Cablegate: Gou Welcomes Greater Usg Engagement On Small Arms

DE RUEHKM #0602/01 1211226
R 301226Z APR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary: Illicit small arms/light weapons (SA/LW)
proliferation in Uganda stems from numerous post-independence
conflicts, regional arms trafficking, leakage from state-owned
stockpiles, and to a lesser degree from illicit manufacturing. In
response, the GOU, with UNDP and donor assistance, established the
National Focal Point on SA/LW (NFP) in 2001 and released an
ambitious five-year National Action Plan on SA/LW (NAP) in 2005. To
date, the GOU has carried out numerous arms and munitions
destructions, workshops and awareness campaigns, and drafted a
national firearms policy and corresponding proposed amendments to
existing laws. A number of NAP targets were not met due to resource
constraints, inadequate training and issue awareness, and lack of
high-level political engagement across GOU agencies. Greater USG
support for SA/LW control and disarmament could help the GOU better
meet NAP targets through support for conventional weapons
destruction, stockpile management, border control, and cross-border
anti-trafficking initiatives. End Summary.

Background: National Focal Point Has A Plan

2. (U) The GOU established the National Focal Point (NFP) on Small
Arms and Light Weapons in 2001 to coordinate activities to prevent,
combat, and eradicate the illicit possession and trade in SA/LW.
The NFP is under the authority of Minister of Internal Affairs
Ruhakana Rugunda and is headed by Samuel Ruvuma. (Note: Former
coordinator Richard Nabudere departed in early 2008 to work for the
non-governmental organization SaferWorld. End Note.) Nabudere
reported in 2007 that the source of SA/LW proliferation in Uganda
derived from four areas: (1) weapons distributed, abandoned, or
cached during the country's post-independence conflicts; (2) arms
trafficked from neighboring countries (Sudan, Democratic Republic of
Congo, and Somalia and Ethiopia thru Kenya); (3) leakage from
state-owned armories mainly in conflict afflicted areas; and (4)
illicit manufacturing.

3. (U) The NFP, with the help of SaferAfrica and SaferWorld,
drafted and launched the GOU's 2004-2009 National Action Plan on
Small Arms and Light Weapons (NAP) in September 2005. The five-year
plan sought to provide a framework of activities to address SA/LW
proliferation. The plan contains the following ten focus areas:

--National Bodies and Agencies: Ensure that the national and
regional agencies responsible for implementation of the NAP are set
up and have the necessary resources, authority, and skills to ensure
that the NAP is effectively implemented. Establish Regional Task
Forces (RTFs).

--Policy Legislation: Formulate a national policy on firearms,
ammunition, and explosives. Revise existing legislation,
regulations, and administrative procedures on small arms control in
line with the new policy. Ensure effective implementation of passed
legislation, including training.

--Stockpile Management: Develop and implement an organizational
structure, regulations, and procedures for the Central Firearms
Registry (CFR). Conduct national stocktaking operation of all SA/LW,
including civilian and state-owned firearms, on the national
register to establish database. Identify, collect, pool,
administer, and destroy all surplus, seized, captured, and
voluntarily surrendered stock.

--Public Education: Develop and implement a national awareness and
education program to curb proliferation, reduce demand, and promote
responsible management of SA/LW.

--International and Regional Cooperation: Develop and implement
required policy, regulation, and administrative procedures to
facilitate information exchange nationally, sub-regionally, and
internationally. Undertake joint planning and operations with
neighboring countries to reduce arms trafficking, demand for arms,
and criminal activities in border areas.

--Border Control and Refugees: Expand and utilize computerized
movement control systems, including search and detection equipment
at all ports of entry. Develop a refugee management policy, create
interagency coordination mechanisms to share information, enhance
responses to refugee crises and assist with the management of human
security in and around refugee camps and the reduction of arms

--Human Development Planning: Develop and implement programs to
address demand for arms in affected communities, to include cattle
rustling, urban crime, and other socioeconomic push factors,
especially along parts of the Kenya-Uganda and Uganda-DRC borders.
Strengthen police-community relations and develop and implement
community-based policing. Tie NAP to pre-existing development and
SA/LW programs and projects (i.e. the Peace Recovery and Development
Plan for Northern Uganda and the Karamoja Integrated Disarmament and

KAMPALA 00000602 002 OF 003

Development Program).

--Training and Capacity Building: Develop and implement
comprehensive training programs to establish capacity for
implementation of international and regional agreements,
declarations, protocols, and the NAP. Train RTFs and civil society.

--Research: Develop and fund action orientated research programs.
Assess law enforcement environment in affected areas.

--Critical Areas of Support: Identify critical areas where law
enforcement agencies need support to address SA/LW proliferation.
Greater staff, technical equipment, and improved facilities were
noteworthy requirements.

--------------------------------------------- --
NAP Implementation Slow; Political Will Growing
--------------------------------------------- --

4. (SBU) NFP Advocacy Officer Joe Burua told PolOff that the NFP
had been slow in implementing its plan and admitted that many of the
goals would likely be carried over to the follow-on plan. Burua
said that a lack of understanding of the nature of the issue and how
to meet international obligations, limited resources, and NFP
capacity hindered NAP implementation. He reported that final
revisions were being made to the National Firearms Policy and the
corresponding amendments to the 1970 National Firearms Act that
would give the NFP the legal mandate necessary to be more effective
moving forward. Internal Affairs Minister Ruhakana Rugunda was very
interested in moving this issue forward, Burua noted. He thought
that the amendments could be considered by Parliament as early as
June 2008. Other NFP successes include establishment of the
Regional Task Forces in each of Uganda's police administration
regions, a number of workshops with military officials, police, and
other actors, and public awareness campaigns.

--------------------------------------------- --
UNDP And Donors Supportive of GOU SA/LW Efforts
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (U) UNDP Crisis Prevention and Recovery (CPR) Unit Program
Specialist Jose Manzano told PolOff that the UNDP provided support
for technical and coordination capacity and policy formulation
through the NFP office; the national civilian weapons registration
regime and comprehensive MIS system of firearms in Uganda; stockpile
management and destruction of surplus arms and ammunition; advocacy
and awareness raising on SA/LW; and cross-border dialogue. The UNDP
funded a month-long destruction in October-November 2007 of over 460
tons of decommissioned, unserviceable, obsolete and seized
ammunition and explosives, which culminated in a public awareness
ceremony to highlight efforts. Prior to that, UNDP supported the
July 2007 destruction of over 34,000 small arms ammunition recovered
by Police in Mpigi District and the destruction by smelting of
57,000 SA/LW in 2006.

6. (SBU) Manzano agreed that the NFP had been slow in implementing
the NAP, and suggested that the quality and motivation of the NFP
staff hindered more aggressive action. He said that UNDP-CPR
originally funded three positions in the NFP, but that two officials
departed out of frustration over the lack of NAP progress. The
third, Advocacy Officer Joe Burua, remained. He called the
departure of former NFP Coordinator Richard Nabudere a "real
setback." Manzano noted, however, that some progress had been made
and that the development of the National Firearms Policy and
corresponding amendments to the Firearms Act would help move the NAP

7. (U) Dutch First Secretary and Legal Sector Advisor Esther
Loeffen confirmed to PolOff that the Netherlands Government will
provide 500,000 euros per fiscal year to support the NFP's
implementation of the NAP. The Dutch funds would also support
weapons collection programs in northern Uganda, Karamoja, and
Kampala. Loeffen, who is the chair of the Justice Law and Order
Sector Donor Coordination Group, will hold a meeting on May 13 to
discuss donor support for the NFP and NAP implementation.


8. (SBU) The GOU, despite the many issues that hinder
implementation of the NAP, considers SA/LW proliferation a threat to
national and regional security, and is particularly concerned that
arms will continue to fall into the hands of insurgents or criminals
active in the East African region. Local weapons buy-back
initiatives such as the program initiated by Gulu Resident District
Commissioner Walter Ochora, although continued funding is lacking,
are also examples of GOU commitment. USG engagement and leadership
in the area of weapons destruction, stockpile management, border
control and detection, and regional anti-trafficking would be

KAMPALA 00000602 003 OF 003

welcomed by the GOU, and support the Mission's primary goal in
Uganda of supporting regional peace and security. The U.S.
maintains a strong relationship with the Ugandan military and may be
well positioned to engage on sensitive stockpile management issues
such as Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS).

© Scoop Media

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