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UPDF SOLDIERS FOR HIRE! Shock Over Museveni Government Plan to Privatize Army to Allow Rich Ugandans Hire Military Officers to Guard Their Farms

Museveni and Ugandan army UPDF soldiers. Courtesy Photo

Ugandan opposition members of Parliament (MPs) have expressed shock at President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s government plan to privatize the national army, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) so that military officers can be deployed as private guards to secure farms and other properties of the rich who can afford to pay their services.

Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga has expressed concern over the plans for UPDF’s privatization, wondering what law the government was using to open up the national army officers to be hired by the rich to guard the rich people’s cattle and poultry farms, among other properties.

According to Mpuuga, who is also the Nyendo-Mukungwe MP and National Unity Platform (NUP) vice president, opening up the national army for hire is tantamount to demeaning its sanctity.

He insisted that in order to keep the sanctity of the UPDF, its officers should not be hirable the way private security guards who work for mushrooming private firms are hired by organizations and companies.

The move for the privatization of the UPDF will mean that the country will see more soldiers deployed in private institutions, industries and on individual properties.

What most Ugandans have been used to is seeing UPDF soldiers deployed at public departments and agencies as well as guarding ‘very important persons’ in the country.

“He [Minister of Defence] has informed the country that part of the UPDF is going to be hirable & constituted into private guards, just like Wagner in Russia, if you have money you can hire, take on them to your farm and they go and they guard your poultry or cattle,” noted Mpuuga.

“Under what law is he denigrating the sanctity and the dignity of the national army into a force hirable?” asked Mpuuga.”

It should be remembered that Wagner, a private security group in Russia, recently attempted to overthrow President Vladimir Putin. Months before the attempted coup, Ugandan first son and army General Muhoozi Kainerugaba had threatened to send UPDF soldiers to defend Putin and Russia. (Read Story Here).

The Ugandan army deployed in Somalia was recently under the spotlight after it emerged that top commanders had sent unqualified personal assistants and bodyguards to the battlefield to earn Shs38m that was seen as bigger compared to the Ugandan salaries. (Read Story Here).

In response to Mpuuga’s concerns, army MP Gen James Mugira, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), wondered why there was noise over the move to privatize the UPDF.

Gen Mugira argued that the new private security services would be offered as a subsidiary of NEC.  “It is coming into scene of another subsidiary of NEC known as the National Enterprises Corporation Security services to provide some security services,” noted Mugira.

In recent years, wealthy and well connected Ugandans have been opening up private security firms. Months ago, former police boss Asan Kasingye launched a private security firm after being ‘fired’ while a private security firm owned by Museveni’s son-in-law Odrek Rwabwogo was closed for a few days before it was reopened by police. (See Details Here and There).

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