“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.