Log in

Treat people with dignity

Uganda police is under the spotlight again for manhandling a woman.

This was after a video footage emerged showing half-nude Zainabu Fatuma, an FDC activist, being dragged along the tarmac with her clothes falling off, and being dumped onto a police patrol pickup truck like a sack of potatoes. 

Different versions of the incident have since surfaced with the police trying to save face by heaping the blame on the woman who they claim undressed herself, while the opposition, too, is keen on deriving maximum political capital out of the despicable incident.  

As a result of this polarization, there is a risk of missing the real point – which is the poor handling of people, more so women, by our police.

Even if – for argument’s sake – it is agreed that Fatuma stripped all by herself, as the police want us to believe, officers at the scene would still be guilty of handling her in such a cruel, degrading and dehumanising manner that drove her to desperation.

Sadly, the police can’t really claim the moral high ground here because this incident is not the first, as Kampala Woman MP Nabilah Naggayi and FDC activist Ingrid Turinawe can testify.

The police are quick to state that they are defending the law when preventing opposition politicians from addressing rallies. That is exactly what a police officer told the FDC leaders after blocking their way to Rukungiri in Mbarara district on Saturday.

But if the police really care about the law, they should also defend article 4(24) of the Constitution. It says: “No person shall be subjected to any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

It goes without saying that this ugly incident would have been avoided if the opposition leaders had been permitted to freely move to their destination.

A multiparty democracy where the leader of opposition and the leading candidate in an election to be held only three months away are not allowed to travel to certain parts of the country is not worth spending our scarce resources on.

It is clear that protecting the regime has become an assignment of the police force, leading the men and women in uniform to act partisan too often. And human dignity is falling victim!

Comments are now closed for this entry