During the handover ceremony of Lt Col Dick Kaija, the outgoing commandant of the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) at Mbuya, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Wilson Mbadi, lauded the military’s dedicated efforts in combating criminal activities on Ugandan lakes. Gen Mbadi commended Lt Col Kaija for his commitment to addressing criminality and illegal fishing, emphasizing the positive impact on fish populations and government revenue.
While acknowledging the routine change of service within the forces, Gen Mbadi praised Lt Col Kaija not only for enforcing fisheries laws but also for educating fishermen about fishing guidelines. He highlighted the significance of the FPU’s role in curbing illegal fishing practices, allowing fish populations to recover.
Despite these achievements, concerns have been raised about the military’s handling of fishermen, leading to fatalities and instances of excessive force. Gen Mbadi addressed these concerns during the handover ceremony, urging the new commander, Lt Col Mercy Tukahirwa, to lead the FPU while seeking guidance and maintaining a listening approach.
Lt Col Kaija, in turn, acknowledged the support of subordinates and officers and called for continued loyalty and support for the incoming commander. Lt Col Tukahirwa expressed gratitude for the leadership role entrusted to her and called for the cooperation of officers and personnel within the Fisheries Protection Unit.
The handover ceremony, attended by high-ranking officials such as the Commander of the Special Forces Command, Brig Gen David Mugisha, and Commander Marines Brig Gen Michael Nyarwa, marked the transition in leadership within the UPDF marine force, known for its pivotal role in combating cross-border illegal fishing on lakes such as Albert, George, and Edward.