In a flash, Gen Yoweri Museveni has announced the return of the Local Defence Unit (LDU), which was disbanded many years ago because of committing crimes such as murder and robbery.
Now 24,000 of them will be recruited, trained and deployed mainly in Kampala and Wakiso. The main reason for the return of the LDUs is the high-profile murders that have gripped our country.
The September 8 murder of senior police officer Muhammad Kirumira has made Gen Museveni revise earlier security measures he announced three months ago following the killing of MP Ibrahim Abiriga. Most of the measures he announced have not even been implemented. Maybe this will be in addition.
The trouble with measures announced out of panic is that they are never thought through. They are announced just because someone has to announce something. When countries such as the United States are faced with any crisis, there will be a Situation Room meeting to find a solution.
In the UK, the prime minister will call for a Cobra (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A) meeting. These meetings are usually attended by security and intelligence officers, civil servants, military chiefs and ministers.
Sometimes, experts are hired to help the country’s political gurus take a decision. Kirumira was murdered at about 8pm on Saturday. Gen Museveni visited the scene about three hours later. And in 12 hours, he was announcing new measures.
He announced the measures without convening any serious organ of the state such as cabinet, the National Security Council, the UPDF High Command or UPDF Council. That is how he recently ended up writing to the minister of Finance instructing him to buy armour-plated pickups for each one of us the 450 members of parliament.
He announced in that famous letter that each MP will be given four sharp shooters. Initially, he had promised to attach one soldier from his notorious Special Forces Command (SFC) per MP in a meeting he held at the prime minister’s office (OPM).
The intended beneficiaries (MPs) have rejected the offer, except for a few. Why, for example, didn’t he hold a meeting with the parliamentary commission or a group of MPs to discuss the proposal before announcing it?
Here he is again announcing another measure not discussed with any relevant organ of the state. The murdered sheiks, including Ibrahim Kirya, Mustafa Bahiga and Muhammad Kiggundu, offered Museveni and his regime the best opportunity to apprehend the murderers but they didn’t seize it.
A list of seven prominent sheiks to be bumped off was read during the funeral of the first sheik to be murdered at Kibuli mosque. What was Museveni’s solution? Arm each sheik and attach a policeman or two.
One by one, the sheiks on the list were murdered, I think, until the perpetrators got satisfied. Then came the murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, Ibrahim Abiriga and now ASP Muhammad Kirumira.
All that Museveni and his regime needed was to attach surveillance vehicles and motorcycles to the sheiks on the list for maybe a year. The personnel in the vehicles and motorcycles would then swing into action when the attempted murder is being carried out. They may not save the victim but they will apprehend the culprit and that will be the end.
That is why some of us believe that some, if not all, of these murders are an inside job. They are being committed by fairly-trained personnel who know the workings of the Museveni regime. And that is what makes it very difficult to deal with them.
The truth of the matter is that the centre cannot hold anymore. There are obviously people inside the regime who are fighting it and others who are taking advantage of its vulnerability.
And that, for me, is the most frightening prospect – internal fights. It is not only us who are interested and working for the Museveni departure. Key regime figures are also fighting to replace the 73-year-old Museveni. Alliances have been formed. And for sure we are on our way to the Somalia situation.
That is what happened to Zimbabwe under Robert Gabriel Mugabe. His government fractured and people started positioning themselves as the once country’s genius started surrendering to nature.
Signs of this have started showing. Many of Museveni’s intelligence and security chiefs are busy mudslinging each other as the country gives way to criminals. Criminals are publicly announcing their affiliations to different security organs with impunity.
The man at the centre of all this is simply gambling. Let us brace ourselves for the worst. The earlier we get to know that his wisdom to provide solutions has evaporated, the better for Uganda. There are people who have made sacrifices to ensure his safe departure. Let us all join hands or we perish together.
The author is Kira Municipality MP and opposition chief whip in parliament.