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Uganda Govt accused of militarizing the public service

The military head of the Operation Wealth Creation Gen. Charles Angina. Experts have criticized the role of the army outside military affairs.

Kampala, Uganda | JOSEPH BAHINGWIRE | The government of Uganda has been accused of involving the military in major public service sectors which has undermined the traditional civil service structures.

Dr Zahara Nampewo the Director Human Rights and Peace Center Makerere University (HURIPEC) has said the militarization of the public service has been exposed majorly by the UPDF takeover of public departments that were formerly under civilian management.

Among them she cited the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), the Operation Wealth Creation, as well as the army takeover of the fisheries department that is under the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries.

“Such incidences have shown that the army is more trusted but do not show why the civilian authority is failing to perform,” she said.

Dr Nampewo was speaking Tuesday at a symposium held at the Makerere University School of Law under the theme “Militarizing Public Service in Uganda- A solution to the governance crisis?”

The symposium was organized by the Human Rights and Peace Center Makerere University (HURIPEC) in collaboration with Society for Justice and National Unity (SoJNU).

Dr Nampewo further cited the statement made by State Minister for Investments Evyline Anite in 2017 that government would establish a hot line for investors that would be manned by the military yet her docket should be under civilian management.

The other cases of militarization are exposed in the police where over the years military officers have been appointed by the government led by   President Yoweri Museveni to head top police departments especially the IGP and deputy IGP positions.

However, Col. Barigye Ba-Hoku the UPDF deputy political commissar defended the UPDF involvement in the public service saying it’s their constitutional mandate to defend the interests, lives and property of Ugandans.

He said once the army sees the interests of Ugandans being threatened they have to intervene and put things right.

“The military world over has been known for spearheading innovations that have led to development, what is wrong for the UPDF to get involved in the country’s development,” Col. Barigye questioned.

Prof. John-Jean Barya the chair person SoJNU responded by says the UPDF is no longer a revolutionary army and no longer serves the interests of the people.

He said the army is not coming as a solution but as an escape measure of the state which shows the civil service is no longer performing.

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