NRM: Army should manage elections security

The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM)party is proposing for the amendment of the electoral laws to specifically permit the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) to support the Uganda Police Force in providing security during elections.

This is contained in the proposal the party leaders presented to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee that is currently scrutinizing five bills that the Attorney General William Byaruhanga tabled before Parliament with an intention of reforming the electoral laws.

The bills are; Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill 2019, Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill 2019, Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill 2019, Political Parties and Organisations (Amendment) Bill 2019 and Local Governments (Amendment) Bill 2019.

NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba among other NRM party officials appeared before the committee as part of the committee’s consultations with political party leaders.

In her submission, Lumumba argued that the rationale for the UPDF providing security during elections is to cater for circumstances where Police may require back up from sister security agencies.

“Unless the law prescribes for situations where back up may be required; there is a danger that such interventions may be declared illegal,” Lumumba said.

Opposition MPs on the committee vehemently opposed Lumumba’s proposal arguing that the Police has capacity to provide security during elections.

“Police cannot reach a point where they will need support from the army;I am very uncomfortable with involving the army in election issues,” said Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality).

Busiro East’s Medard Lubega Sseggona argued that it would be risky to involve the army which lacks a civil mandate that police enjoys with the public.