General Katumba Wamala, the Chief of Defence Forces, has said there is nothing new in the withdrawal of guards from the former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s residence.
The withdrawal of military protection from Mbabazi was long overdue according to General Wamala, who argues that the police created a unit to man the security of important people like Mbabazi and as such, the army needs to be withdrawn from them to concentrate on the core activities of the UPDF.
Wamala called a press conference on Friday at the UPDF headquarters in Mbuya, Kampala to explain why the army had withdrawn the guards a few days after Mbabazi was sacked as Prime Minister.
The army chief drew inference to bible verses that there was a time for everything and that the time to withdraw the guards from Mbabazi’s home was ripe.
On Thursday evening, a group of soldiers commanded by the land forces Chief Of Staff Brigadier Leopold Kyanda went to Amama Mbabazi’s home in Kololo, Kampala to withdraw guards attached to him from the UPDF.
The soldiers packed guns, car blockades, documents and uniforms that were stored at the home.
Mbabazi, who wasn’t at the home at the time of the withdrawal appeared at his house at 6:52pm and drove into the house. He however did not speak to the press about the change of guards.
What appeared strange however at the change of guards was the use Brigadier Leopold Kyanda as the commanding officer for the operation.
Kyanda, under his role as Chief Of Staff for land forces is supposed to oversee the deployment of troops and the financial implications of the same, the equivalent of an undersecretary of a ministry.
However, while explaining this, General Wamala said the operation required an experienced and senior army officer to explain to Mbabazi what was going to be done.
Mbabazi’s home will now fall under the protection of VIPPU officers who are assigned to him by the Police force. Ordinarily, all important people of the Ugandan government are guarded by the VIPPU, though a few exceptions are made for military protection.
Other ministers who have benefitted from military protection include Janet Museveni, the First Lady and minister for Karamoja, Defence Mnister Crispus Kiyonga and Aronda Nyakairima, the minister of internal affairs who was previously the Chief of Defence Forces.