KAMPALA – Police have on Monday clarified that adultery in Uganda is no longer a criminal offence but rather civil matter and therefore, criminalising it, is an act of unprofessionalism and abuse of authority.
Police were responding to last week’s adultery incident where the victims were criminalised and responded to by inspector of police, Julius Ogwang of Kira Road Police Station.
CP Enanga Fred, Police Spokesperson in a statement said that the two victims were arrested and interrogated on camera, in a manner that violated their privacy.
“We also want to cation, all married persons whether in estranged, complex or sensitive relationships, to respect the sanctity of marriage and use lawful means, instead of smearing one’s reputation. Adultery, can however, be used as a ground for civil processes like divorce, separation, custody of children and sharing of property. Other areas where the public, in conspiracy with selected officers, criminalise civil matters, are private debts, where thousands are threatened with arrest.”
“We strongly condemn the criminalisation of civil matters in police,” he added.
According to Enanga, the officer who registered the case was arrested and charged with discreditable conduct, which upon conviction, can lead to dismissal from the force.
“Our action, therefore, should act as a warning to other undisciplined officers, who look to gain from proceeds of their selfish interests, at the expense of the UPF mandate. The role of the police in civil conflicts, complaints and disagreements is to protect life and property.”
Police, however, said that there are other circumstances, where victimised married persons, can report their matters to the police. These include complaints of elopement, where one elopes with a married person and stays with them, trafficking in persons, where a person uses their power or positions of superiority and takes advantage of the victim’s vulnerability or disability, and under domestic violence, where the victim is tortured physically or emotionally, by the sexual behaviour of a married partner.