“Since the NRM has already addressed the other bottlenecks such as ideological disorientation, a weak state (no Army etc.) and market integration, we are now able to move decisively on building an integrated and self sustaining economy that is independent. Here independence has never meant isolation. It means participation in the World economy on an equal and comparative basis” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni – ‘Speech at the opening of NRM MPs retreat, 2019’ 15.03.2019).
We have seen this movie before, we have seen the stages of building up a military parastatal organization to ensure and have enough guards in the streets ahead of the General Election. That was the Crime Preventers in 2015 and 2016. Since then it has been disbanded and stopped functioning. Even if it was founded in 2014, it would be fitting to see the similarities.
This happen in 2015:
“President Y.K. Museveni on Tuesday the 18th August 2015, passed out 3,348 crime preventers after undergoing a seven weeks training at Police training school Kabalye in Masindi district under the theme: The fight against unemployment and poverty through enterprise partnership and production. The crime prevention and self-defense course was aimed at equipping the youths with skills necessary for job creation in a bid to fight poverty through enterprise partnerships. The crime preventers were drawn from higher institutions of learning throughout the country” (Uganda Police Force – ‘Pass out of Crime Preventers’ 18.08.2015).
Now in the 2019, the Local Defence Unit (LDU) is being ushered in, even earlier, than the regrouping and the impressive stature of National Crime Preventers Forum (NCPF), which was important and a group cleaning the slate for the state during and before the polls last time. We can anticipate this new unit doing the same. Even if it is more directly with guns and training, as the CP was more of police foot soldiers, whose less training and active by measures of the Police. The LDU is directly under the army and is a outfit directly there.
The President is clearly preparing to ensure the public to know of the amount of security organizations, soldiers and even LDU’s in the streets. This is the same he did with the Crime Preventers. LDU’s in this narrative makes sense. He has used the excuses of street violence and riots to create it, but will use it to intimidate during elections. Just like he did with the Crime Preventers and the President cannot use the same outfit again. Than, he will look ugly to the Election Observers, whose not following it steady.
“This evening, I passed out 6,239 Local Defence Unit (LDU) trainees at Kaweweta Military Training School. The recruitees from Wakiso, Mukono and Kampala districts have completed 16 weeks of basic military and tactical training. In defending a country, you must look at the economics and find an affordable formula. You may not have such a big army but you must ensure it has the necessary strategic elements. For the UPDF, these elements are in place and we are enhancing them. We have the infantry which is easier and faster to train. It should have officers and men ready for duty. Then you have the reserves, like these LDUs, from whom we can recruit rifle men and machine gunners when necessary. When not on military duty, these reserves will be into other work like farming. But as the budget improves, we shall ensure they have frequent refresher courses. This LDU training is a robust programme. We focused a lot on the villages and some people thought they could destabilize Uganda by attacking towns because of heavy motor and human traffic” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 15.03.2019).
He calls them reserves, he is calling them an extra army and the training of them must be for some reasons, other than riots and demonstrations. This is a clear vindictive tactic, both to show power over the people. Its not enough with the laws, restricting their political freedoms, liberties or even ability to act upon the supposed multi-party democracy it’s supposed to be. However, that is not enough, how easy it is to be a political criminal. That is why the Police Force doesn’t have enough manpower, neither the Courts or any part of the Legal System is there for citizens, but for the patronage of the President.
That is why he needs more security forces for the elections, to intimidate and show his strength. Because, the President and his Party doesn’t have the popularity or the public support. He needs guns, he needs guns in the streets to show his greatness. Therefore, the LDU’s comes in as a substitute for the Crime Preventers. He just need a new program to be set-off for the old ones.
The LDU’s are reserves now, but will get more vital, more funding and become important in the hot minutes before the polls. The LDU’s will be stationed all across the Republic and with time also get posts where its needed. The LDU’s will not be used for just stopping possible urban demonstrations. Because, the President wouldn’t invest this much, if he couldn’t use it for his needs. They are up and coming.
Don’t get shocked, don’t get confused, this is preparations for the 2021. Mzee has played this game before and the saga continues. Peace.