28 February 2013

Uganda: The Case of Abdicated Responsibility, Dishonest and Betrayal


Oh Uganda may God uphold thee we lay our future in thy hands...goes the Uganda National Anthem. Such a prayer as embodied in our Anthem and other prayers needs to be recited by Ugandans while holding their Bibles or Qur'ans to rededicate our country to God so that He can restore sanity in the Pearl of Africa.

The shocking and eye catching news headlines that dominated the media in the past few days involving the shooting dead by the army (UPDF) of three police officers in Kyengera who were trying to rob a soap factory, and that of the 'ghost parliamentarians' where it was revealed that some 247 out of 375 MPs signed in the attendance register on Tuesday last week but less than 40 were in attendance during the debate on oil Bill, one has every cause to be worried.

It has been reported that some MPs have made it a norm to sign for sitting allowances and later abscond to attend to their personal businesses despite the hefty pay, something that has at times forced the speaker to adjourn the house for lack of quorum especially when contentious issues are to be decided as was the case last week. This reminds me of the famous bible verse in Isaiah 6:8 which says; And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?"

According to Article 211 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, Police is charged with, among other functions, to protect life and property, preserve law and order and prevent and detect crimes.

However, in the fore mentioned foiled crime, some of the very police officers entrusted with this authority by Ugandans in the Constitution, had turned against them like in the tale of the lion and other animals, where the former was entrusted with the authority of being their (other animals) king but later it (lion) betrayed this trust by eating whichever animal that turned up to pay him a visit.

The information that these three killed Police officers hatched their sinister scheme about a month ago without being 'detected by their colleagues' (only the army intelligence did), and the fact that they used a police patrol car to facilitate their movement to commit the felony, it is more probable that more than just the three killed officers were involved. Besides, the many crimes which are not investigated to their logical conclusion normally reported in Sunday Vision or where case files in police go missing could be a result of such instances.

It's unfortunate that these officers had to be killed in the scuffle that ensued when they were intercepted by army before vital information could be squeezed out of them to help in the investigations. Nevertheless, this incident should be thoroughly investigated.

Relatedly, Article 79 of the Constitution obligates and empowers Parliament to make laws and promote democratic governance of Uganda among others on behalf of the citizens of Uganda. This means they (MPs) are responsible to their electorates besides being accountable for whatever transpires in the parliamentary chambers.

The revelation that some MPs have been dodging the plenary sessions and committee meetings while on their private business which came to light last week thanks to the speaker's swiftness in conducting an abrupt roll call and media in reporting the information is very disturbing and annoying.

Implicating some MPs and police officers in such ugly situations of corruption and theft respectively, the very institutions meant to fight the vices and enforce accountability at this very moment when their effort is needed most is very regrettable and unfortunate.

It is high time the IGG, and electorates demanded accountability from their respective MPs both financial and their individual contribution in the house. For instance, they should demand accountability for 103 million given to each MP to buy a car and other expenditures involving tax payers' money as is the case with other people in governmental and NGOs. It is such kind of supervision that will compel those (MPs) to act responsibly and reasonably.

The writer is an educationist

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