OPINION: The Operation against Wearing Military Attire to Curb Insecurity

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While addressing the media in Kampala on 1st December 2022, the commander of the Kampala Metropolitan Police, SCP Stephen Tanui issued a 14 day ultimatum to all non-security personnel to return any attire that resembles police or any military designated uniform. The warning is also issued to dealers selling military camouflage items.

Among the listed items were; jackets, hats, trousers, shirts, bandanas, red berets, boots, t-shirts, vests and any other item classified as military paraphernalia.

According to security, in the past, some unknown people have committed crimes while wearing military attire and disguising as security operatives which in turn has tarnished the name of the security agencies as being responsible for such crimes as robbery, murders and abductions and when contacted the security agencies are not aware of such occurrences and accusations against their operations.

β€œThese criminals have also staged illegal roadblocks in the night thus extorting money from passengers and robbing motorists,” SCP Tanui said.

This has led to the recent developments of an ultimatum of anyone owning any military paraphernalia should surrender them to the nearest police station within 14 days from 1st December 2022 and thereafter there will be a countrywide operation and anyone found with any related attire will be arrested and could face a jail term of 10 years if found guilty.

With military attire only being worn by the right people, it will be easy to account for incidents where such attire have been cited and misused.

In the near future this implies that if found with this attire, it automatically means that you have been using it to commit crime or you intend to use it to commit crime and thus a suspect for any ongoing investigations.

In a bid to make this more friendly, the commander of the Kampala Metropolitan Police, Mr Stephen Tanui promised that those who return the paraphernalia within the 14 days will get Ugx10,000 for each piece of clothing as an incentive.

According Section 170(2) of the Penal Code Act, any person who, without the authority of the persons upon whose application an order under this section has been made, uses or wears any uniform, badge, button or other distinctive mark described in the order, or any uniform, badge, button or another distinctive mark so closely resembling the same as to lead to the belief that it is a uniform, badge, button or another distinctive mark so described, commits a misdemeanor.

This has not only been illegal in Uganda but also in many other countries in the world.

Similarly In 2019, the police in Kenya warned and banned civilians from wearing attire resembling military or Police Uniforms.

In so many countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South-Africa, U.S.A and many other European countries, wearing camouflage and other items reserved for the military by ordinary citizens is punishable by law.

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