By Fred Kiva
Sergeant Julius Katuriba, a UPDF soldier who blocked Lands Commission Boss Jusctice Catherine Bamugemereire from inspecting a disputed land has been given the Rwenzori Star medal for blocking 'unauthorized' persons, government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo has said.
Opondo was on Monday presenting to the media Katuriba and other people decorated by President Yoweri Museveni during Heroes Day in Wakiso district.
“Because of the meticulous way these officers conducted themselves - the President decided to confer on them meritorious awards,” Opondo told the media at Uganda Media Centre.
“The Commander on duty that day was Sergeant Julius Katuriba, who was given the Rwenzori star, the 3rd highest military decoration for distinguished or exemplary military service,” he added.
Opondo said the President had awarded Katuriba and the three other officers under his command that day because they did not allow to be disarmed by people who were not their commanders and more so “prevented unauthorized persons, from entry to a restricted national security facility.”
“We acknowledge her (Justice Bamugemereire’s) role and work but we do request while doing government work all duty should be taken to follow established procedures so that the fracas that happened that day can be avoided,” Opondo said.
The commission was inspecting land under dispute in Mutungo, Kampala, in February this year, and Katuriba, who was guarding a military installation, denied them entry, saying he had no orders to let them in. Police officers guarding the land commissioners tried to disarm the UPDF soldiers in vain.
Opondo says this clearly proved that the officers had a command. The soldiers are part of the 100people in the various categories decorated during Heroes Day celebration at Kasenji town council in Wakiso District on Sunday.