Thomas Tayebwa, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has urged police personnel to take advantage of government incentives, such as duty-free cement and iron sheets, to build their retirement homes, emphasizing that the government does not provide retirement homes for them.
Receiving a research report conducted by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) on the working and living conditions of police personnel at Parliament, Deputy Speaker Tayebwa commended the security forces for their efforts in maintaining border security and upholding law and order despite facing challenging conditions.
“That’s when the spirit of nationalism comes in but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t demand better working conditions. But I want to thank them because no one has stopped work that doesn’t have better housing,” Tayebwa highlighted.
Tayebwa stressed the importance of improving working conditions while acknowledging the dedication of the police force and he also called on the government to assess the impact of police silence amidst difficult working environments, highlighting the need for comprehensive measures to address issues raised by the UHRC report.
Moreover, Tayebwa emphasized the interconnectedness of different sectors within the Criminal Justice, Law, and Order system, underscoring the importance of addressing disparities to ensure effective functioning.
“The prosecutor depends on the investigator, and the judge depends on the prosecutor. So if you’re to do a whole ecosystem of a well-ran Criminal Justice, Law and Order system, then we have to ensure we don’t have mismatches whereby one sector is deeply looked at and the other sector isn’t looked at.” He explained.
Presenting the findings, Mariam Wangadya, Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, highlighted the dire living and working conditions of Uganda Police Force (UPF) personnel, including inadequate housing and unfair treatment in deployments, transfers, and promotions.
“The situation of housing or accommodation in UPF was dire with institutional accommodation largely dilapidated comprising shared rooms partitioned by either curtains or makeshift boards condemned structures and uniports unfit for human habitation. Junior personnel were the most disadvantaged in terms of acquiring decent housing as they were often displaced from institutional accommodation by senior personnel,” Ms. Wangadya said.
She appealed to Parliament to allocate more funds to improve conditions and facilitate proper conduct of work while emphasizing the importance of respecting human rights.
“The UPF requires facilitation to develop and implement a standard design for a police station that conforms to human rights standards update staff records to facilitate the rights of the personnel harmonize remuneration provide adequate equipment & supplies disseminate laws to all personnel and improve communication and information flow, among others,” the Uganda Human Rights Commission boss explicated.
Wangadya also addressed challenges related to retirement benefits, calling for accountability and support to ensure timely processing of pensions and gratuities and protect personnel from reprisals when adhering to the law.
In conclusion, both Deputy Speaker Tayebwa and Chairperson Wangadya emphasized the urgent need for action to address the issues raised and improve the welfare of Uganda Police Force personnel.