As he returned home in Kyebando, he overpowered them after a fist fight. They all escaped.
Unlike Bukenya, very many people in Kampala have been unlucky in the face of such marauding organised criminals that have shown greater courage to attack and snatch personal possessions or make more audacious missions such as invading banks.
These criminal gangs now go with different labels including but not limited to Kifesi, Kikankane and Kabadia.
In street jams, hundreds of women and men have sadly seen their phones snatched without them being able to pursue the thieves. About a fortnight ago, the police succeeded in stopping a group of armed robbers that had allegedly stolen some 200 million shillings from a commercial bank.
The rising cases of phone robberies, car thefts and bank invasions have raised alarm among Kampalans and other Ugandans that the police and other security agencies are sleeping on their job by putting the lives and property of more people ever in greater danger.
Whereas the Police is generally charged with the responsibility of securing the lives and property of Ugandans, The Sunrise tries to find out whether the force has what it takes to bring the marauding gangs under control, and if not, who else is responsible for eliminating this evil from Uganda’s society.
Police speaks out
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga told The Sunrise that some of these gangs emerge from street children who are the responsibility of Kampala Capital City Authority’s (KCCA) to clear.
He argues that while the police force is doing whatever it can, ordinary people must move carefully to to evade the criminal gangs. Enanga however dismisses the view that Kampala is facing any threat from any group called Kifesi.
Enanga said: “The criminal gangs called Kifesi is not existing in the Kampala, Kampala city is one of the cities in the whole world with tight security. These are just political speeches done by politicians.”But Enanga adds: “But the public must be responsible. If you know that there is a gang in a certain area, why don’t you call police because police is always there for the citizens of Uganda.”
Enanga says communities must blame themselves for the upsurge in violent groups because they fail to report them to police. “These iron bar hitmen can be avoided if society reported them to police.”
“This was the same issue at Mpererwe where Bodaboda men used to rob people on their way back home. When they decided to cooperate with the police and alerted people not to move in late hours of the night, these Bodaboda gangs were arrested by police. Now the place is secure and gang free.”
Politicians, clergy speak out
Busiro East Member of Parliament Medard Lubega Ssegona on other hand pushes the blame towards careless parents whom he says have failed to guide their children not to engage in dangerous practices.
Ssegona also blames the government for failing to reduce the growing criminal gangs by supporting illegitimate groups such as Crime preventers.
Christ the King Parish priest Fr. Gerald Kalumba however blames parents for failure to give guidance to their children.”
Fr. Kalumba further expresses dismay at politicians for abdicating their role in society of formulating and implementing useful policies but instead focus on how to stay in power.
“Not all these criminal gangs love what they are doing. It’s because some lost their parents and have nobody to look after them but if the government had a special policy, the situation would be different,” Fr. Kalumba added.
Fr. Kalumba distances the church from taking responsibility of criminal gangs.”Church itself cant contain such an issue because it’s such a big problem that requires the state and parents to do their duties.”
Some police officers who spoke to The Sunrise on condition of anonymity also blame the rise of criminal gangs on negligence on the part of parents. They blamed parents for granting children too much freedom and for having exposed them to western culture of violent movies.
Fred Ssemuju, a boda boda cyclist along Ben Kiwanuka Street blames the rise of criminal gangs on laxity by security agencies.
“For Police to say that Kifesi group is not there is a big lie, because these criminals always attack people in traffic jams.”
Ssemuju adds that Police also knows where members of the gangs sleep but has never taken trouble to pursue them.
“These gangs reside in the slums of Kisenyi, Katwe, and along Ben Kiwanuka Street. Unfortunately we don’t know why police don’t react.”
Ivan Kasagga, a resident of Mengo also says the police is to blame. “I remember, on December 31st, gangs beat and stole peoples’ property when they were returning from the Enkuuka festival. Where was the police.”