31 December 2012

Uganda: Police Exhibiting Double Standards in the OPM Saga

As the year comes to an end, government should resolve to fight corruption/theft uniformly and not selectively.

It is embarrassing for this government to keep lying to itself let alone the Ugandans that it has the will to fight corruption. A case in point is Bigirimana's alleged refusal to meet detectives over the OPM theft. One wonders what powers Bigirimana yields to defy the police to an extent of telling them that he is not yet ready to be interrogated.

Was Kazinda and his fellow culprits given the luxury of deciding whether or not to be interrogated by police???. The police are publically and without shame exhibiting favoritism by treating Bigirimana like a demi-god. Favoritism by the way is an offence under the Anti- Corruption Act and I believe that the Uganda Police is well aware of this provision. The breaching of this provision by the same police that should uphold law and order in Uganda speaks volumes as to the current state of affairs within the country. When the custodians of the law start violating it with impunity, then there is cause to worry.

Mr. Bigirimana has tirelessly tried to convince the tax payers whose money was stolen right under his nose, that he is a "Whistleblower". However, the public and the members of parliament too have still doubted his being a genuine whistleblower. That being the case, Mr. Bigirimana should have taken up this golden opportunity to come out clean and meet the detectives and provide information that will dispel the public's perception about his involvement in the saga.

Actions such as these are a confirmation that there will always be people above the law and the police will always fold its tail and dance to their whims, what a pity!!.

Let 2013 be a year for the police force to convince Ugandans that indeed it is an independent organ not rhetorically but through actions. The Uganda police needs to redeem its image in the way it conducts its work. The police needs to understand that it cannot work in insolation without the general public and this can only happen if Ugandans are able to trust and rely on the police.

Cissy Kagaba is the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda.

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