Uganda Police Force Crime Report 2022 through a gender lens

The 2022 Annual Crime Report by the Uganda Police Force is out. The PDF is available to download from the website of the Uganda Police Force. I have had a cursory read of it, while wearing my gender and gender-based violence lenses.

Uganda Police Force leadership male dominated

The occupants of the top echelon of the Uganda Police Force are all male. The four public servants with a political mandate over it – H.E. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Maj. Gen (rtd) Kahinda Otafiire, Gen. David Rubakuba Muhoozi and Lt. Gen. Joseph Musanyufu are male. So are the four top civil servants – IGP J. M. Okoth-Ochola, DIGP Maj. Gen Katsigazi Tumusiime, Gen. Abel Kandiho and Mr. Aggrey Wunyi.

The second tier of the leadership of the Uganda Police Force, heads of departments, the directors, is also male dominated. Of the twenty heads of department of the Uganda Police force, only two are female – AIGP Akullo Grace and SCP Namutebi Hadijah; meaning that the second tier leadership is 90 percent male dominated.

Might it be the case that the male dominated leadership of the Uganda Police Force contributes to the manner in which women are handled by police officers – male and female? There seems to be a tendency among police officers to handle women suspects and victims, as well, in a high handed manner devoid of equity.

Case in point, the brutal and undignified manner in which police officers handled women members of parliament who were peacefully protesting police brutality and the use of excessive force used to disperse and disrupt Women’s Day commemoration functions that were organised by women legislators in their respective constituencies.

The police brutality was so shocking that it was of interested to the rest of the world, and so for notorious reasons Uganda was given media attention by giant international media houses, such as Reuters.

Incidents of female police officers doing as presumably their male bosses instruct them to do while arresting their fellow females with brute force and in an undignified manner are sadly common. Not only that, the manner in which women victims are handled within police stations has been linked to allegations that many women now choose not to report crimes, especially if the aggressor is male.

From my own recent experiences with officers of the Uganda Police force, I have become the more weary of female officers. In two incidences, female officers in senior positions handled me, a victim, in an insensitive and an unprofessional manner. I did not take it lying down. I reported one of them to the Uganda Police Professional Standards Unit and she was found to have erred.

Giving credit where it is due, in my recent experiences with police officers, the majority of male officers that I interacted with treated me with compassion and assisted me. Sadly, so far , this has not been enough for me to get justice and protection via police intervention against the same male criminal. In the one case, I was forced to seek justice via a civil suit. In the remaining two cases, I am still holding on with some hope.

Moving on, this may read flippant, but from a cultural anthropological perspective, a discourse analysis of it, did raise my eyebrows. The opening sentence of the “Foreword” to the Uganda Police Force Crime Report 2022 reads:

“It is my pleasure to present the Uganda Police Force Annual Crime Report for 2022.”

J. M. Okoth-Ochola Esq, Inspector General of Uganda Police Force

How is it a pleasure to present a report whose contents are that domestic violence was meted out on thousands of women and girls? How is it a pleasure to present a report whose contents are that thousands of women and girls were sexually violated? These are some of the disturbing contents of the report:

Majority victims of domestic violence are women

  • Of 18,549 victims of domestic violence, 75.5 percent (14,002) were female.
  • Of 291 victims murdered by domestic violence, 50.5 percent (147) were female

Majority of victims of sex related crimes are women

  • Of 14,795 victims of sex related crimes, 99.8 percent (14,762) were female
  • Of 12,780 victims of defilement, 97.6 percent (12,470) were female

In fulfillment of the mandate, it is the duty of the Inspector General of Police to ensure an annual crime report is produced and published, but it need not be done so with pleasure. As a communication expert, I recommend that in future crime reports it would better to substitute “pleasure” with “duty” in the opening sentence. Otherwise, it could be misconstrued and used to reinforce the narrative that the Inspector General of Police and his team take pleasure in the suffering of victims.

Post featured photo @ AIGP Akullo Grace

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