By Ikondere Matthew
H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda and the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces passed out 6,239 Local Defense units (LDU) trainees at Kaweweta Military Training School. These are patriotic men and women recruited from the areas of Wakiso, Mukono and Kampala. This group completed 16 weeks of basic military and tactical training.
However, so many questions have been asked, regarding the LDU’s structure, command and control, and with some people labeling it as a new security organ.
First and foremost, the LDU is not a new force, but rather it forms part of the reserve service of the UPDF, as it is provided for in the UPDF Act, 2005(sources and organization of Reserve Forces), which stipulates that; (1) the sources of the reserve forces shall include, (a) personnel seconded from the regular forces, (b) retired officers and discharged militants, (c) Auxiliary forces, state security organizations and such other citizens of Uganda that have undergone military training under Article 17(2) of the constitution. This is particularly where the LDU falls.
The LDU’s have been in existence for over two decades, with most of them having operated in the villages, and at the height of insecurity in the areas of Northern Uganda and other parts of the country in the 90’s and early 2000’s, including Kampala till they were withdrawn as a result of a drop in crime rate and a period of relative peace and normalcy.
In 2017 and 2018, there was an increase in urban crime, which included the killing of prominent personalities and Muslim clerics, in the areas of Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso. Because of this, the president called for the re-instatement and recruitment of LDU personnel that would be deployed in these areas to fill the gaps police might not be able to fill because of human resource constraints. During the period of recruitment and training, the UPDF Land Forces was brought in to secure the city in an operation dubbed “OPERATION TOKORA”, and this was a successful operation, as this reduced on the crime rate in the urban areas.
Now that the LDU’s have been passed out, the UPDF force that occupied these areas will be withdrawn, and the newly passed out group will take over operations and continue from where the Infantry force stopped, ensuring there is sanity, peace and stability as citizens go about their daily business without any disturbance.
Back to the basics, the LDU is an Auxiliary force, where membership as prescribed in the UPDF Act, 2005, is restricted, particularly on the basis, such as a human resource requirement determined by threat analysis and other security considerations. In this case, the threat is the increase in urban crime, thus the need to put in place “stop-gap measures” to deal with the threat, and this would happen with the deployment of more personnel/ human resource on ground and other measures set out by the security leadership.
In regard to the command, structure and control, the LDU will operate as a regimental unit (organized in Battalions), and they will be under the direct command and control of officers from the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces.
They will receive monthly stipends for the time they will be in active military service, until the security gaps have been filled. When the units are withdrawn, the Reserve Forces Command shall identify and organize income generating projects for the benefit of reservists as well as to support the national economy.
All in all, fellow citizens of this great country, let us welcome and support the Local Defense Units, as these are part of the critical and robust measures put in place to ensure that we continue to enjoy this peace and stability, courtesy of our Armed forces and the steady leadership of H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
Viva Uganda! Viva Rais wetu! Viva Jeshi wetu.
The Writer Works In The Office Of The Senior Presidential Advisor For Special Operations