Cabinet has considered a Parliamentary resolution to suspend army operations on major water bodies and established a committee to investigate complaints of brutality by the forces.
The Cabinet committee is chaired by Minister for Animal Industry, Hon. Bright Rwamirama, and will investigate complaints raised against the UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit since its inception in 2017.
This was revealed by the Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs, Hon Adolf Mwesige during the sitting of Parliament chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah on 28 January 2020.
“This Committee is expected to report back to Cabinet, which will through the Leader of Government Business report back to the House on the status of implementation of the resolution,” Adolf Mwesige said.
The Minister said that the committee had also been tasked to investigate the matter of the 16 year old Ekit Naume who was allegedly raped by a UPDF soldier in Amolatar district. The soldier is said to be from Fisheries Protection Unit.
MPs appreciated the move by Cabinet but queried the Minister on the current behaviour of the forces manning the landing sites across the country.
“The Minister needs to explain whether measures have been taken against the particular officers who are treating Parliament with contempt. We need to know whether in the interim measures, he has spoken to the UPDF officers on how to handle the present situation,” said Hon. Ibrahim Semujju Nganda (FDC, Kira Municipality).
Kasilo County MP, Hon. Elijah Okupa advised fellow MPs to work hand in hand with the UPDF Fisheries Protection Units in their areas so as to sensitize the public on good fishing and handling practices.
“I moved with the soldiers on this unit to the landing sites in Serere and appealed to the public to hand over illegal gear and that is why we have not had complaints from Kasilo. We need to put a human face to this operation,” Okupa said.
The Deputy Speaker also advised that the Committee establish ways to deal with issues that are currently pending as it carries out its investigations.
“Is there a way that you can try to balance and see to it that people are helped while the investigation goes on? This will go a long way in solving many of the issues arising,” Oulanyah said.
Minister Mwesige will also table a report by a UPDF Board of Inquiry, explaining the circumstances under which Rupa County LC3 Chairperson met his death, owing to the spike of cattle raids in Karamoja sub-region.