Uganda’s politicised police force is not reducing crime

“STOP killing us!” chanted a crowd of several hundred people as they marched through Kampala on June 30th. Their protest has good cause. Last year the bodies of more than 20 women, many strangled and mutilated, were found after being dumped in two neighbourhoods close to the Ugandan capital. Scores more people have been kidnapped. “You never know, maybe I’m next,” says Shamim Masika, a student.

Insecurity has become a hot political issue in Uganda. Newspapers have chronicled a wave of crime, from armed robberies to the murder of Muslim clerics. In June an MP was gunned down. Most startling of all was the murder last year of the police spokesman, who was shot in broad daylight outside his home. That case, like many others, remains unsolved.

Yoweri Museveni, the president, has proposed solutions ranging from more security cameras to a ban on hoodies. But many see the ageing guerrilla himself as part of the problem. When he fought his way to power in 1986 he had little trust in…

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