It is now a norm that whenever an election is encroaching on the Ugandan political calendar, the incumbent government comes up with fresh strategies of creating militia groups to counteract its potential threats to the lengthy three decade rule. In the year 2015 as the general elections approached, the then Inspector General of Police, Edward Kale Kayihura who turned out a loyal cadre to the incumbent created a militia group, “Crime Preventers” disguised as a law and order unit that was to assist the police.
As days passed by right from their birth, the Crime Preventers started camping at police stations across the country surviving squarely on the money of taxpayers. At one point, parliament led by opposition legislators probed the IGP to explain the source of fundings for this new group that never existed in the budget of that financial year. He stammered and dodged most of the questions till legislators gave up on him. For a fact, it is one of the key factors why his 2017 three year term extension was not approved by the opposition MPs and for that matter, he extended his term from backdoor in the office of the speaker, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga.
Crime Preventers were instrumental in quashing opposition rallies. On several occasions, they would be seen beating up supporters of the Forum for Democratic Change and other groups opposed to the NRM rule. On record, Action Plan head, Maj. Roland Kakooza Mutale was quoted justifying the torture of any group opposed to Museveni. His undeserving comments forced the then Internal Affairs Minister, the late General Aronda Nyakairima to come out and demand for a retraction of those statements. A defeated apologetic Mutale withdrew his comments following a public rant.
Three years later after a major outcry against the Crime Preventers, government under the guise of providing security to the people has come up yet again with new plans for the growing People Power force. A new group named Local Defence Unit (LDU) has been formulated all over major urban parts of the country. Thousands of unqualified people are being recruited into the force for as long as they are loyal to the regime and can ably quell protests. Our reporter took a long range photo of one of the recruitment points in Kampala. Dozens of unemployed people had flooded the point to undergo getting where only physically fit cadres are absorbed into the forces.
They are then taken to army facilities where they are introduced to combatant training. Those who survive the training are then indoctrinated into the NRM ideology and sworn an oath of allegiance. Afterwards, deployments take place. What surprised our findings is the fact that most of the LDU regiments are a dominant decorum of the streets of Kampala and Wakiso where People Power enjoys massive support. This justifies that the LDU is a partisan force serving interests of the regime. People have been decrying this unit for its upper hand in urban armed robbery. The expertise of the mobile money robbery at Entebbe road and the May 29th broad day Nansana shootings leave a lot of questions unanswered.
The LDU is ill-facilitated, neither are they owned by any of the constitutionally recognised country’s forces of the police and UPDF. Now the standing question remains; who is in charge of their welfare and payments? Scanty sources within the system reveal that the LDU is paid by the person of Salim Saleh who is a blood brother to Museveni and also doubles as a personal adviser on security matters. Each of the LDU officers earns between shs150-200,000 per month and analysts predict this to be the root of their alleged indulgence in criminal activities.
….In the next episode, we shall furthermore look into the procedure and basis of the recruitment.