KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni has directed the finance ministry to acquire new vehicles to be used by the army to galvanise the security of Members of Parliament.
The new four-wheel-drive pickups with open carriage beds will be manned by military sharpshooters.
Legislators have Police guards, but some have voiced their fear that they are being targeted.
Last month, the President, while addressing the nation on the security situation in the country, said his administration had laid out measures to tackle the problem.
Speaking in Parliament at the time, the Museveni said he had decided to intervene after the killings – including those of high-profile people – in some parts of the country became recurrent.
“I had not directly involved myself in the fight against crime until the killing of Maj. Muhammad Kiggundu and AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi. I had assumed that our Police Force, which is full of educated people, would handle crime.
“Negligence and collusion with the criminals by some elements in the security forces has been part of the problem,” the commander-in-chief of the armed forces said in his delivery on June 20.
Muslim clerics, kidnapped women in Entebbe and Nansana, state prosecutor Joan Kagezi and others have ended up dead.
“I decided to intervene and order the upgrading of the technological base of the Police Force,” Museveni says in his letter to finance minister Matia Kasaija.
But the security measures “may take a few months to be put in place, [and] our people to train on them”.
President Museveni says MPs have been “singled out for intimidation and possibly attack”.
“I have therefore decided to protect the Members of Parliament we await the putting in place of these systems since they [MPs] are being singled out,” he says.
Excerpt from Museveni’s letter to finance minister
The MPs 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 pick-ups that will be used by these sharp-shooters. The pick-ups will be protected, in simple ways, against small arms bullets. I can assure you, they will not be interesting targets for terrorists using Kalashnikovs (AK47s).
The sharp shooters themselves should get personal body armour and helmets that are bullet-resistant. Even the other Police guards should also get body protection.
I, therefore, direct you to immediately acquire a fleet of new 4-wheel-drive pick-ups with open carriage beds. Provide additional money for these vehicles quickly.
The army will use them to guard the MPs and when the new systems are put in place, these vehicles will be given to army officers as part of the fleet of the UPDF.
On the other hand, when the systems are in installed, we shall away with the individualized security which is really a waste of resources – financial and manpower.
Act fast. I thank you and I expect speed”.