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Friday, August 17, 2012

THE QUEST FOR DEMOCRATIC POLICING IN UGANDA


On the 26th July the CSO fraternity in Fort Portal and the attendant districts with a particular had training on how Human Rights and governance related aspects and how police accountability and reform can be achieved.RIC-NET was represented by the Outreach Officer. The training was conducted by HURINET UGANDA.The objectives were; to strengthen the CSO’s capacity in holding the police accountable, to enhance the CSO’s with the knowledge and skills of monitoring and documenting police violations of human rights and contribute to the creation of a strong civilian oversight over the police in the region. Speaker after speaker shared their disappointment with the police activity and the violation of human rights.
Police reform is about removing illegitimate political and executive control over the police, making the police accountable to the law, raising standards of recruitment, training, leadership in police and improve the terms and conditions of the work and service for the police. Police reform is not about creating a powerful militaristic police force that support corruption, help in vote staffing and rigging, more corrupt and allowing the police to function without control and restraints. “The Monkey will never make a judgment to the forest”. Could this be the guiding principle for the police in Uganda to work towards the demands of the command in chief? During the public demonstration in April and May 2011, there was large scale violation of Human rights [children killed, torture and ill treatment, arbitrary arrest, intimidation, threats and harassment of journalists] this is what is referred to as “lack of legitimacy of the police”
Police reform benefits may include; No arbitrary transfer and posting, transparency in recruitment and which means that the best will join the service, time bound promotions for the honest and efficient, independent decisions in investigations and the public work, closer and better rapport with the public making police task easier and working to serve the nation and people and not for the interests of those in authority. As citizens, a reformed police force will; be more accessible and sensitive to you problems, be courteous and polite and not use short cuts or third degree methods, help us in accessing justice, provide us with a feeling of security, establish an environment where we can pursue our economic and other activities without fear and enjoy rights without hindrance and strengthen and enhance the growth of Democracy in Uganda
The members observed that security is not a monopoly of the state. Every citizen has a role towards security of the individual and property. Patriotism is not only loving the party but the love for the nations and her people and property. It should be noted that police officer come from the society to serve in police and after retirement they shall go back to the same society. Members agree that Police are supposed to be accountable to the various institutions in the government. It’s essential for the Civil Society to ensure the police use its powers and authority in a manner reflecting respect for the law and individual rights and freedoms in addition to the set out government institutions. The police representative in the meeting Ms Hidaya Namiabo [child protection unit] accepted the situation and promised to inform the higher authority about the results and mentioned that police actions can be reported directly on 0392962790 and toll free 0800200019 or on www.policereformcompaign,org.