By Ivan Mwine
The government of Uganda has passed a new directive that requires all owners of motor vehicles to ensure that they re-register them with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Ministry of Works and Transport, in a bid to boost security in the country.
The directive was issued Friday by the State Minister for Security, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, who revealed during a presser that the exercise is to ensure that all motor vehicles in Uganda are fitted with tracking devises.
“The government of Uganda will conduct a re-register exercise for all the vehicles in Uganda and new electronic number plates will be issued,” Minister Muhwezi said on twitter.
Today, I have presided over the signing ceremony of the agreement between “government of Uganda and the M/S Joint-stock Global Systems company on the intelligent transporting monitoring systems. I thank H.E @KagutaMuseveni for his wise guidance and support on this project,” he added.
It should be noted that a few weeks ago the government handpicked Global Systems LLC, a Eurasian firm, to install tracking devices in all public and private vehicles, motorcycles and water vessels in the country.
According to Muhwezi, the government signed a 10-year deal with the company through classified/restricted procurement “window”.
By categorising the build-operate-transfer contract as ‘classified’ Muhwezi meant the deal cannot be publicly scrutinised and falls under security purview.
“The Eurasian firm will run it for like 10 years. We are still negotiating. The firm had wanted 15 years, but we are saying 15 years are very many. This company will build it, operate it for the period of 10 years and will transfer it to the government,” Muhwezi said.
Under the arrangement, whose details are still scanty, Global Systems’ activities shall be overseen by the government, whereby the company will attach spy chips in all vehicles, motorcycle and barges for which owners will pay Shs20,000 annually.
The purpose of the installation, according to Gen Muhwezi, is to enable the state security apparatus monitor the movements and respond with speed in case of an emergency.
The directive was first given by President Yoweri Museveni during his June 2018 address to Parliament following assassinations of several prominent politicians, Muslim clerics, and security officials.
Some of the victims of the assassinations were former Arua Municipality Member of Parliament Ibrahim Abiriga, former Buyende District Police Commander Muhammed Kirumira, and before them, police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi, to mention but a few of those who were shot by hooded gunmen riding on motorcycles, the way it was during the recent attack on Gen. Katumba Wamala, which left his daughter Brenda Nantongo and driver Haruna Kayondo dead.