UPDF announces appointments to the Fisheries Protection Unit
Five UPDF officers have been appointed to the team that is looking into activities of the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU).
The team is headed by the UPDF Chief of Staff Land Forces (COS/LF) Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda, who was appointed by the Chief Defence Forces (CDF) Gen David Muhoozi.
The officers are Commander Lt Dick Kilyakeija, Capt J M Serwanika, who’ll command Masaka; Capt Andrew Nayebare (Nakasongola), Lt F S Mwonda (Buyende), Lt M L Mugoga (Kasese).
According to officials, the committee was inaugurated following complaints from the community of high-handedness during operations by some individual members of the FPU which was formed in 2016 to arrest a situation of fast deteriorating fish stocks in the country due to illegal fishing practices.
In order to consolidate the achievements of the FPU, the UPDF rolled out the committee to implement the structuring of command of the Task Force at all levels, ensure individual Task Force personnel who could have committed some mistakes are held accountable and establish structures to ensure effective Civil-Military Cooperation as well as reporting lines.
“Changing of the command is normal as it’s a tour of duty in the Forces. But because there were issues raised by the population, it was necessary to change the command so that we can turn a new page and have a fresh start,” Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda said, according to an official statement.
The team is expected to make a report on how the fishing activities are carried out, according to the UPDF spokesperson.
The team, dubbed Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), will tour the areas of Katerera, Katungulu, Kalangala, Bukakata, L.Albert, Nakasongola, Amolatar, Lunga and Kaiso among others.
The issues raised by the locals in areas of Nakasongola, include the impounding of about 15 motor vehicles, 47 motorcycles, and 9 bicycles by commanders, and having only one contractor making boats for all the fishermen.
The locals say the manufacturer is very slow. They also reported that some boats were being destroyed and the owners are not given a fair explanation about it.
Locals have also said the FPU was limiting the numbers of boats on fishing sites.
New guidelines have been put in place to control these activities, said the UPDF spokesperson.
The Ministry of Agriculture has been given the mandate to assess the number of boats to be allowed on lakes, for example, in Amolatar 2600 boats will be allowed as opposed to the former 600 boats.
The contracts for boat construction are to be handled by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) through the right procedures for transparency.
Impounding of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles or boats is to be handled by the RDC through the right procedures alongside the Uganda Police Force and for a given time.
Items that were illegally impounded are to be given back to the owners after proof of ownership.
The officers that were recalled are under investigation and if found guilty, they will.be dealt with in accordance with the UPDF rules.
Some of the FPU commanders who were interfering in the district administrative matters were given guidance that matters should be handled by the district administration.
There were locals that were masquerading as FPU workers and they were handed over to local police through an organization Hafaloo to handle them.
Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda noted that the establishment of the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) is being appreciated by the population because it had yielded enormous benefits to the fishing communities in particular and the country at large that needed consolidation.
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