The Government of Uganda has contracted ‘Joint Stock Company Global Security‘, a Russian firm to install GPS trackers in every motor vehicle in the country.
The idea to track all vehicles was initially suggested by the President of Uganda, as a means to end gun crime in the country.
“Vehicles and bikes have been used in the murder of our people, and, therefore, as government, we want to know which vehicles were at the scene of crime. If you don’t want to be involved in those criminal activities, you don’t need to worry.”
The Minister of Security, Jim Muhwezi has now announced a 10-year agreement with the Russian firm sighting that it will boost security, provide a digital tracking system to monitor all vehicles and backup the already installed CCTV cameras in various locations nationwide.
“Every vehicle; motorcycle, boat and any other automobile will be re-registered and get new number plates. They will have a monitoring system and a digital system in the number plate. There will be communication between the monitor in the automobile, the number plate and the centre. You cannot, for instance, even transfer a number plate from one vehicle to another. It will communicate to the centre that there is tampering in the system.”said the Minister of Security, Jim Muhweezi.
The Minister added that re-registration of the vehicles will not be free of charge, just like how a driving permit is not free of charge. Anybody who owns an automobile will meet this charge.
With the question of a right to privacy by the constitution looming, the Minister noted; “everything was done within the laws of the country. There has been clearance from the Solicitor General. We are not putting monitors in the car like it is done in other countries. I would like to assure everybody that the system will not interest itself in the private matters of all motor vehicle users. The purpose is only security. With this system, once there is a security situation, we will be able to tell which vehicle was in that place. If there is no security problem, no one will be interested. There should be no worry of intrusion in the privacy of motor vehicle users until there is a situation.”
In the wake of this, many security and privacy concerns have been sparked with conversations taking place on and off social media, notably, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga has openly questioned the decision by the government to enter into a questionable contract with the Russians. He added that the whole deal looked fishy and scandalous and noted they would demand the ministers to explain how the company was acquired.
The Observer also reports that court documents in Russia reveal that ‘Joint Stock Company Global Security‘ is facing bankruptcy litigation in Moscow. The report further suggests that the company is also facing other debt-related cases filed between 2019 and 2021 in Russia, hereby raising questions of whether this contract is a lifeline the company needs to beat off bankruptcy litigation for its very survival, and whether the government of Uganda did adequate due diligence before engaging Global Security.
Regarding concerns of the Russian firm, the Minister explained that the contracted firm was procured under the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act and those who feel it is an infringement on their rights are free to go to court.
What do you make of this move by the Ugandan government to end gun crime? Let us know in the comments.