It was a tweet by NTV Kenya on Thursday that got Uganda Talking.
Uganda-bound Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) were spotted at the G-section of the Port of Mombasa, and the photographs shared thereafter, created a buzz on social media in Kenya and Uganda. It was even a top news item on NTV Kenya.
Reactions were swift after the news broke.
Uganda Consular General Tayebwa Katureebe said he has not received any information concerning the embossed vehicles, but denied they are related to the elections.
“I am not aware about police cars at the Port, but if they are there they are not meant for elections,” Katureebe told a Kenyan online news service.
He noted however, that Uganda has been part of the war against terror for a long time, including joining the fight against al Shabaab in Somalia in 2007.
Ugandans had mixed feelings towards the newly procured armoured police cars ahead of its general election set for February 18.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) officials declined to comment on the ‘sensitive’ matter according to reports. Some of these vehicles embossed with the words ‘Uganda Police’ have features including water cannons, riot controls and wedged front plows.
Uganda Police spokesperson Fred Enanga confirmed that “indeed police is receiving a new fleet to replace the aging vehicles”.
“The replacement was planned two years ago. The new vehicles are needed tools now that we are in this critical period,” he told NBS TV.
“We imported 49 fire fighting equipment & five ambulances which the media is not talking about. Public order management vehicles are just six.”
The Ugandan imports come just a few days after President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) for the first time for the Kenya National Police Service.
He said they are for the defence of the frontiers so that police can act without seeking help of any other agency.”The purchase is a very important milestone in our drive to secure the frontier areas of our country. ”
“This way, Police will not be dependent on the military or other security agencies for them to perform their duties,” Kenyatta said.
“These will enable them to increase their mobility and protective gear when deployed in volatile areas.”
Below are the thoughts of some Ugandans
“Well done General Kale.Prevention is better than cure. Uganda must stay peaceful.” Said a joyous Naome Agaba.
Journalist Justus Amanya said,” I think Uganda’s opposition is becoming funny…
What’s wrong with Uganda Police acquiring new Protection Equipment? Why would a LAW ABIDING citizen get worried of Police being re-enforced?
These equipment are not NRM’s…they Uganda Police’s. Uganda Police is for Ugandans…whether NRM is here or not. Some of the equipment is even for construction… Uganda Police is planning to construct Police Headquarters and residential for its officers and men across the country.
The one who took the pictures is biased…they are more than these but many of them are construction equipment.”
“If we can afford to ship such heavy duty anti-riot trucks in time,we should afford passport books adlib. Priorities” concluded Jimmy Kiberu.
Tusiime Aaron was rather perturbed “See what they are bringing for us! Seen at Mombasa port. INSTEAD of importing CT-Scans, Standard Digital X-Rays etc for Mulago National Referral, they are bring for Ugandans “Mambas”.
They are scaring no one,we are ready to choose an understanding president! let it come 18th,its not only actually a change for saving our beloved country Uganda from an iron hand of wild animals,but also resurrecting it from hell where it has been burning for the past 30years!…..
who is that blind that does not see that Mr.President Besigye has already won?” , roared Twinomujuni Isaac.
This year’s election pits incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, who is seeking to extend his 30-year rule, against longtime opposition leader Kizza Besigye and his ally-turned-rival, Amama Mbabazi.