The death of two-year-old toddler at the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA)ourt premises in a freak accident is heartrending. KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi Ssemakula tweeted that the mother was detained the day before and the baby was with a minder at KCCA Court, then wandered off and was hit by a reversing car. Some eyewitnesses say the child could have probably not met her death had the KCCA law enforcers listened to the cries of the baby and heeded the mother’s plea to be allowed to breastfeed her baby.
Of course, the police have detained the KCCA driver and will carry out investigations. Even without these explanations, the death of the toddler is an unacceptable act of negligence within KCCA premises. It is immaterial whether the toddler had an attendant or strayed under overgrown foliage in the KCCA park yard. The KCCA security should have been more alert.
But this tragedy should help focus more attention on KCCA’s high-handed nature of law enforcement of trade order in the city. No doubt, Kampala minister Frank Tumwebaze is right that law enforcement in the city is essential. He is also right that the arrest of mother of the child for violating existing city vending law was within the mandate of KCCA law enforcers.
But there have been outcries against KCCA’s enforcers exhibiting heavy-handedness, even before this tragedy. There have been ugly scenes of roundups, beatings, arbitrary arrests, and demolitions by the KCCA law enforcers. Not to forget the violent eviction in Luzira, a Kampala suburb that left two people dead in 2012.
This uncontrollable enforcement begs questions about the criteria of recruitment, training, discipline, people management skills and guidelines given to these KCCA law enforcers. This is precisely why this tragedy risks being seen in similar light of reckless abandon with which the KCCA law enforcers operate. KCCA’s modus operandi of freedom to do as you see fit once pitted Trade and Industry minister Amelia Kyambadde against the KCCA executive director. Ms Kyambadde then termed KCCA enforcers handling of demolitions of illegal structures as inhuman and heavy-handed.
In all, the death of this child in a public space could have been avoided had more care for the child been prioritised over prosecution of the mother. Firm action should be taken against whoever acted negligently to cause the death of this toddler.
For durable redress, Mr Tumwebaze and Ms Musisi should restrain KCCA law enforcers to perform their duties more responsibly.
The issue: Death of toddler
Our view: The death of this child in a public space could have been avoided had more care for the child been prioritised over prosecution of the mother.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor