Museveni orders withdrawal of CMI officers from Entebbe Airport

Museveni orders withdrawal of CMI officers from Entebbe Airport

Entebbe, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | President Museveni has issued new directives in the field of aviation, explicitly instructing operatives of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) to vacate Entebbe International Airport.

Expressing his dissatisfaction on Wednesday 15, November 2023, the President questioned the presence of CMI at Entebbe International Airport, underscoring that their designated role pertained to counterintelligence rather than the operational aspects of the airport.

“I have discovered that my instructions were not worked upon. What is CMI still doing at the airport? Are they air traffic controllers? The airport is for immigration and police,” President Museveni said.

At the pass-out ceremony for 2,717 police constables and immigration officers held at Police Training School Kabalye in Masindi District, President Museveni urged senior military officers, including Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda, to account for the non-implementation of his directives. Kyanda explained CMI’s involvement in counter-terrorism operations and its responsibility for detecting potential suspects entering the country.

President Museveni clarified that CMI’s primary focus should center on espionage against foreign armies and engaging in counterintelligence within the military, particularly in remote areas, and not at the airport. He expressed discontent with CMI’s collaborative efforts at the airport, citing instances of alleged unlawful arrests and suspicious activities.

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In addressing outdated search methods at security checkpoints, President Museveni advocated for more sophisticated and less intrusive approaches. He specifically criticized the practice of physically searching women’s breasts, emphasizing the necessity for improved, non-intrusive methods that respect individuals’ privacy.

“I am now insisting on the electronic number plates, please. I want my number, no one should claim them. These intelligent number plates for the vehicles will help to track the terrorists,” Mr. Museveni said.

The President also raised concerns about CMI’s conduct during the COVID-19 lockdown, pointing to accusations of gold theft from American buyers and the controversial arrest of a Rwandan refugee, Robert Mukombozi, at the airport.

As a result of these concerns, President Museveni mandated the removal of CMI from the airport, emphasizing their core role in counterintelligence, condemning archaic search methods, and calling for a more respectful approach to security screening.