POLICE and military institutions in many African countries consider the brutalization of civilian populations as normal. This is because their very existence is inherent in the foundations of colonialism.

The main aim of the colonial masters in setting up the security agencies was primarily to as a weapon of oppression against the very civilian population they openly claimed to be protecting.

African security agencies find it more convenient to engage former colonial powers like Britain in various security exercises, with little or no collaboration among African states.


For example, African police institutions brutalize as a matter of routine, citizens cannot see and understand the fundamental contradiction in that precisely because that is what they were set up to do.

Allegations of police brutality against civilian populations are rampant in many African countries. For example, military regimes, pseudo-democratic regimes and civilian government have always relied and continue to rely on their individual security apparatus to unleash violence on the very people they always trumpet to be protecting.

The security agencies are also used more equally to halt peaceful protests. For example, when workers in Guinea took to the streets of Conakry demanding the resignation of President Lansana Conte, the regime used the security agencies to attack the defenceless marchers, killing some of them in the process.

The same could be said of Gambia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Kenya, where protesters have been beaten, arrested and subsequently tortured by the police and military.

Some have been allegedly used to carry out fraud in elections as was reported in Nigerian elections where the television cameras took footage of some police personnel hijacking ballot boxes from polling stations at the full glare of the general public.

In some cases they are used to intimidate political opponents and their supporters, just to scare them away from the polling stations.

I believes this attitude is again inherent in the exclusion of the police and the military from the people, contrary to what pertains in the west.

You have policemen living within their communities with the people and only go to the police station as their office, where they change into their uniform to carry out their official duties.

“There are no police barracks in the west; you do not have police men living as islands to themselves. But you have policeman as part of the community.”

#in my view, “The reason why we have the police barracks is because the colonial authority had a particular force that it could call on at anytime to repress the people therefore if the police were living in the community they will not have been able to take on the issues.”

Richard Musaazi
Twitter @musaazi22
A Private Investigator and Social commentator, I also contribute to the improvement of national security and crime services through addressing key issues and challenges facing Uganda.


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