The more I see, the more vicious, more outrageous and more devastation there is. The Local Defence Unit (LDU) are a paramilitary, trained military outfit in the streets. The thousands of trained soldiers on the beat. Going around “supposedly” to secure the streets and the people in their area.
Instead we are seeing footage, pictures and reports of sudden death. Fatalities, people murdered in cold blood by these LDUs. Old people, students, farmers and roughing up Local Councillors. These LDUs got no nerves and can pop-off at any minute. They can be the judge, the hangman and the undertaker at the same moment.
It is just more of victims of these LDUs across the Republic. From Karamoja to Kampala. There is no place where they don’t kill. Where people are not murdered by the state paramilitary organization. Just within the lockdown there been about 60 people dead by the LDUs. While none has still officially been registered as dead as of COVID-19.
This is in 2020, where the only man with a vision. Where the self-styled President for life. The man who took the mantle and made peace. Inevitably have made his own State Research Bureau (SRB). Maybe Hotel Serena isn’t a torture house or a “safe house”, but there are plenty of other ungazetted “safe houses” throughout the Republic. There is also Nalufenya and Luzira awaiting political criminals any day now.
The LDUs with their potential of death. Could easily be our days SRB, which is profound. As the current day President always claims to be better than Obote and Amin. Still, he commit the same sins as the predecessors. Just think about the killings of Kasese, Muslim Clerics and High Ranking Officials who has died without any follow up in the courts or investigation over the years.
Life was cheap under Amin and Obote, but so it seems also under Museveni. Unless, your part of the Kitchen Cabinet and one of the inner circles. Then your life is more valued the gold minted in Entebbe.
When they easily assault, harm and kill individuals all across the Republic. That sets a bad precedence, but also signals of a starch warning to whom they come across. There is no justification, just being at the wrong place at the wrong time and you life can be ended.
If this so-called revolution of the 1980s was supposed to spark a difference, a fundamental change, why does it smell like the past?
Why does the actions of today’s paramilitary group act like the predecessors did?
Shouldn’t there be a difference and occasionally see significant change?
No, we are at the same junction. If it wasn’t for cellphones and footage of the violence, the extra-judicial killings. We wouldn’t know about it this quickly. It would be later in the bulletin in the Daily Monitor or New Vision. It is now for the world to see and its viral.
The same issues of the past. The ones that this administration, this regime was supposed to be different from. Apparently, it was all a lie. A rouse, a mirage, which triggered donors and believers. However, the innocent still dies on the hand of soldiers. They are named LDU, but could have just been the ugly cousin of the SRB. Peace.
“We have started and you have seen on television. For us we shoot to kill. We are not breaking people’s legs. We shall shoot to kill; the head and the chest are our target. If you play around with our Ugandans, we shall kill you. If you prepare to come and steal at night, you will lay down in your blood…” – Colonel Felix Abucha (01.01.2020)
In the new-years, on the first 1st January 2020 the orders of shoot to kill orders was given to the Local Defence Unit (LDUs). That order has been followed, every month and nearly every week someone dies at the hands of paramilitary fellow in the LDU. It is like the bullets are in for the bulletin. After that the Police Force is ordered to investigate it and it never gets solved. The victim of the extra-judicial killing isn’t returning, but the case is cold.
It is a murder in Oyam. It is a son of a commander in Kampala. A Makerere Student. It is cattle-thieves in Karamoja. Head-teacher in Mukono gets gunned down. Shot an old man in Kakiri Sub-County for playing loud music. They killed one man in Kween district.
People are scorn everywhere. A random bloke breaching the curfew to get some food for his family. His gunned down too. Because no need to reason with him, but shoot to kill. That solves everything. Who can afford “equal before law”, when you can kill people at random.
The army or the UPDF calls their mandate of the LDUs crucial. If killing innocent civilians is a crucial task. Then what is the value of law enforcement and the police? When the LDUs can be the hangman and judge without any just cause to enforce the action towards the citizen. The citizen is judged and hanged or shot before it makes any sense.
The LDUs can act a fool. They can be hasty pulling the trigger and end someone’s lives without any consequence. Someone can just get taken away. The pubic are just living on mercy. Hoping they are not passing by a hungry and ignorant, armed LDU who can pop-off at any minute. The man with a weapon can end you. There is no need for justification or explanation. The victims doesn’t matter and if they do. The LDU might suffer, but that’s because of the rank of the victim. If it is an ordinary citizens. The conspiracies and cold cases is the way to let the deaths be forgotten.
The LDUs can kill. It is not like they are well-paid or anything. They are a paramilitary force trained and to ensure the public is intimidated ahead of the 2021 election. The state needs local armed people to get people sensitized and lectured into patriotism. When they say that, the lingo means: “Loyal to the Movement and its President to death do you apart”.
The LDUs are allowed, there is no cost to kill. The extra-judicial killings can appear anywhere at any given time. The citizens can be killed for any reason. If not the authorities will make up excuses, justifications and merit for the bullets. They will make the victim seem like Bond Villain. While the killers are walking scot-free.
So, who needs courts and the police investigation criminals, when you can just have loose canons shooting random? That seems like the trick. Instead of pulling a “rabbit out of the hat” and the authorities are pulling a man with a gun. The man can use it and end the criminal case before it begun. Since he shot it to pieces. Peace.
There is dropped an Corrigenda of the Budget for the Financial Year of 2020/21. This is always put adjust after the voting on the original budget and change the placement on funds. We are now seeing the state plans to make it rain on the Local Defence Unit (LDUs). Which is already made to ensure the political pressure and insight fear towards the General Elections of 2021. This is a common thread in the mind and the spirit of National Resistance Movement (NRM). They always have one para-military outfit to secure the public is kept of guard and doesn’t challenge a rigged election.
Therefore, the state needs to ensure the para-military organization is fed and has enough equipment. Even if there is legal basis for it and its a ad-hoc idea of the President. He still will implement and use this tool, as it is convenient. That is why suddenly the LDUs getting billions for their work. This is well planned behaviour.
“Vote OO4 – Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs: Ushs. 90.6Bn provided to cater for arrears on LDUs food, fuel, clothing, medical as well as maintenance of vehicles” (Corrigenda Report FY 2020/21, 06.04.2020).
This is how suddenly the state needs funds to secure their para-military organization, whose created with one motive and motivation. This group isn’t there for securing the borders nor a foreign enemy. Neither for insurgency or terrorism. No, this is to incite fear and secure the elections. They are not there for pickpockets nor anything else, that is the Police work.
Therefore, this funds, these billions is part of the re-election charade of the NRM. Peace.
“President Museveni has directed the police leadership to deploy 20 policemen per sub-county and facilitate them with two motorcycles for patrol and easy mobility. This as he castigated the Uganda Police Force for sticking to the conventional methods of policing amidst dynamic modern crime trends. This as he closed the 25th police council meeting at police headquarters in Naguru” (NBS Television, 19.11.2019).
Before we look into the new directive of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, we can by the statistics of the Electoral Commission in 2016, estimate that there is 1403 sub-counties, as there is 112 official districts by 2016 alone. There been since then more created and awaiting more before the 2021 general elections.
By this its 1403 times 20 police officers, the grand total of 28,060 police officers. Which should be trained, stationed and paid for. By 2015 statistics there is already, all in all 44,897 police officers. That means half of them will go to sub-county level. Also, in 2015 there was a total of 1399 police posts all across the republic, which there is a lack of enough stations for all the ones whose suddenly deployed elsewhere. As well, as by the 44,897 officers only about 7,000 had supported housing. The Police Force is already underpaid and understaffed for the amount of work it has. With the new directive, the Police Force needs more police posts and more accommodations.
If we follow the Electoral Commission of 2018, then the numbers of districts are 122 and the amount of sub-counties is 1671. By the measure of police officers is then 33,420 who has to be deployed sub-county level. With that in mind, the numbers are even worse. We can imagine the even more lack of housing and police posts for them to be in. Not to think about the movement of them all. Not to imagine all them who are in special units, special training and whatnot. As there are detectives and whatnot in the police force. Not like these wants to end in Kagadi, Serere or in Lira.
With the knowledge of deploying 20 per post, which exists now, there is only capacity of 27,980. That’s with the knowledge of the 1399 posts, which exists now. But the ability to build more, must be a priority and also station it sufficiently across the sub-counties. If this policy should make any sense.
Unless, this is a political gamble and a election ploy to gain rural voters. Because, this is not only to combat crime, but show the needed amount of force. From the same presidency, that already lack the funding to pay Local Defence Units (LDUs). The same one that didn’t do enough for the Crime Preventers in the previous election cycle. This is a continuation of that.
With that in mind, I have to quote Finance Minister Matia Kasaija:
“We have discovered that many politicians simply agitate for the creation of new administrative units for creations of jobs. We already have 300 new sub-counties and 200 town councils, to get money for them to operate is a big problem” (Wilson Manishimwe – ‘Gov’t stuck with 300 newly created sub-counties’ 18.09.2019).
Seems like the President is busy creating jobs, but not having money to operate them. There are enough things that lacks funding and with this, is yet another government post, which lacks fiscal funding. Unless, the State House breaks the bank and use less on travel expenditure or payments of salaries for any of the Presidential Advisors. The Police Force might have some added funding. I am just smirking, but we know the gist.
The President is acting all out, doing quick-fix orders, ad-hoc without any thought of the budget nor implementation. It is just a snap of a finger and then suddenly things start to move. Peace.
“The LDU is not a new force; they are the reserve of the army. The security guards of the ministries are guarding ministries against break-ins. Terrorists are targeting soft targets, they are not bank robbers” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 15.09.2018).
We already knew in January 2019 that there was no money for the Local Defence Units (LDUs) in the budget year of 2018/19 and certainly not there in the 2019/20. Since today’s news proves this again. This is a re-issue of Crime Preventers Programme and a way to hire idle youth, but not do the due diligence of the actual needs to do it. That’s why the results is armed people with lack of pay, they will do anything to eat.
The Ministry of Defence has incurred a budgetary shortfall of 130.5 billion shillings as a result of the recruitment of LDU’s. This includes a wage shortfall of 40.9 billion for the 23000 LDU’s incurred in 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 financial years(Herbert Zziwa, 12.11.2019).
What does it mean:
This means, when they have an annual wage of Shs.2.4mn. Their wage shortfall, which was 14.9bn in 2018/19 means that 6,208 LDUs out of 10,919 are owed wages. Again, in 2019/20, 10,833 LDUs out of 13,000 recruited in 2019/20 don’t have their wages either. Meaning many armed and well-trained personnel from the UPDF is out awaiting their salaries (Mary Serumaga, 12.11.2019).
We can see by these calculations how it really is. The realities on the ground and the issues at hand. This is a launch to have back-up personnel for an up-coming election. To ensure the public, that they cannot have a popular uprising nor a revolution. Because, the state has enough armed forces to crush it. If it isn’t soldiers, ISO, CMI, Flying Squad, Special Forces Command or the UPDF. They will have something to target you with.
But, they are leaving them high and dry. The State is not properly approaching this. They are not spending the dimes on this as people would see deemed fit. Because, this is trained armed personnel, which can cause havoc, if they decided to do so. Why shouldn’t they? They got guns and knows how to aim!
This was a bad Ad-Hoc decision made in the wake of the violence: But he also did it to ensure up-coming elections, because that is what the President does. President Museveni doesn’t toy around with this. This is carefully estimated to secure his next term and the times ahead. Because, with these gentlemen with arms, he will have another group of armed personnel at his disposal, that can skirmish and get deployed in haste. There is nothing else too it.
His just misusing funds and the trust of people, in manners, which is extraordinary. However, very common here. As this isn’t the first nor the last time, the government lack funds for new projects, new ad-hoc decisions. As it is struggling to pay of gardening hoes from pledges made in 2015. Therefore, don’t expect magic, just more of the same. Peace.
“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.
The Local Defence Unit that was proposed last year, are by all definition a sort of Ad-Hoc decision, which is made on the spot without considering the implications it has. To explain Ad-Hoc, let me take a definition from Merriam-Webster: “for the particular end or case at hand without consideration of wider application” (Merriam-Webster – ‘Ad Hoc’).
Why do I say that the LDUs are Ad Hoc, because they came after a series of assassinations of high-ranking officials in both the police, MPs and others. Who has been sought after and taken down during last year.
That is why the President in September 2018 said this:
“The LDU is not a new force; they are the reserve of the army. The security guards of the ministries are guarding ministries against break-ins. Terrorists are targeting soft targets, they are not bank robbers” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 15.09.2018).
We can it is just a quick dip and decision made without any proper due diligence or consideration of why it is needed. More another force to quell the public and have more people with guns in close proximity of power, as the need for sudden reinforcement came during last year.
That is why the news from Daily Monitor is very compelling:
“The Defence ministry does not have the Shs9.25 billion needed to cater for Local Defence Unit (LDUs) salaries, the State Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Mr Bright Rwamirama, has said. “We have a shortfall,” Mr Rwamirama told the House Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs in Kampala yesterday. “An additional wage allocation of Shs9.2 billion is required up to the end of 2018/2019 financial year to cater for this category,” Mr Rwamirama said. Last year, Chief of Defence Forces David Muhoozi told the committee that the monthly stipend for each recruit is Shs200,000. It is not clear if Shs9.25b includes arrears. According to Mr Rwamirama, the recruits are still undergoing training” (Wesonga, 2019).
What is also special in consideration, when coming to the army in the Republic is that it is, usually one of the biggest posts on the budget! The UPDF is that, maybe except for the State House and the Office of the Prime Minister, that get funds upon funds for their activities. When, even much of the supplementary parts also goes to the Uganda People’s Defence Force. That is if you have followed this. Therefore, if there was somewhere that is well funded and should have capacity for a shortfall of cash. It should be one of the places where the most funds are put, right?
With this in mind, the LDUs should have something to eat out of the huge plate of the UPDF. Unless, they are made for ghosts and feed the invisible creatures they are. Because nothing seems right about this. Just another trick to put more weapons on the streets and intimidate even more. Not an AD Hoc decision to secure or salvage anything. Sort of like the promise of sharpshooters on the back of the convoys of MPs and VIPs. Because that would also solve their fear and lessen the violence.
You can really tell by the comments in the Daily Monitor piece, that this is all made because the President ordered so, without any prior suggestions or securing information on how to do it. It is really some hectic and rampage activity, that only shows that the “Only Man With A Vision” is losing his steps. He is going more erratic and less sense. If he had sense, he would have consulted the generals and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) to ensure the funds and possibility of finding funds for this policy. Alas, that was not the case. The state is starting something, without proper plan, execution or even funds. They are walking in blind, hoping to get a vision and find the way in the utter darkness, without a flash-light or anything to enhance the vision. That is what the state is doing, in the matter of the LDUs and it shows. Peace.
Nelson Wesonga – ‘No money for LDUs- minister’ 24.01.2019, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/No-money-LDUs–minister/688334-4949198-e55kwx/index.html
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the interference and sponsoring of rebellions has been steady in the two recent decades. There are now talks of even more brewing trouble ahead. There been killings of peacekeepers lately, also rising numbers fatalities as well, that has been reported in North Kivu. Wouldn’t be surprised if there was similar numbers compiled on the other province too.
Therefore, the recent spark, the recent trend of wondering if there are something new brewing. Is healthy to ask. There are one force who is new in play, that is the Red-Tabara who only yesterday was reported in killing 18 people in and around Uvira. While the Burundian Forces are following their trail inside the DRC. There is no numbers of how many who is part of the Red-Tabara or their possible camps. Just that they are now also a part of the conflict inside the DRC. There has also been clashes between the FNL (Forces Nationale des Liberation), the rebels of the army. Therefore, the are plenty of obstacles already.
While the Allied Defence Force (ADF) is on a rebranding mission from being a Ugandan Muslim Military Operation, whose trying to invade Uganda. To become a jihadi organization for all of East Africa. The size of their operations is uncertain at this point. These has been steady attacking and killing in Beni. Where they have had massacres and working with other local militias to control the area.
While that is happening, the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) have deployed a 1000 of their newly trained and recruited LDU to the Uganda-Congolese Border. This is been done as a measure to secure the border. Clearly, also sending a message about the use of the LDU. Who was supposed to be a supportive unit of urban crimes, but now are an extra brigade for a possible warfare in the DRC. That is not a positive a sign. The first report of larger scale deployment was on the 15th October 2018, this might have been an escalation of that. But certainly hits a pattern.
This is proof of movement from two outside forces within the battle-torn and continued warfare in the region. Which seemingly doesn’t have an end. There are also still Mayi-Mayi militias, also Rwandan backed forces within the region too. There is FDLR-FOCA, whose size is uncertain, but bouncing around after a seismic split in 2016. Where in 2018, the DRC Operations of a militia named Mouvement Rwandais pour le Changement Democratique (M.R.C.D) who parts of it came from the FDLR. Who might also be criss-crossing the border region between Burundi/Rwanda and the DRC.
While there is nothing new that there are military movement from Rwanda and Uganda, where there both supply of arms, training and militia men. This being M-23 or other groups who was supported by military supplies from across the border. Therefore, if this would happen again. It wouldn’t be shocking or surprising.
The timing of all of this is perfect again. If it flairs up to extended levels and the government will have to suspend the elections again. So that, the ones running has to post-pone it again. Just in the nick of time to secure more illegal time for Kabila to rule. While so many more lives are taken, just so one man and his cronies can reign supreme.
What is for sure, is that this picture will be materialized and secured with time. What is worrying is the scale and the amount of players involved. As the Burundian forces are now into the mix, the Rwandan with both Ex-Rebels and Militias, who knows what stakes the Ugandan has. Other than adding more forces on the border. All of this is indication of more to come. There will not be silence.
When there is smoke, there is fire. In this instance, I am worried of the escalation and the levels of troops moving. Even as uncertain as it is. Because they have killed peacekeepers, there are foreign supported militias in the Kivu’s and there are tensions in the region. Peace.