Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) has distanced itself from the quality of professionalism of Local Defence Unit guards who are notoriously terrorizing and killing people across the country as they enforce President Yoweri Museveni COVID-19 directives.
The UPDF spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire is quoted by Trumpet News on Wednesday saying that the LDU officers are ill-trained, uneducated and exhibit a character different from that of the army.
"They can’t be like us, the UPDF because we are tested, have gone through thorough training and also we have a different education background,” Brig. Karemire said commenting on the indiscipline of the LDU.
The LDU officers are recruited, trained, deployed and supervised by a UPDF chain of command. But it is common knowledge and it shows in how they conduct their patrol duties that they are not prepared well to enforce the constitutional laws.
Eight deaths at the hard hand of LDU officers have been documented across the country ever since the country was put under the COVIID-19 lockdown and the now-famous presidential directives that included a nationwide night curfew.
The eight deaths and many that are undocumented included pregnant mothers, boda boda riders, religious leaders and politicians. This has resulted in a public outcry with many people calling on President Museveni to abolish the curfew since he partly lifted the lockdown.
On Tuesday, LDU personnel patrolling in Mityana town manhandled the district chairperson Joseph Luzige when he tried to intervene in a scuffle where the military unit officers were brutalizing a female passenger on a boda boda.
In a video that has been widely shared on social media, the LDU officers in UPDF military uniform are seen hurling insults and shoving Joseph Luzige before they pushed him towards a police station.
The overzealous LDU guards have since been arrested and awaiting being invested and prosecution in the military court. The arrested officers are L/CPL Anguria Simon Peter, Pte Odeke Simon, Pte Masundi Caroline and Pte Okello.
The UPDF establishment has come out strongly to condemn the manner in which they conduct their duties. On Tuesday, a military court sentenced an LDU officer to life imprisonment for murdering a 65-year-old man in Oyam district.
"Investigations have commenced. We restate that discipline remains a core value and bedrock on which the UPDF was founded. Anyone who deviates from this will always be punished according to the established laws.
There are examples to prove this in the recent past like a soldier in Kasese was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment and an LDU personnel were yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment all because of unprofessional conduct,” Brig. Karemire told a press conference at Uganda Media Centre.