Security analysts have warned that Uganda risks being plunged into anarchy by recruiting and keeping armed Local Defence Units –LDUs in the civilian populace. Uganda People’s Defence Force- UPDF is finalizing with the recruitment of 10,000 more Local Defence Units- LDUs.
But security analysts Fred Egesa and Grace Matsiko, says it was not necessary to introduce more LDUs in communities because the ones already serving have exhibited all sorts of misconduct towards civilians.
Egesa argues that UPDF leadership should have focused on addressing matters that are making the already serving LDUs unleash brutality against civilians. He insists that without tackling issues perhaps frustrating LDUs and forcing them to unleash anger on locals, incidents of human rights violations will sprout indefinitely and the public might be forced to react in self defense.
“The president has been misled by some self-seekers on many occasions,” Egesa said.
“In fact, we should reduce on gun circulation among the population and develop better civilian intelligence. It is better for experts to come and advise him on the issue of adding guns to guns in a population like Uganda. The repercussions of more guns and more guns and besides, keeping these boys underpaid, antagonizing the public, we need the best way to balance this out,” Egesa said.
However, UPDF First Division Spokesperson, Maj Charles Kabona says during recruitment, they ensured applicants have good conduct. They crosschecked to find out whether people who were seeking to join the forces were not previously criminals.
Grace Matsiko, another security analyst, says government must ensure that the existing LDUs are disbanded formerly before the ones being recruited complete training. Such a decision, according to Matsiko, would create a different picture in the public that has witnessed the worst of their conduct.
But if the government decides to add 10,000 LDUs to the ones already serving with a tinted image, Matsiko says Uganda will look like a police state something that would increase incidents of civilian mistreatment, brutality and torture.
“There must be a clear cut identity between the LDUs we have and those who are being recruited,” Matsiko reasons.
“The haphazard recruitment of these LDUs as we have witnessed is making Uganda look like a police state or a country that is gambling on security. Before we see off the ones serving, we don’t need new ones.”
During the first Covid-19 lockdown, LDUs dominated incidents of brutality unleashed onto Ugandans. The head of state Yoweri Museveni, in his last month’s address castigated his own security agencies over heinous human rights violations.
Egesa and Matsiko believes issues of brutality can be erased by focusing Uganda on installing technology as opposed to having very many numbers of security human beings. The duo argue that human beings are extremely expensive because they need a salary, accommodation, medical care and feeding yet technology is a one off buy purchase.
“Security management is now shifting from human beings to technology,” Matsiko said. “Technology is cheaper than hiring a human. Apart from catering for human beings, you have to own their mistakes which is not the case with technology. We should embrace technology.”
Once the new recruits complete their four months’ basic military training starting next month, Uganda will have over 24,000 LDUs. Museveni ordered for recruitment of LDUs in 2018 after the rampant killings of both prominent and ordinary people.