If it had not been for the fact that Beatrice Mutesi’s 13 year-old son, Arnold Kiiza, had gone missing in Bwebajja, a Kampala suburb, it is possible that the Police would not have discovered that 56 other children were being hidden in a nearby house. It is, of course sad that Kiiza has not yet been found.
The discovery of the other children should therefore galvanize their efforts for the recovery of the boy. This double mishap has led to a situation that needs the urgent attention of Government.
For a long time now the country has been treated to unanswered reports of missing children. These children have been disappearing for various reasons, but mainly two: as victims for witchcraft and sorcery sacrifices; and secondly, for child-trafficking.
In Kayunga recently, a witchdoctor was sentenced to death for the beheading of a boy for such a disgusting ritual. Whereas, this can be termed as an outcome of the disappearance of that unfortunate child, it is incumbent upon the Government that such a situation should not arise in the first place. Surely, the activities of such a sorcerer should have been noted and checked earlier.
A similar story happened in Masaka sometime back, so repetitions of the kind are unwelcome. What is the function of the local councillors and the numerous grassroots security operatives, if they cannot anticipate such unsavoury developments?
One would have thought that Bwebajja, being an upscale residential area, would have people of reasonable intelligence, not to be involved in the trafficking of children – especially girl children – as sex slaves to Western and Eastern cities.
But one notes that the calibre of the person involved is, to say the last, reasonable. Moreover, the Police are looking for an accomplice, who is a foreign national. What has happened to our values as a religious country of both Christians and Muslims?
Whenever it comes to national affairs, the politicians are quick to harangue the priests, prelates and pastors not to poke their ecclesiastical noses into the affairs of what they claim are the affairs of the people. They claim that they have the mandate of the people to deal successfully with such issues.
The welfare of the children of Uganda should therefore come directly under the radar of politicians to ably deal with. It does not need for the issue to eventually end up as a Police matter in which criminality should have been prevented earlier and immediately.
Surely, as parents, these politicians should be at the forefront to cater for our children, noting that they, too, have that God-given parental role. The issue should not be coming up from time-to-time, either as a witchcraft case or that of child-trafficking.
It is not enough for the Government to have the Police Family Department, which in any case may not have as its mandate to cater for our children. Things should start from the Ministry of Education to that of Ethics, but most crucially as an intelligence matter – in line with that of dealing with terrorism.