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UGANDA: Behind Museveni’s push for separate polling for security forces

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Museveni’s army (NRA/UPDF) is historically the armed wing of his regime party, the NRM.  When he came to power in 1986, he disbanded the national army (UNLA) and replaced it with his private army, the NRA.  However, reluctantly adopted the national police that had served the past governments.  In his efforts to muzzle the criminal justice system, he repeatedly castigated the national police accusing it of being hostile to his regime.  During his past sham elections, the election results from the polling stations at police barracks would vote in favour of the opposition.  At one time, he blatantly told off the police that unless they learnt to ‘vote wisely’, their welfare would never improve.

In his scheme to privatize the national police, he disbanded the traditional professional police intelligence arm, Special Branch thus the current unmanageable violent crime surge.  He eventually moved to militarize the police by deploying active military officers to take control of strategic command and administrative positions.  Since then, both the army and police have been informally incorporated into the regime party (NRM) structures as the coercive branch.  The privatised security forces, have the role of election rigging by way of orchestrating election violence as a smoke screen for rigging, curtailing the freedom of movement and assembly of opposition activists, ensuring low voter turn up through intimidation, sounding of war drums, securing regime agents of ballot stuffing and manning of parallel clandestine tally centres that alter the poll results before feeding it to the regime’s Electoral Commission for final declaration.

Save for the minority well places top echelon in the security apparatus who use their positions to siphon public resources, the majority lower cadres are serving under very tough environment while they and their families live in appalling conditions.  The scramble for access to and control of public resources amongst security outfits and individual security managers has negatively impacted their performance.  While this ethnic and patronage driven disharmony is favourable to Museveni’s political designs of retaining power,  the citizens are paying the heavy price.

It is this disharmony that Museveni has repeatedly referred to as the presence of Kawuukumi (bean weevils) within the Police ranks. The same so-called Kawuukumi in other security agencies have been kept secret.  Fearful of the deep seated divisions and mindful of the growing hostile political terrain in the country,  Museveni is not sure of the level of loyalty of his security apparatus.  When Dr. Besigye claimed that he had a sizable percentage of the army behind him, Museveni threatened to send him ‘six feet deep’.  The new kid on the block and leader of the People Power political platform, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bibi Wine has consistently claimed to be seeking to liberate the security personnel before calling upon them not to curtail his activities.  With the coming to the political forefront of Museveni’s former army chief, Gen. Muntu, the souring relations with Rwanda, Nobert Mao DP’s candidature and the predominantly Acholi lower army cadres and other factors are a cause of worry for Museveni.

It is against this background that he wants his security forces to cast their votes five days before the official national polling day.  Obviously, Museveni will have this passed and the most loyal and individuals and sections of his security apparatus (SFC, CMI, Military Police, Counter Terrorism, ISO, Field Force a d a few others) will be active in election violence, rigging, securing and consolidating his ‘victory’.  The rest of the forces will be demobilized by way of disarmament and confinement within their respective barracks until such a time the refine will feel securely in control.


—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: October 06, 2019 at 06:59PM

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