Museveni doesn’t make tracking ivory traffic any easier (Uganda)


The Indian Ocean Newsletter

Date Published
President Yoweri Museveni does not appreciate investigations into the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF, Ugandan army). He therefore intervened in early February to stop the acting head of tourism, Grace Mbabazi Aulo, from questioning two officers: Captain JohnEmily Otekat, who is on the board of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Colonel Charles Tusiime, coordinator of security and law enforcement for UWA. Grace Mbabazi Aulo had wanted to shed light onto the disappearance in November 2014 of two tonnes of ivory the UWA had seized. At the President’s request, the two officers finally answered questions from the Inspector General of Government, Irene Mulyagonja.
This situation angers Bonaventure Ebayi, director of the Nairobi-based inter-government agency fighting ivory trafficking, Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF). In his view, this illegal trade has been growing constantly in Uganda: since 2009, 13,000 tonnes of ivory have reportedly been traded. Furthermore, to help the UWA carry out its mission, the ATF provided a course in Kampala in mid-February. However, the action of the UWA Intelligence Unit under Tusiime is far from transparent; Museveni uses it principally for security purposes to suppress armed rebel groups suspected of involvement in ivory trafficking, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).