By Andrew Irumba
President Yoweri Museni has issued a statement clarifying why he directed the police to stop arresting people for the crime of Idle and Disorderly.
Museveni this week issued a directive to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola to instruct all police officers across the country to stop arresting people for the crime of idle and disorderly, and to release all those in custody for the same.
To cement his directive, President Museveni has written a letter to IGP Ochola clarifying the matter and why he took the decision.
In his letter to the IGP Museveni asserts that he scrapped the colonial law which was put in place by colonialists who were afraid of Africans. He also stated that the police should deal with more serious crimes like murder, rape, robbery, etc instead of joking around with unserious matters. Here is President Museveni’s letter to the IGP in full;
“Directive on arresting people for the crime of “Idle and disorderly“
30th September, 2019
The Inspector General of Police
RE: POLICE PERSONNEL ARRESTING PEOPLE FOR THE CRIME OF “IDLE AND DISORDERLY”
Since some time ago, even in the time of Gen. Kale Kayihura, I had had occasion to warn the Police about the anti-people and colonial practice of the Police arresting our people, especially the youth, for a nonsensical so called crime of “idle and disorderly”. I direct my PPS to check if I did not even put my opposition in writing apart from talking to Kale about this. Why should this be a crime? If I am unemployed and I hang about the park, why should somebody accuse me of the crime of “hanging” around (okwehugizaaho)? It is the colonialists that feared the Africans being around that drafted that law. It should be repealed. I direct the Attorney-General by copy of this letter, to exactly do that.
In the meantime, I direct that all people that have been arrested on account of this nonsensical crime, to be released immediately and all prosecution discontinued because, in any case, the Police and the Courts have got more real crimes that they need to deal with (murder, rape, robbery, embezzlement, etc).
Similarly, all the people that were arrested by the KCCA enforcement personnel in Kampala and are in prison for failure to pay a fine of Shs.1 million, should be released immediately but warned that they should not repeat the offence of selling merchandize on the pavements, ever again. A repeat offender will have to face the full force of the law. Why? It is for three reasons.
First, spreading merchandize on the pavements and shop verandahs interferes with the pedestrians who are entitled to use the pavement.
Secondly, it undermines the business of the shop operators. Buyers buy from the batemebeyi (the hawkers) instead of buying from the shops. Thirdly, the tax collection efforts of the government are frustrated because it is difficult to tax the batembeyi (the hawkers) because they are not registered and what they sell is not recorded.
These orders must be carried out immediately.
Yoweri K. Museveni
P R E S I D E N T
Copy to: H.E. the Vice President
Rt. Hon. Prime Minister
Rt. Hon. Secretary General – NRM
Minister of Internal Affairs
Wednesday, October 2, 2019