Nakiwala arrests police officer

Feb 13, 2020

The officer was detained for beating up the children who had gone to report the case and the two were arrested for engaging children in exploitative labour.


Thirteen-year-old Moses Kiiza walks around a construction site for a new apartment block in Kazo, Kawempe division, carrying two bricks on the head and a bucket of sand in his hands to be used for construction.

He is one of at least 23 young boys and girls aged 5-14years hired as casual laborers at a Construction site.

After a week of dangerous work at the site, Kiiza and his team of junior laborers expected some pay, when they were told they will not receive the agreed amount, the children approached the Kazo chairperson seeking for compensation for the work, unknown to them that the work they were being subjected to was illegal.

The area local council invited the proprietor of the building, Lazia Nassanga but she refused to show up, he wrote to her and instead just insulted him for poking his nose in her business. The angry chairperson took the matter to the state minister for youth and children affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi for justice.

Yesterday during the hearing, the minister questioned and arrested the proprietor of the building with her daughter Aisha Namalwa and ASP Christine Kyomugasha, the officer in charge of child and family unit at Kawempe Police station for child labour cases.

The officer was detained for beating up the children who had gone to report the case and the two were arrested for engaging children in exploitative labour.

"Aisha picked us from different homes when we were playing, she told us that after work we will be getting three thousand each but that day she never paid us even the following day we worked but we were never paid. We want our money because we have wasted a lot of time," said one of the children.

The children also noted that when they reported the matter to Police, instead of getting help, they were instead beaten up by the female officer.

"The police officer beat us up calling us village thugs, she even threatened to arrest the lady we had gone with to report. I still have the wounds," said a female child.

The angry minister noted that child labour denies children their right to childhood, a good education and growing up in a safe and protected environment free from harm.

 "We did investigations and we found out that these children were beaten by a police officer when they went to report their case, I have contacted the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) boss and also the DPC Kawempe to get updates from the state attorney about the case," Nakiwala said.

Nakiwala said that anybody engaged in child labour, especially the exploitative one, will be dealt with seriously.

The minister ordered the owner of the building to pay sh2.4m to the children and also cover the transport they have been using for one month.

"We thank the minister for always listening to our cries, we are not fighting anyone all we want is justice and we are happy that we have got it," said Tony Kirumira, the chairman, Kazo.

Globally, it is estimated that 211 million children between the ages of 5-14 years and a further 141 million aged 14-17 are involved in some form of economic activity.

From the 2018 Statistical Abstract conducted by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) for 2016/2017, Child labourers increased to 2,055,000 up from 2,009,000 over the 2011-2012 period with over half of the children doing hazardous work.

The number of children doing hazardous work in urban areas is higher than those in rural areas.

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