The National – Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I WOULD like to comment on the petition made by the people of Kokoda which was presented to the Oro provincial members over the recent killing that was caused by a murder of a student by criminals from Bangoho settlement.
The request for the Popondetta police and MPS to pay compensation and medical costs for those killed and injured when Kokoda villagers mobilised and damaged properties at the Bangoho settlement and Guba market should not be entertained.
The Kokoda people should have made a peaceful protest march to the police station and Bangoho settlement and demand the arrest of the criminals who killed the boy.
Then they should petition the Bangoho settlers to pay compensation and meet funeral costs.
Why mobilise and go on rampage?
We are all human beings and burning houses and threatening people will affect the victims, especially the children.
No one would have been killed or injured if the protest was peaceful.
Compensation for the people injured or dead due to the riot has to be met by those who led the rampage.
However, I support other points raised in the petition.
* Removal of squatter settlements in Popondetta must be made now before it is too late. Settlements in Popondetta and around the country are the breeding grounds of criminals. Try visiting a settlement in Popondetta on a Friday night and you will see drunks brawling and hear gun shots and offensive, abusive swear words any decent parent would not want their children to hear; and
* Movement of long-serving policemen in the province should be carried out not only in Popondetta but in all provinces. Policemen serving a long time in one province tend to become cosy and corrupt.
The members of Northern should not pay compensation since the rioters were breaking the law and threatening lives of other citizens.
Such riots will continue to happen if the authorities fail to stamp their mark.
I call on the government and police commissioner to send mobile squad members to Popondetta.
Crime and violence in Popondetta town have increased and the people are now living in fear.
I believe all elected Northern MPs should live in Popondetta so that they know what is happening.
The people are struggling to make ends meet and the rising crime rate is not helping anyone.
There is a severe shortage of medical drugs and staff in the hospital.
The morale of medical staff and teachers is low as they are working with bare necessities.
The people want their MPs to come home and meet them so we can work together to find some solutions.