By Stephen Kalema
Local Defence Unit (LDUs) recruits currently undergoing training by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces, will earn Shs200,000 monthly, the Chief of Defence Forces, David Muhoozi, says.
And once the insecurity that necessitated their recruitment is addressed, they will be demobilised and given a sendoff package.
“The ministry has developed a policy where demobilised LDUs will be paid a sendoff package equal to their six months pay while they were in service,” Gen. Muhoozi told the House Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs on Wednesday, October 3.
“After service as LDUs, they will be linked to OWC [Operation Wealth Creation] to benefit from the programme for improved livelihoods.”
However, they will not be paid pension and gratuity since they are considered part of the auxiliary forces, Gen. Muhoozi said.
He was responding to questions by legislators representing Butambala and Kilak South, Muwanga Kivumbi, Gilbert Olanya respectively.
Mr Kivumbi had asked if the money the government will pay the LDUs would be sufficient to help them engage in gainful activities once they are demobilised.
“Is this package adequate to settle him in any formal engagement so that, having got quasi-military training, he does not descend into criminality?” Mr Kivumbi said.
Mr Olanya said in years gone by, some of the vigilantes the government had recruited for similar purposes were later demobilised and not paid for their services.
“Are you recruiting [the LDUs due to] the current crime in the city or you [will employ] them for many years?” Mr Olanya posed.
According to Gen. Muhoozi, the basis of the indiscipline of crime preventers [who used to operate under the former Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura] was that they were not resident to the areas in which they operated and they were not being paid.
The LDUs being recruited, the CDF said, would be different.
They would be subject to UPDF disciplinary rules and would be under the command of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) Reserve Force, whose field commanders would train and mentor the recruits.
The LDUs are to work together with the police and the local chairpersons under the UPDF structure.
“For that matter they are to use a gazetted UPDF uniform to ease their identity,” said Gen. Muhoozi.
About 24, 000 people will be recruited into Local Defence Force of whom 6, 000 will be deployed in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono Districts.