- The issue: Rewarding killers
- Our view: The act will encourage people to kill whoever is a suspect in the hope that they will be “paid” handsomely for it.
On April 12, the police handed Shs10 million to six residents of Bukulula Sub-County in Kalungu District, including the officer-in-charge of Bukulula Police Station, who they said had been instrumental in capturing a murder suspect, Musa Kiwaddalime. The suspect had been on the run, having escaped from the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Masaka with another suspect Galiwango.
Kiwaddalime’s luck run out when the two tried to attack Resty Nakyambadde’s home in the wee hours of the night and she raised an alarm, calling for help. The two tried to escape. Galiwango got away. Kiwaddalime did not. He was beaten to death by those who came to help Nakyambadde.
A few days later, the police handed over Shs1.6 million each to six people, who they said had provided them with information as regards the suspect. Some of the six had been part of the mob that killed Kiwaddalime.
Offering a bounty is good motivation to help communities get involved in dealing with crime in their areas of residence. Generally a bounty is offered with the hope that someone will provide the authorities with clues of suspects.
They might be able to identify someone, alert the police as to a suspect’s whereabouts, or provide crucial information that will help capture the suspect. This is why the police and prisons offered the Shs10 million to those they say had captured the suspect.
However, the following questions arise: When the suspect was grabbed and killed by residents and police defended the act saying the suspect had been trying to disarm their officer. But why couldn’t the mob arrest and tie the man without resorting to beating him to death.
Besides, the Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr Johnson Byabashaija, who delivered the money to police, said the progress made in putting Kiddawalime “out of action” is a manifestation that the community is now vigilant towards fighting crime. But wasn’t he aware that praising people for killing another could easily set a dangerous precedent. These words will encourage people to kill whoever is a suspect in the hope that they will be “paid” later for it.
And while rewarding the beneficiaries with the money in public perhaps to show transparency, what guarantee was put in place to ensure their safety, especially from people who might want to revenge the killing of their relative, friend, or partner in crime?
How safe were they from those who might want to steal this money from them? These are some of the pertinent questions the authorities should look into as regards money paid out.