The President of Uganda, Yoweri K. Museveni, also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has ordered for the deployment of army sharp shooters and the purchase of escort cars for MPs’ protection.
The decision to enhance MPs’ security was made following a meeting between the legislators and President Museveni, wherein concerns about national security and MPs’ personal safety were discussed.
“The Members of Parliament… have been singled out for intimidation and possibly attack also. I have, therefore, decided to protect the Members of Parliament,” said Museveni, in a letter to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija ordering the purchase of escort cars to be used by the sharp shooters.
“The Members of Parliament already have some Police guards. Those will stay with them. I will, however, add two other elements: the sharp shooters of the army and follow up pickup trucks,” reads the letter in part.
“I therefore, direct you to immediately acquire a fleet of new 4 wheel drive pickups with open carriage beds. Provide additional money for those vehicles quickly…act fast. I thank you and I expect speed,” said Museveni.
Kasaija is also required to purchase “body armor and helmets that are bullet resistant” for the army sharp-shooters and the Police guards who mind the MPs.
The measures are to last the duration of procurement and installation of CCTV cameras and other security apparatus, and the President’s 12 point security master plan shared with MPs in a recent special sitting of Parliament.
The drastic measures are a response to runaway assassination of high profile individuals, the recent being Arua
Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga, and a series of murders and kidnaps that have rocked the country.
The killings rocked the country six years ago, with first victims being Muslim clerics, which then Police chief Gen Kale Kayihura perennially blamed on remnants of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) based Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels.
In the letter, Museveni says the crimes were being committed “with the possible collusion of elements in the Police,” perhaps an explanation of the sacking and subsequent detention of former Inspector General of Police Gen Kayihura, together with officers hitherto allied to him.