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Such behaviour is shocking and frightening in any society, and one hopes that the police have the determination and the expertise to track down and stop the killers.
Certainly, police resources are better deployed to deter this kind of crime than to chase and harass a retired bishop around a field in Mbale!
However, the most shocking story was one of cannibalism.
I read and then reread the story on page 5 of the New Vision on Thursday because I found it hard to believe. The headline was not on the front page but buried in the middle of the paper:
‘Six arrested in connection with cannibalism in Rakai’.
Apparently a young couple, with their baby, attended a funeral in Rakai District, but were not able to make it back home by nightfall, so they inquired at the village chairman’s house where they could stay.
He offered them hospitality in his own home, but then excused himself, saying that he was going to prepare supper.
What the couple did not realize was that he intended them to be on the menu.
The chairman returned with two other men with machetes, who attacked and killed the mother and baby.
The man managed to escape with deep cuts to his head and fingers and hid in the bushes.
The next day he contacted the police, but by the time they searched the chairman’s house there were no bodies to be found.
On interrogation the chairman admitted that he, his son, and another friend were habitual cannibals who preyed on strangers who approached them for help.
There were apparently another three people also in the ring. They killed their victims, cut up the bodies, sold some of the flesh and ate the rest.
This happened this week in Rakai (which the last time I checked was part of Uganda), but it was confined to an inside story in the newspaper.
When one checks the history of Uganda there was never a tradition of cannibalism like some other tribes, so surely such a practice raises basic questions about the state of our society today.
Are we going backwards or forwards?
When one puts this incident alongside the rape and murder of the young women, plus three further murders reported on the same day, there are some basic issues we still have to deal with.
Parliament has been preoccupied with issues of personal moral behaviour of late.
However, any country which has to deal with sociopathic behaviour as basic as cannibalism, rape, defilement, murder and child sacrifice has a level of ‘moral’ problems which run very deep.
The reasons for such behaviour are rooted in ignorance, superstition, greed, and poverty.
Several hundred years ago, in the dark ages, Europe was grappling with similar issues, and it was education and ‘enlightenment’, percolating downwards throughout societies from the church and government, which resulted in change.
Moral depravity, manifested by such atrocious acts, occurs when a society has eroded its values to the extent that practically anything goes, and one can get away with it.
I do not believe that Uganda has reached the lowest level, but the fact that we have had a spate of these killings recently gives us cause to consider where we are headed.
What is the level of ignorance in the villages that cannibalism can still be practiced?
What is the level of personal and social conscience that innocent girls can be raped and murdered and their bodies casually dumped?
What is the level of law and order for the society as a whole, and the efficiency of the police, to deter sociopathic behaviour?
What issues are the leadership of our society concentrating on? Are we so preoccupied with ‘political issues’ that they are taking up all our time and attention, when there are such basic problems still going on?
What about the extremely high number of defilements, what attention are we giving to this issue, and how are we stopping it?
Or is Nero fiddling while Rome burns?