There has been a 20% drop in cases of narcotic drug trafficking, according to the 2009 annual Police crime report. The report noted that the fall was because Uganda was fast turning into a consumer rather than a conduit of the illicit substances
It said there were 2,034 reported and investigated narcotics cases, which led to 2,274 arrests. Of these, only 559 were charged and convicted in court. The previous year registered 2,542 cases.
At least 14 convicts were fined close to sh4.3m.Last month, a Ugandan woman, Anne Bisaso Birungi, was arrested in Kenya with 21kg of cocaine, a banned drug.
Another three suspected foreign drug traffickers, a German, Kenyan and Nigerian, were arrested at the Entebbe International Airport with 4kg of cocaine, valued at sh120m.
The Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, said a massive campaign like the one against HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s needed to be mounted to stem local consumption of the drugs.
According to Kayihura, the drugs were also being given to students. The trend has been attributed to inadequate laws and weak control at entry points, among other reasons.
The Uganda National Drug Policy and Authority Act imposes a fine of sh1m ($500) or a one-year jail term for drug trafficking.
Attempts to amend the Act have been slow. The draft amendment Bill has been pending for more than five years without ever being tabled in Parliament for debate. In Iran, Malaysia and China, drug trafficking is punishable by death.
Four Ugandans were sentenced to death in China in 2008 for drug trafficking. In India, the penalty is life imprisonment.