President Museveni appoints Lt. Col. Mercy Tukahirwa as new Commander Fisheries Protection Unit


President Yoweri Museveni recently elevated Maj. Mercy Tukahirwa to the rank of Lt. Col, appointing her as the new commander of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU). Tukahirwa takes over from Lt. Col. Dick Kaija, who held the position since December 2020, amid concerns about human rights violations during anti-illegal fishing operations.

Brigadier General Felix Kulayigye, UPDF spokesperson, confirmed Tukahirwa's appointment, emphasizing that an official statement from the Fisheries Protection Unit was unnecessary, stating, “Fisheries Protection Unit is a technical department under the UPDF. We don’t have to communicate the appointment.”

While no official reason has been given for Lt. Col. Dick Kaija's removal, there are allegations of compromise and ineffectiveness during his tenure, marked by a surge in illegal fishing incidents on Lake Victoria. The change in leadership comes as a response to these challenges, aiming to enhance the unit's efficacy.

The Fisheries Protection Unit, initiated by President Museveni in January 2017 to combat illegal fishing on Ugandan water bodies, has seen various commanders. Initially led by Lt. Col James Nuwagaba, the unit's formation brought about a decline in illegal fishing. However, challenges resurfaced after Nuwagaba's departure, leading to the recent change in command with the appointment of Lt. Col. Mercy Tukahirwa.

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