Museveni deployed commandos to guard his wife in Turkana
President Yoweri Museveni left nothing to chance as Ugandan First Lady visited the volatile Turkana county for the tourism and cultural festival last week.
President Museveni ensured that Janet Museveni was accompanied to Lodwar town by a team heavily armed commandos for the festival.
The Uganda People Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers proceeded to hijack all the security measures that had been put in place at the venue by Kenyan security officials, taking over positions from the entrance and throwing a heavy cordon on the main dias.
Many of the host community were scared from attending the festival by the show of military might, as MPs from Turkana county protested the diplomatic gaffe.
Turkana East MP Nicholas Ngikor said the Ugandan soldiers should not have been allowed beyond the border because a security unit chaired by County Commissioner Julius Mathenge had already been mandated to oversee security at the event.
“The presence of the soldiers scared off many locals who had attended the event. Some even kept off.” said Mr Ngikor.
A resident Mr James Ekiru said the East African Community pact includes trust among the state countries and there was no need of the heavy security to guard Mrs Museveni.
“In most cases, our security forces are not allowed to enter Uganda with arms and we wonder why Uganda had to doubt our security units.” said Mr Ekiru.
The Ugandan soldiers were being driven in pick-ups. Some wore balaclava masks despite the high temperatures and openly wielded high calibre weaponry.
The First Lady, in her speech, urged leaders in the region to push for reconciliation and disarmament of cattle rustlers.
“There is need for much interaction and reconciliation among communities after so many years of armed conflict. We need to change mindsets that contribute to cross border wars,” said Mrs Museveni.
Leaders at the event included Governors Daniel Nanok (Turkana), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and Joshua Irungu (Laikipia) and representatives from South Sudan and Ethiopia.