Kampala – Security Minister Major General (Rtd) Jim Muhwezi has allayed public fears that the proposed motor vehicle surveillance system is undermining people’s right to privacy.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of his meeting with the Defense and Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, General Muhwezi said the implementation of Intelligent Transport Monitoring System (ITMS) on all vehicles public and private motor vehicle and motorcycle is only intended to minimize high level crimes like murder, robbery and motor vehicle theft.
“This project is about surveillance of criminal elements; we are not interested in monitoring everyone’s movements,” he said, adding that “just like CCTV cameras, they do not interrupt the privacy people but help with the investigation to follow the criminal elements. It is only when there is a criminal incident that you bring up with them to find out which vehicles were at the scene of the crime”.
The government is currently implementing the multi-billion surveillance project through M/S Joint Stock Company Global Security, a Russian company based in Moscow. The government intends to install new license plates with unique security features on all government and private vehicles following the rampant murders and car thefts in the country.
During the committee meeting, Theodore Ssekikubo, MP for Lwemiyaga County, proposed that the government withdraw the contract signed with M/S Joint Stock Company Global Security whose country (Russia) is in the eye of the storm with d other European countries following their alleged invasion of Ukraine.
“Sanctions have been imposed on Russia and its companies, so it is right to spare our time and resources by withdrawing the contract from this Russian company to avoid violating international protocols,” Ssekikubo said.
Muhwezi said that the European Union’s overflowing sanctions against Russia will not disrupt the implementation of the project.
“This project is already underway and for me there is no reason to think that the project will be halted by European Union sanctions,” General Muhwezi said.
Muhwezi added that it is prudent for the motor vehicle surveillance project to be implemented in a timely manner as a matter of national security to minimize high level crimes.
However, there was a stalemate after MPs instructed the minister to provide more details about the contracted Russian company and its credibility to implement the project.
The minister was unable to provide information to the satisfaction of the deputies, which prompted the chairperson of the committee, Rosemary Nyakikongoro, to suspend the session for 30 minutes to allow the minister to collect all the necessary documents concerning the status company registration and signed contract, among others.
Upon resumption, Muhwezi requested more time to allow his team to prepare the required documents, a request which was granted by Nyakikongoro, who also ordered that the Minister return at a later date which will be communicated with the Ministry of Works. Public and Transport as Joint Implementing Agencies.