BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2022
Grace Matsiko, the chairman of the Uganda private security association (TUPSA) has told stakeholders in the private security sector in Kenya that terrorism has changed the working situation for guards that there is need for close regional cooperation.
“We need to put our efforts together under East African Community cooperation in that we should be able to cooperate with our counterparts in Kenya the same way we do with Rwanda, Burundi or Somalia,” he emphasized.
Matsiko was speaking at an online forum to discuss the role of private security in countering terrorism hosted by the Counter Terrorism Policing – Kenya as the country considers arming it’s private security guards with gun.
Kenya has over 700,000 private security guards recruited by 642 registered companies, all of them not allowed to carry guns while Uganda has about 60,000 guards employed by 320 companies many of whom are armed with guns.
Many of the panelists and participants in the forum expressed skepticism towards the prospect of Kenya handing guns to it’s private security guards but Matsiko said the environment has greatly changed due to terrorism and radicalization.
He informed the forum that two private security guards were lost during the first terrorist attacks by the Al-Shabaab in Kampala in 2010 and in the recent mayhem by the Allied Democratic Forces, one private security guard was injured.
“Terrorists are well trained and armed with sophisticated weapons. We need a force equalizer,” he said.
Matsiko added: “We want to improve our weapons and training. We are not saying we want to be military grade but a civilian type of armed guards.”
He called for improved self regulation from private security organisations and governmental oversight saying that would mitigate abuse of firearms by guards.
He disclosed that TUPSA is collaborating with the Ugandan government to develop a private security and firearms information management system that will capture bio-data of all guards and weapons issued to them.
Already a standard curriculum has been developed with police to train security guards in Uganda.
Responding to Matsiko, an impressed Josephine Kuluo, the operations director of the Skywatch Security Company in Kenya said they would be visiting Uganda soon for benchmarking.
Kuluo was the chairperson of private security organisations assigned to safeguard the Standard Gauge Railway and the Nairobi expressway projects and her group of unarmed guards provided vital information to the Kenyan police that reportedly helped to thwart three planned terror attacks by the dreaded Islamist terror outfit, Al-Shabaab.