President of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Museveni ordered for the procurement of escort vehicles and the provision of ‘sharpshooters’ for all members of parliament.
The directive is given in a letter dated June 29, 2018, to minister of Finance Matia Kasaija.
The president’s letter which has been provided to all 456 MPs in their pigeon halls says that members of parliament have been singled out for intimidation and possible attack and that he has decided to protect the MPs as the country awaits putting in place other security systems.
It also follows an outcry from a section of legislators for additional security following an increase in cases of kidnaps and murders of women in Wakiso and Entebbe, Muslim clerics, and a number of other prominent people over the last two years.
The latest was the assassination of Ibrahim Abiriga, the former Arua municipality MP last month. Abiriga, one of the architects of the constitutional amendment to remove the cap on the presidential age, was shot alongside his brother cum bodyguard Saidi Buga Kongo near his home in Kawanda, Wakiso district.
In the aftermath of his tragic death, Museveni announced a 10-point security plan to curb all forms of criminality in the country. The new strategies included, among others, equipping motor vehicles and motorcycles with tracker electronic number plates, provision of new helmets with illuminated numbers and installing street cameras.
The president also observed a need to reinstate the Police Flying Squad and acquisition of drones to track down drive-away criminals and the acquisition of truck scanners that can detect weapons and other illegal items being sneaked into the country, among other initiatives.
Following these measures presented before parliament recently, MPs separately met Museveni on June 28 and voiced reservations about police guards from the Counter-Terrorism and requested to be provided with army escorts.
“Members of parliament already have some police guards. Those will stay with them. I will, however, add two other elements: the sharpshooters of the army and follow pickups that will be used by these sharpshooters. 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,” Museveni said.
He added that the sharpshooters and the police bodyguards should get personal body armour and helmets that are bullet resistant.
“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 members of parliament,” the letter reads.
The president adds that when the new systems are put in place, the vehicles will be given to army officers as part of the fleet of the UPDF.
“When the systems are installed, we shall do away with the individualized security which is really a waste of resources – financial and manpower. Act fast and I expect speed,” he concludes.
In his letter, Museveni says that crimes like the killings of six Muslim sheikhs, state prosecutor Joan Kagezi, kidnap and murder of Susan Magara and the killing of Assistant Inspector General of Police Felix Kaweesi were committed with the possible collusion of the police.
Besides MPs, Museveni’s letter is copied to the Vice President Kiwanuka Ssekandi, Chief of Defence Forces Gen. David Muhoozi, minister of Defence, Adolf Mwesige and Secretary to Treasury Keith Muhakanizi.