The Minister for Security, Maj Gen (Rtd) Jim Muhwezi has allayed public fears that the proposed motor vehicle surveillance system will infringe into people’s right to privacy.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of his meeting with the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs on Wednesday, 23 February 2022, Gen Muhwezi said that the implementation of the Intelligent Transport Monitoring System (ITMS) on all public and private motor vehicles and motorcycles is only intended to minimise high level crimes like murders, robberies and motor vehicle thefts.
“This project is about monitoring criminal elements; we are not interested in monitoring everybody’s movements, he said adding that, ‘just like CCTV cameras, they are not interrupting people’s privacy but helping in investigation to track criminal elements. It is only when there is a criminal incident that you evoke them to know which vehicles were at the scene of crime’.
Government is currently implementing the multibillion surveillance project through M/S Joint Stock Company Global Security, a Russian firm based in Moscow. Government intends to install new number plates with unique security features on all government and private vehicles in the wake of rampant murders and car thefts in the country.
During the committee meeting, Hon Theodore Ssekikubo (NRM, Lwemiyaga County) proposed that government withdraws the contract signed with M/S Joint Stock Company Global Security whose country (Russia) is in the eye of the storm with other European countries following their alleged invasion of Ukraine.
“Sanctions have been placed on Russia and its companies. It is therefore, fair to spare our time and resources by withdrawing the contract from this Russian company to avoid breaching international protocols,” Ssekikubo said.
Muhwezi said that the spilling sanctions from the European Union against Russia will not disrupt the implementation of the project.
“This project is already ongoing and to me, there is no reason to think that the project will be interrupted by the sanctions from the European Union,” Gen Muhwezi said.
Muhwezi added that it is prudent that the motor vehicle surveillance project is implemented in due course as a matter of national security intended to minimise high level crimes.
However, there was a stalemate after MPs tasked the minister to provide more details about the contracted Russian firm and its credibility to implement the project.
The minister could not provide information to the MPs’ satisfaction prompting the committee chairperson, Hon Rosemary Nyakikongoro to suspend the sitting for 30 minutes to allow the minister collect all the necessary documents regarding the firm’s registration status and the signed contract among others.
Upon resumption, Muhwezi sought for more time to allow his team to prepare the required documents, a request that was granted by Nyakikongoro, who also directed that the minister returns on a later date that will be communicated along with the Ministry of Works and Transport as the joint implementing agencies.