Patrick Ochieng, a resident of Singila village accused some FPU officers of conniving with their civilian counterparts to confiscate their fishing nets and charge them between 200,000 and 300,000 to recover them.
Lolwe and Sigulu islands in Namayingo want the UPDF leadership to disband the Fisheries
Protection Unit-FPU for alleged gross human rights violations.
This came up during a public meeting alias Baraza
organised by the Chief of Staff of Land Forces Maj. Gen. Leopold Kyanda
and Mary Mutesi, the Coordinator of special operations for presidential
candidate, Yoweri Museveni campaigns in Busoga sub-region on Wednesday.
meeting, fishermen said that they have lost a sense of livelihood because of
the stringent enforcement measures by FPU, which has forced them out of the
Patrick Ochieng, a resident of Singila village accused some FPU officers
of conniving with their civilian counterparts to confiscate their fishing nets
and charge them between 200,000 and 300,000 to recover them.
//Cue in: “With
Cue out…is our problem,”//
Raymond Mukisa, the Namayingo district National Resistance Movement-NRM
chairperson, who doubles as a fisherman at Bukaana landing site, said the
brutal operation by the FPU has rendered many fishermen homeless as their
houses are often destroyed during operations in the search for illegal fishing
Mukisa says FPU sides with rich
businessmen who use illegal fishing gears on the lake at the expense of small
scale fishermen who can’t pay the officers for protection.
//Cue in: “There is a…
Juma Tereza, a resident of Laboro landing site
says the FPU destroyed her seven boats even when they met the required
Mutesi said the alleged human rights violations have undermined the support for
the ruling NRM party in Busoga region. She said the ongoing inquiries are aimed
at soothing the survivors’ hearts to consolidate support for Museveni, whom she
says detests brutal acts against innocent civilians.
//Cue in: “When
Cue out…Busoga sub region,”
Leopold Kyanda assured the fishermen that investigations are ongoing into their
complaints, saying the implicated officers will face individual charges for
their excesses, saying the rights violations were never sanctioned by the army.
The FPU protection was deployed by President, Yoweri Museveni on Uganda’s water bodies to stop illegal fishing
practices and protect the dwindling fish stocks.
team has managed to reduce illegal fishing practices and therefore boosted the
fish stocks, the unit has come under sharp criticism for using brutal methods,
which have in some instances cost lives and level several fishermen nursing
There have been repeated calls to the government from local leaders,
parliament, civil society activists and fishermen to disband the unit for the
rights violations. However, the army has declined to disband the unit.
Last week, the army appointed Lt. Col. Dick Kirya as the overall commandant of the FPU replacing Lt. Col. Moses Nuwagaba, Capt.
FS Mwonda replacing Capt. Favorite Rugumayo as Buyende district FPU
commander, Capt. Andrew Nayebare has been replaced by Capt. Benon
Namanya as FPU commandant in Nakasongola district and Capt. JM
Sserwaniko was sent to Greater Masaka.
Gen. Kyanda said the changes were made by the CDF following numerous complaints of corruption leavied against the officers.