UPDF involvement in private security services queried

Lawmakers have questioned the involvement of a Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF) owned company in private security services saying it is likely to cause confusion amongst the public.  

Last year, the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), the commercial arm of the UPDF ventured into private security, a move that has now raised concern among Members of Parliament (MPs). 

MPs on the Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) raised the issue while meeting the Managing Director of NEC, Lt. Gen. James Mugira on Friday, 05 July 2024. 

The Committee’s Deputy Chairperson, Hon. Allan Mayanja, tasked Mugira to explain the constitutionality of the UPDF’s involvement in provision of private security services. 
“Is this not contradictory to Article 210 of the Constitution,” asked Mayanja. 

AUDIO Mayanja

Mugira explained that the NEC does not utilise personnel from the UPDF, but rather recruits veterans, Uganda Police Forces, civilians and returnees from countries like Iraq. 
“Those form the core of the man power. We are registered under the police because even the licenses are issued by the police,” said Mugira adding that, ’the fire arms we use are not ordinarily used by UPDF but semi-automatic rifles which are used by other private organisations and the UPDF does not pay salaries for the workers’.

AUDIO Mugira

Hon. Yusuf Nsibambi (FDC, Mawokota County South) advised against recruitment of veterans saying that majority of Ugandans still assume that veterans are under the control of the army. 
“The support is okay but the distinction between a veteran and a serving military officer, as laymen we cannot differentiate and any abuse may be attributed to the army because the line is not clear,” Nsibambi said. 

Mugira agreed that there might be a misconception between retired and serving soldiers but clarified that those still serving in the army are taken care of by the Government whereas the veterans are not. 
“The problem is largely misconception; people need to understand and support it for the interest of the country. Our boys who have been providing services in United Arab Emirates and other countries are absorbed and given employment,” said Mugira.