The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Katumba Wamala has warned serving army officers against participating in partisan politics.
The Constitution of Uganda is very clear on electioneering, detailing all the processes regarding one’s eligibility to contest for any political position.
For serving army officers, to be able to run for any political office, they must resign and then officially get retired from the forces while for civil servants, they resign at the stipulated time, which is not less than three months.
Recently, there were reports of a certain serving army officer who was recruiting ‘vigilantes’ allegedly to guard the votes of his choice candidate. Because of his decision, a certain politician also decided to ‘recruit’ a group of youth, ostensibly to counter the vigilantes recruited by the army officer. One would shudder to imagine the outcome of a chance meeting between these two groups!
Also, it is still puzzling how a member of the security forces or the public for that matter, can carry out recruitment of intending belligerent groups without attracting the attention of the authorities.
Going by the numbers of recruits mentioned, one would also wonder where they get food and other day-to-day essentials that are necessary for their survival in the camps, where they undergo rigorous training.
That noted, as the country gears up for the 2016 elections, it is important that such groups are reined in, with the leaders facing punitive action that will serve as deterrence to others who may wish to hold the country at ransom in the future.
For it is only when the law is evoked that the country will be able to hold peaceful, free and fair elections in 2016.