It is often said that Agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy. When discussing forex exchange earnings, tourism, and gold exports often top the list. All these are primary pillars of Uganda’s economy but above all of them lays the center pillar that holds all these together. And this is corruption.
There are many beautiful things about Uganda. The landscapes, the hospitable people, the wildlife, the weather, the cuisines; the list is endless if we are to speak about the beauty of Uganda. But there is one major challenge in Uganda; fair mitigation in case of disagreements.
One of the hardest things to avoid is disagreements. Each of us often has our expectations while dealing with other people. The lack of clarity at times makes it inevitable to end up in disagreements. And in such instances, we need mitigation by a third party that will not take sides whatsoever.
In Uganda, the mitigation third party is often the police. Most of the issues are settled by the police without the involvement of the court. In other instances, the police work hand in hand with the courts of law to establish fairness for the aggrieved. However, fairness is a far-fetched word if you are referring to the police and courts of law in Uganda.
Anonymous, “The only police officer in Uganda who is not a thief, is one who has not yet found something to steal”
The Case of David Michael O’Connell
On 3rd April 2023, NBS TV aired their investigative story of an Irish national whose love affair with a Ugandan ended up being what is considered a masterminded fraud aided by Uganda police and courts of law! Here are some of the highlights of the investigation.
It is 2005. David Micheal O’Connell an Irish national falls in love with Ms. Catherine Nakawooza a Ugandan national. With a dream of living in a country with good weather, without any trouble of winters ever again, he makes up his mind to consider Uganda his retirement home with major investments in agriculture.
Ms. Catherine Nakawooza sets up an introduction ceremony which she baptizes as Kukyala (officially visiting parents). David is lured into signing a Buganda certificate which is later used by Ms. Catherine Nakawooza to register their relationship as a marriage.
David produces with kids with Ms. Catherine Nakawooza. And in this period, David makes several investments in Land and agriculture but mainly through Ms. Catherine Nakawooza. Some of the Land was around Kampala; Kyengera, Kitenda, and Nansana among other places. He bought over 120 acres of land in Namayumba.
The Fall Out
Ms. Catherine Nakawooza initiates a divorce in 2015 demanding 50% of all property that her “husband” David owns. Disagreements ensue because, in David’s view, he has never married Ms. Catherine Nakawooza even though he visited their home.
A magistrates court in Mpigi without Jurisdiction judges in favor of Ms. Catherine Nakawooza. David through his lawyer appeals to the high court and the high court nullifies the ruling of the magistrate court.
David has been to several police stations in Uganda, and everywhere he has gone, he was required to pay some money in order to receive services to which he objected. A case in point is of Kajjansi police station where a CID officer who claimed to have 17 years of experience asked for a one million Ugx bribe to simply forward the file of David’s case to court.
In another instance, one of the popular police officers was used to coin up a defilement case against David. He also survived a mob in Namayuba that transpassed on his property. David was also thrown out of his own home in Kyengera with the help of Uganda police.
The story is troubling but again sheds enough light on the current state of corruption in Uganda. There is no office in Uganda where you might be able to get a service without someone putting you aside to ask for a bribe. The only way to sort out the issue of corruption in Uganda, fixing the police institution.