Sunday February 9 2014

Kadaga’s security wanting, MPs say



The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has a loose security detail and remains vulnerable to danger, several MPs have said.
This comes against the backdrop of a reported letter bomb incident more than two weeks ago, in which Mr Herman Kaboggoza, one of her aides, is said to have opened a letter that exploded in his face. Mr Kaboggoza was taken to Mulago hospital for treatment.

At that time, the Speaker was attending a conference in New Zealand. Reports emerged later from sections of the media claiming Mr Kaboggoza was never injured although the Speaker’s office confirmed the incident happened
In another incident, toxic pellets were reportedly left in the Speaker’s food tray by a foreign diplomat after a meeting. Investigations are ongoing.
Police sources have remained unclear on the progress of the investigations with some preferring not to comment on the subject.

A rift is reportedly brewing between top police officers over the handling of the matter, with senior parliamentary police officers reportedly giving contradicting accounts of the incidents and investigations to the police spokesperson, Ms Judith Nabakoba and ‘victimising’ staff at the Speaker’s office for speaking to the media about the matter.

FDC secretary general Alice Alaso said the Speaker is serving in hard times yet not much attention seems to be given to her security. The Serere Woman MP said: “She has tension generated internally from her own party (NRM), you recall the Nebanda saga and rebel MPs?”

“Now you have the anti-gays Bill, and of course, terrorism. She can be a target from any of these corners.”
Despite all this, Ms Alaso said: “I don’t think her security has been enhanced to match the threats. It might be deliberate, who knows? I would expect her documents to be scanned because even as Parliament commissioner I used not to open documents myself. So the person who sent the letter bomb should have known better. Her security detail should be customised; we should not just have a police directorate at Parliament in word.”

Security expert and Bubulo East MP Simon Mulongo said the Speaker has inadequate security. “I don’t know the security detail of the Speaker; I see a female ADC and a few escort people, but security is not just numbers but quality and specialization,” he said.

The defence and internal affairs committee chairman said the Speaker, just like the prime minister, vice president and chief justice, all endangered by virtue of their sensitive decision-making positions, “have no security detail to avert asymmetrical threat. This can be biological, chemical or radioactive. We are supposed to have trained sniffer dogs to scan documents”.