The School of Law through its Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) on the 15th June, 2021 (Tuesday) hosted a roundtable discussion with senior officials of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) under the theme: “Security in Development: Exploring Uganda’s Sectors of Economic Growth”.
Looking at the intersectionality of security, peace and development, the meeting explored specifically the role of the UPDF in advancing Uganda’s National Development aspirations and more broadly its contribution in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals particularly Goal No. 16. With growing debate on the involvement of military in a number of sectors in Uganda such as, agriculture (Operation Wealth Creation), the wildlife and forest conservation (UWA & NFA), the water resource sector (fisheries) and, the oil and mineral resources (MPPU), there is hardly any scholarly analysis on such phenomenon, a gap that HURIPEC seeks to bridge.
The UPDF established under the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, Article 208 and Article 209 (b) is required to cooperate with civilian authority such as Police and as provided in the UPDF Act, engage in productive activities. This meeting explored further the nature, contributions, impact and effectiveness of the military interventions in the ‘security in development’ discourse. Interestingly, the increasing shift of the UPDF from its primary role in defending the territorial integrity of the State to its vivid involvement in development sectors needs a much deeper analysis and inquiry particularly on the aspects of functionality of such sector institutions. The temptation to engage in the national economy beyond the traditional defense economy partly lies in the question of national interests one of which is building strong institutions including the military.
The roundtable comprised of; HURIPEC team namely; Prof. Christopher Mbazira (Principal School of Law), Dr. Ronald Naluwiro (Deputy Principal School of Law), Dr. Zahara Nampewo (Director, HURIPEC), Dr. Namwase Sylvie (Post-Doc Researcher) and Jackson Odong (Associate Researcher). The UPDF officials comprised of; Major General Henry Masiko, (Chief Political Commissar and the UPDF representative to Parliament), Brig Gen Godard Busingye (Chief of Legal Services at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs and UPDF) and Brig Gen. Felix Kulayigye, (Outgoing Member of Parliament representing UPDF and newly deployed to Operation Wealth Creation)