Lwengo LC-V Chairman Mutabazi Must Face the Law [opinion]

If the LC-V chairman of Lwengo district, Mr George Mutabazi, who likes to turn leadership into rulership, belonged to the opposition, he would be in police cells, pending prosecution for assault, criminal trespass and other offences.

The National Resistance Movement would be calling for his resignation.

This would be the time when the kindred spirit would like to prove that the opposition does not mean well for the people and therefore should not be voted into offices.

This would be the time when they remind people that violence is the governance mode of the opposition.

Unfortunately, for the people of Lwengo, who were beaten up and whose property was destroyed, that remedy of chastising the errant chairman may not come soon. Mutabazi is fortunate in that even when he was beating up people, the police was there to protect him from the likely self-defence responses.

He beat up a pregnant woman, destroying her tools of trade beer bottles, among others. If Mutabazi can beat up a pregnant woman in full glare of cameras, are you surprised that husbands abuse many more women in the same way? I would not like to imagine what happens in his home! He accused the woman of opening her bar during working hours.

This woman, too, was working. Selling beer and other drinks is her employment, therefore she was working and not idling, as Mr Mutabazi wanted us to imagine. This woman was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment if not punishment before children and other onlookers. Another person, probably a herdsman, who was employed to look after someone’s cows, was also beaten and chased from his job of tending the cows.

Mutabazi claims there is a bye-law that was passed which compels people to participate in community service which includes working on roads. I have not looked at the bye-law, but I am sure the punishment prescribed for defaulting does not include giving powers to the chairman to beat up people.

Corporal punishment could not have been prescribed because it is outlawed. So, Mr Mutabazi arrogated himself the duty of being a judge in his own cause!

I have also learnt that Mutabazi is no stranger to violence. Several reports about him threatening violence have been reported at police in the district but matters are never pushed to their logical conclusions. Violence is like second nature to him.

I have seen on the social media some people apparently in total disregard of the law, have been praising him. Others have been ridiculous as to suggest that Mutabazi should be sent to other district to beat into line those disobedient citizens! We have a problem.

Mutabazi’s could be the telltale signs that actually all is not well with our democratisation. For the last 27 years of apparent peace and democracy, we have still failed to give a chance to the rule of law. Leaders who, during the campaigns, promise to become servants of the people instead become the masters of the governed.

The relationship even becomes parasitic. For instance, Mutabazi thinks he is doing the people of Lwengo a favour by chasing them out of their garden to go and work on the roads. The people, through their councillor, cannot ask the district leaders to account for the money, which is dispatched from the centre to districts to work on the roads.

Mutabazi and many of his ilk, now present a new challenge to the human rights defenders. If the state is not interested (as it appears, since police was there to protect him as if to endorse his unlawful acts), the human rights activists need to take up the matter.

Mutabazi, and many others, need to know that this country has laws and they ought to be respected. Being the chairman of the district does make him the law of the district. He needs to respect the rights of the women and the people he ‘rules’. If Mutabazi is legally taken on successfully, it would set a good precedent for the leaders of his type not think that being in power gives them an edge over others to be above the law.

And isn’t it ironic that Mutabazi purported into enforce the law through unlawful means? We need to fight impunity.

Twitter: @piuskm

The author is the finance director, The Observer Media Ltd.

Source : The Observer

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