Six UPDF Officers Jailed for Leaking Classified Information

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In short
Six Uganda Peoples defence Forces - UPDF soldiers have been sentenced to two months in jail for what the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence CMI described as misuse of social media.

Six Uganda People's defence Forces - UPDF soldiers have been sentenced to two months in jail for what the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) described as misuse of social media.

The officers were today  arraigned before the court sitting at the Unit Disciplinary Court (UDC) at the CMI headquarters Mbuya. The committee chaired by Col Tom Kabuye sentenced the officers to serve two months in detention at Makindye military prison. 

The officers are Captain Emmanuel Kyamwiru of Special Forces Command, Captain Shemu Nakora of Armoured Warfare Training School-Kalama, Lt Wilson Kahamba, Lt Ronald Watwaluma, Lt Ronald Kabagambe and Lt Michael Asiimwe all of Oliver Tambo Leadership School, Kaweweta. They were charged found guilty of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline of the Defence Forces contrary to section 178 of the UPDF Act 2005.

The UDC Prosecutor, Lt John Emmanuel Alihihi, told court that on or around November 19th to 23rd 2017, the officers, using social media, downloaded and shared a classified military document referred to as "General Administrative Order (GAO)" copy number 36 and published it amongst different social media groups.

According to prosecution, the document which contained instructions and names of promoted officers was published by officers without proper authority and that such authority is only a preserve of the Defence Spokesperson on superior orders.

Col Kabuye, the chairman CMI disciplinary court, informed the accused that the highest punishment in an event an officer or militant releases unauthorised information is imprisonment not less than two years and later dismissal from the Defence Forces with disgrace.

All the six officers pleaded guilty to the offence and asked for forgiveness saying they did it out of ignorance and excitement over their promoted colleagues.

However, court ruled that the six be imprisoned for two months as a deterrence measure and a way of taming excitement from any other officer or militant intending to share classified information.

He explained that the reason for giving them a lean sentence was a result of their cooperation during the trial. "The accused did not waste the court's time since all of them were convicted on their own plea of guilty, they were first time offenders and that the army has invested a lot of resources in their training and development therefore dismissing them at junior ranks at the peak of their productivity would be counterproductive," he stated.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.