The UPDF is set to develop special Standard Operating Procedures for its officers who will be involved in providing security during the forthcoming 2021 general elections.
Addressing journalists on Monday, the deputy UPDF spokesperson, Lt.Col.Deo Akiiki said in the just concluded NRM primaries, there were issues that didn’t go well and noted that in future, there is need to have guidelines on how to handle such elections.
“Standard Operating Procedures are being put in place to make sure we don’t have any encumbrances as security. It should be that no security personnel does something contrary to what they are supposed to do. When you have special operations, it is good to have Standard Operating Procedures for specific operations,”Akiiki said.
He noted that the joint security team is working on the special SOPs that will be followed during the forthcoming elections and that any army officer who goes astray risks being punished.
The development comes on the backdrop of incidents involving security personnel including UPDF officers and LDU personnel during the NRM primaries.
In one incident as reported by the NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba to President Museveni, one candidate with impunity, brought in soldiers, cordoned off the polling station Butemba sub-county, in Kyankwanzi district and declared himself winner.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen.David Muhoozi recently admitted that some of the personnel guarding politicians were misled into making mistakes during the NRM primaries.
He admitted there were no specific rules of engagement.
“We did not have rules of engagement as primaries were a political party matter and such personnel was not expected to participate. Going forward, during the general election, the personnel will have to abide by certain standards; Ministry of Health SOPs to stem the spread of Covid-19 and our rules of engagement. Personnel who fall short will be held accountable,”Gen. Muhoozi said while appearing on UBC TV last week.
He however noted that the role of securing elections is the role of the police, noting that the UPDF only comes in to offer a support role.
” The freedom to exercise one’s right to participate in elections is matched by the obligation not to breach the law. Once you cross the line, the law will catch up with you. “Are we above board? We may not be out of the woods yet and that is why we need to have rules of engagement. The bottom line is that elections come and go, this shared space called Uganda should remain peaceful and this calls for collective effort,”Gen.Muhoozi said.