Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has emphasized the critical need for the Ugandan government to address the longstanding concerns regarding police welfare to bolster the effectiveness of the nation’s criminal justice system. His remarks follow the reception of a research report conducted by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) shedding light on the working and living conditions of police personnel.
Addressing the pressing issue during a parliamentary session on Thursday, February 8, 2024, Deputy Speaker Tayebwa highlighted the detrimental impact of under-resourced police forces on crime prevention and investigation efforts. He stressed the interconnectedness of various components within the criminal justice system, emphasizing the necessity of ensuring adequate support for all sectors, including investigators, prosecutors, and judges.
“In order to reform the Justice, Law, and Order Sector and enhance the criminal justice system in our country, we must address the welfare concerns of our police force. A well-functioning ecosystem of criminal justice relies on the seamless collaboration of all its components,” remarked Deputy Speaker Tayebwa.
The Deputy Speaker underscored Parliament’s commitment to thoroughly scrutinize the report presented by the Uganda Human Rights Commission and to take proactive measures to address the issues and recommendations outlined therein.
Furthermore, Deputy Speaker Tayebwa urged police personnel to take advantage of government incentives, such as duty-free cement and iron sheets, to construct their retirement homes, emphasizing that the government will not provide retirement homes for them.
He commended the dedication of security forces in maintaining the country’s borders and ensuring law and order despite challenging conditions, while also acknowledging the need for better working conditions.
The research conducted by the Uganda Human Rights Commission revealed alarming findings regarding the living and working conditions of Uganda Police Force (UPF) personnel. The report highlighted dire housing conditions, unfairness in deployments and promotions, inadequate salaries, delays in retirement benefits processing, and limitations in welfare initiatives such as the Police Saving Association Ltd (PSAL) and Exodus Police SACCO.
Ms. Mariam Wangadya, Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, urged Parliament to increase budgetary allocations to the Uganda Police Force to enhance working and living conditions, facilitate the proper conduct of work, and ensure the observance of human rights standards.
In conclusion, Deputy Speaker Tayebwa emphasized the collective responsibility of all stakeholders in ensuring accountability, ending impunity for human rights violations, and empowering police personnel to comply with human rights standards while enforcing the law.