply agitate for the creation of new administrative units for creations of jobs. We already have 300 new sub-counties and 200 town councils, to get money for them to operate is a big problem” (Wilson Manishimwe – ‘Gov’t stuck with 300 newly created sub-counties’ 18.09.2019).
Seems like the President is busy creating jobs, but not having money to operate them. There are enough things that lacks funding and with this, is yet another government post, which lacks fiscal funding. Unless, the State House breaks the bank and use less on travel expenditure or payments of salaries for any of the Presidential Advisors. The Police Force might have some added funding. I am just smirking, but we know the gist.
The President is acting all out, doing quick-fix orders, ad-hoc without any thought of the budget nor implementation. It is just a snap of a finger and then suddenly things start to move. Peace.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni have ordered the Police Force to stop arresting people for being “idle and disorderly” and also release them. Especially, the ones taken in by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) enforcement. The President want their prosecution discontinued and also stop arresting illegal traders there.
This is clearly a mission from the President who orders this, but if the Republic is supposed to be a land of law and order. Than, the President should get some of his minions to repeal one of his colonial laws, which he has kept and used when in need. Now, his saying the Police Force should stop using it. I will first show, the Penal Code part, which is used and a little history behind why its there today.
The Penal Code Section 167. says:
“Idle and disorderly persons.
Any person who—
(a) being a prostitute, behaves in a disorderly or indecent manner in any public place;
(b) wanders or places himself or herself in any public place to beg or gather alms, or causes or procures or encourages any child to do so;
(c) plays at any game of chance for money or money’s worth in any public place;
(d) publicly conducts himself or herself in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace;
(e) without lawful excuse, publicly does any indecent act;
(f) in any public place solicits or loiters for immoral purposes;
(g) wanders about and endeavours by the exposure of wounds or deformation to obtain or gather alms” (Penal Code Act of 1950).
Short history of the Penal Code:
“As such the Africa Order in Council, 1889 was applied to it. Under this Order in Council, statutes of general application in Britain at the time applied to Uganda. One of these was the ‘Idle and disorderly’ Act, 1824. In 1902, the Uganda Order in Council gave powers to the Governor to make laws that apply to the protectorate. The governor passed the Applied Indian Acts Ordinance in 1907, which made the law applicable to India at the time applicable to Uganda. Thus Uganda started using the Indian Penal Code, 1860 until 1930 when the Uganda Penal Code Ordinance was introduced. The Indian Penal Code did not criminalise idle and disorderly conduct or being rogue and vagabond. Similarly, the 1930 Penal Code Ordinance did not criminalise being ‘idle and disorderly’. The criminalisation of both ‘idle and disorderly’ and ‘rogue and vagabond’ was introduced under the 1950 Penal Code, which is still the Penal Code Act in force today, now designated as the Penal Code Act, Chapter 120 of the Laws of Uganda, 2000” (HRAF – ‘ THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE ENFORCEMENT OF‘IDLE AND DISORDERLY’ LAWS ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF MARGINALISED GROUPS IN UGANDAP: 23, 2016).
So, now, the President is now suspending the arrests of the idle traders and other people taken by the section of society, which the KCCA and Police Force deems them as “idle and disorderly”. This is part of the Penal Code, which has been historically used by the state to restrictive laws of society control. However, the state has kept it, because its a useful tool by the state.
Now, the President suspend it and stops the Police from using it. However, the law is still enforced, unless the National Resistance Movement or some MPs are amending it or repealing this law. Therefore, the act of the President today with ordering the UPF to suspend doing it. Can only be seen as a temporary suspension or even a PR stunt. Because, the law is still enforced. The law is still active.
This means, the state can still use the law, even if the President has sent a circular and order from above. The law is still there and looking at the public. The Colonial heritage is still there and the usage of it is still common practice. Just wait to the campaign season and general election in 2021, the state will use the Penal Codes like no tomorrow. Peace.