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NEC’s Private Security Firm Isn’t Run By UPDF Soldiers But Veterans – General James Mugira

Lt. General James Mugira

The Executive Director of National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), Lt. General James Mugira, has said the private security firm established by NEC isn’t run by the UPDF but it was only established to assist veterans. NEC is the commercial arm of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF).

“The incorporation of NEC Security Services Limited is in line with the mandate of NEC, to establish subsidiaries, to carry out business. The business of the NEC security isn’t executed by the UPDF, but rather by NEC. We don’t deploy personnel from the UPDF, we recruit the veterans from UPDF, Police and civilians and also returnees that have been operating in countries like Iraq. So those form the core, of the manpower,” Mugira said.

He was responding to MPs on the Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) who expressed concerns about the UPDF entering into the private security, saying this might lead to commercialization of Uganda’s security at the expense of the poor people.

This followed a pronouncement made last year that the Army’s investment wing, NEC, was venturing into private security business, which prompted Allan Mayanja (Nakaseke Central) to ask  Lt. General James Mugira, to explain whether such a move won’t compromise national security.

“In line with your responsibilities as NEC, we saw you also had a private security company providing security to Ugandans, doesn’t this contradict Article 210 of the Constitution that requires the UPDF to provide security to all Ugandans?” said Mayanja.

Further responding to MPs, Mugira said NEC’s private security firm is registered under Uganda Police.

“The arms we use aren’t the arms ordinarily used by the UPDF, but arms which are semi-automatic riffles which are used by other private organizations.  The UPDF doesn’t pay salaries for those workers, so basically, we are operating within our mandate as NEC,” Mugira further remarked.

However, Yusuf Nsimbabi (Mawokota South) expressed reservations about the army venturing into private security, wondering how the UPDF expects the public to differentiate between serving and retired soldiers.

“Beyond the technical support you are giving to Ugandans, there is confusion in the public because a veteran is seen almost as a serving officer, you can’t differentiate between a veteran and a serving officer by the general public. I think this specific business in my opinion is causing some bit of confusion. For me, if I had a private security company, you wouldn’t allow me to employ a veteran because the assumption is, the veteran is still under the control and the command of the regular army,” noted Nsibambi.

Charles Bakabulindi (Workers Rep) also expressed discomfort about having retired soldiers serve in UPDF’s private security firm due to the difficulty differentiating them from serving officers.

“Assuming the retired officer is a brigadier or colonel, does he deserve a salute when they meet somewhere? Does he deserve respect and salute to his title from an active junior serving soldier?” asked Bakabulindi.

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