Crime rising in rural areas despite police budget increases
and increased efforts to bring services closer to communities
through newly introduced programs like community policing and
The 2021 annual report on police crime stated emphatically that
51% of crimes are committed in rural areas compared to 46%
committed in an urban environment with rest along the expressways.
The speed at which thugs terrorize the houses of my village of
Nyamizi – parish of Kyatoko in the eastern division of Rukungiri
The municipality validates the crime report above.
While paying a final tribute to a senior member of the community and
former teacher at Kinyasano Girls’ High School, Jimmy Kataherwa
(RIP) mourners heard the chilling story of how the deceased
the house was attacked by machetes wielding goons at the same time
he was fighting for his life at Mbarara University Hospital.
Thugs would have done this for revenge since Jimmy had been
actively fighting crime and immorality in the village. The mourners felt
the home of a bold, transformative and
inspiring community leader suffered double agony.
As rural communities continue to lose valuable properties
such as livestock, food crops, household items in the hands of
redundant and growing young marijuana smokers, it seems
Ugandan law enforcement and security agencies remain indifferent
with nothing more to offer contain the situation.
The situation is going from bad to worse as reflected in the last
two years 2020 and 2021 where according to the Annual Police crime
report quoted above, the thefts followed one another signaling a strong
go from 41,950 to 43,583 cases.
A similar source said common assault and domestic violence
ranked second and third with 29,317 and 17,533 cases.
In my community, as in many other rural parts of Uganda, crime is
so endemic that most families are destined to suffer from hunger and
poverty such as the theft of chicken, bananas, coffee, livestock such as goats,
pigs, sheep and cows stolen whole or slaughtered and
transported in the form of meat to urban markets is undoubtedly increasing.
In my village, the death and absence of Mr. Kata commonly known as
which was at the center of the fight against crime, likely to aggravate
Mr. Kata was one of the highly educated few who selflessly chose
to work within his community and he will be greatly missed by
community churches, local councils, regional land committees,
Safety Committees, School Boards, Sports Teams, Politics
parties, farmer groups and many more.
Additionally, while thefts are nothing new, residents are
troubled by a scarier new wave of organized crime where
youths reportedly recruited by Kampala-linked hardcore
groups with links to businessmen in the city who provide
transportation and market ready for stolen goods.
New criminals are targeting high value livestock in large quantities,
household equipment such as solar panels and batteries, televisions and
generators, radios, wires and metals (scrap), motorcycles, Mobile
phones, and mobile money operators and many more.
Unprecedented acts of using nerve-breaking drugs on people with
night also increased.
In a rapidly urbanizing area that has recently become a municipality but
does not have a single factory or industry to employ young people.
This has not only exacerbated crime, but also increased
dismissal and its associated evils like smoking marijuana,
sale of land to buy bodabodas, rapes, night attacks, HIV rates
violence and anarchy.
The rebirth of a strong, heavily government-subsidized rural community
operational production centers like Mega Kagogo Coffee
Processing plant formerly managed by North Kigezi which unfortunately
is apparently elongated, inactive gifts would minimize employment
dilemma for residents.
Several animals stolen from the rural hinterland discovered in
The center of Kampala, in the residences of businessmen, indicates
the extent of generalized or increased insecurity throughout the country.
The order then to shoot to kill given recently by the deputy inspector of
The Ugandan police speaks volumes about the heightened insecurity in the
It seems that urban thugs are fleeing the harsh covid-19
induced economic conditions and increased security in cities for
rural areas where they would have introduced new tricks and
ways of perpetuating the crime.
Corrupt law enforcement and judicial officers: the police and the courts have
not help the situation.
LC bosses and others who protect suspected thieves for fear of
the negative reactions of relatives of the alleged thieves contribute indirectly
also to the increase in rural crime.
End corruption in government institutions held accountable
negligent tendencies that lead to poor investigation and
subsequently, insufficient evidence to result in convictions is therefore
the real solution.
The police report quoted above mentions the 1640 cases brought to
court, only 464 (28%) convictions were obtained with 155
dismissals and 14 acquittals.
In addition to the revival of the old inactive cooperative production
centers and the respective support farms must be taken into account by
the central government.
In particular, in my village, Kagogo Coffee Factory
which was once the single largest employer in the district, in
more polytechnic institutions and competence centers with
sound government funding should be established.
As for our community elders and educators, Mr. Kata and my
sister Prosy Tumuranzye Bakoraho who worked tirelessly to have
politically, socially and economically stable community, can
do you continue to rest peacefully in eternity?
Writer, researcher and policy analyst.
About the author of the article