General Aronda sets up intelligence unit at immigration
All immigration officers will undergo military and intelligence training, the Internal Affairs Minister, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, has said.
The four-month training will be for each of the three courses on the fundamentals of intelligence, immigration and national security.
Gen Nyakairima, has also outlined a plan dubbed ‘Never Again in the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control’, that will see the establishment of an intelligence unit to crackdown corruption and crime.
The Internal Security Organisation and Immigration officials are now developing a course curriculum.
Gen Aronda, while passing out the first batch of immigration officers, who underwent a one-month course in security and intelligence at the army marine brigade headquarters in Butiaba, Buliisa District, said the intelligence unit will supervise the work of immigration officers.
“The transformation process is on. We are discussing with the Immigration director and commissioners on how to build an intelligence element in this directorate…to ensure that the people we are training and implement what we are training them to do,” Gen Nyakairima said.
The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control is a public institution that is responsible for managing the registration of nationals, and deals with migration to and from Uganda.
Gen Aronda has been accused of militarising the ministry by subjecting all civilian staff members to military training. Others allege that he is filling ministry jobs with military officers.
New entrants in the ministry are Col Steven Kwiringira as head of the national Identity Card project and Lt Col Moses Mwesigwa, a senior officer in the Directorate. The establishment of an intelligence unit that will later be upgraded to a department, is coordinated by officers from the Internal Security Organisation.
However, Gen Nyakairima said immigration is a key service player in the country’s security and he can’t allow its staff members to continue working without standard training.
“The army will ensure that our borders are safe, the police will ensure there is law and order and the intelligence will ensure that we are not taken by surprise. Now, you (immigration officer) are our gatekeepers. How could you afford to gate-keep without training? It isn’t possible,” he said.
The director of Immigration, Godfrey Sasagah Wanzira, said they need the military training since it is part of security. “We are frontline troops, we are part of security. For God’s sake, we can’t pretend about it. When bad people come at any entry point, the first person to contact is the immigration officer. [So] …Why don’t we get the skill to put our house in order such that we don’t allow infiltration into our country?” he said.
The intelligence unit will also help track illegal workers whom the ministry said are depriving the country of taxes.