We must change the trends if we expect different results.
By Emilian Kayima
When the institution of the family is shaky, you can only predict trouble, crime, disorder and unrest of sorts at individual, family and community level. And that makes life difficult, policing complicated and sustainable peace and security a dream.
The way to go is to closely examine what is going wrong with a view of correcting it for our own survival and that of our children and their children. And young people are our target group on this mobilization trail because they form the biggest bulk of our population, as well as those involved in crime.
We must change the trends if we expect different results. And the first persons that require this change are not these young people but us the old folk; parents, teachers, law enforcement officers to mention but three. We must change attitudes, actions, and look into the future.
By that, we shall be able to appreciate their plight, project their future and help them cope with the current life challenges. This calls for possibly a new form of outlook, focused trainings, change of curriculum and closer working relationships with security agencies especially the police. When we mix with them, we appreciate them better and reciprocity is almost automatic.
We do this with a clear view that the institution of family is the undisputable pillar unto which the humanness in us is built. This is where one’s conscience forms or dies. And indeed, those without a conscience would find it so easy to engage in crime and criminality. Responsible living starts at family. How safe is your family at providing this fertile ground?
Last week, I was extremely honoured to meet two great men of our times; His eminence Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala, archbishop emeritus Kampala archdiocese who is a living saint and Mr. John Nagenda, the Senior Presidential advisor on media and a renown columnist with New Vision, a man who wears a coat of many colours. I visited John and we talked about many things. I did more listening than talking, drinking right from the source, the fountain, the wise man. The one statement that touched me most is, “My father taught me to be honest no matter the consequences”. Can we as parents do and say more of this before our children.
When you look at the modern family, with the current parenting challenges including drugs, absentee parenting and now gay rights issues invading our space, you have reason to fear for tomorrow. Will the youth tomorrow be in position to carry the mantle if they don’t get the kind of training, inspiration and guidance that the likes of my friend got from their lovely parents and committed communities back in the day?
Usually, children practice what they have seen. Children are actors. Watch them closely. When they get true love from parents, they tend to love. When we are rude and rough to them, they develop coping mechanisms, most of which hinge on commission of crime. Let’s look at our children as the true foundation of the future we wish to enjoy. Have we planted the right seeds? Do we see this manifest in our midst among the youth today?
And sometimes, we the law enforcement officers speak the language of the law that hardly means anything to the youths who are targeted by crime and criminals. Most of them engage in crime in form of drug abuse, sexual exploits and hard core crimes because of lack of parenting, forces of negative energy, the wrong environments and limited role models. Actually, many of them end up in police custody as well as government prisons, wasting precious time and their future.
Last week, a phone call came in from an inquisitive journalist wanting to know whether it is true that the Uganda Police Force do not respect rights of minorities including the LGBT people. To say it straight, to practice homosexuality or lesbianism is a crime in Uganda. That is the law. Is that the disrespect referred to by the inquisitive journalist?
My answer was and still is; we do not abuse anyone’s rights. However, for whoever will commit a crime, a deserving penalty should be meted out. We stand by this. After all, our sovereign laws prohibit the practice of homosexuality, and we are bound to enforce the law to the letter. And matters of law are not matters of suspicion or guess work; they are matters of facts and evidence. That is the line we take.
This is a message for the youth today and parents. I shared the same with the youth in Kampala at Namugongo Martyrs shrine on the youth day celebrations.
The writer is a Senior Police Officer in Uganda and author of a book, “Taasa Ettaka Lyo”