Government has gazetted the red beret similar to one commonly donned by Kyadondo East Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine’s People Power Pressure group.
The gazette signed and confirmed by the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Adolf Mwesigye dated September 18, 2019, restricts red beret as part of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces’ marks, accessories, insignia, decoration and uniform as provided for under section 160 of the UPDF Act 2005.
“The public is hereby informed that the marks accessories, insignia, decoration and uniforms specified in the schedule to this notice are property of the state or classified stores and anyone found in unlawful possession, selling or dealing in them shall be prosecuted under the UPDF Act of 2005,”reads in part the government gazette.
In the gazette, government has subsequently banned the sale or uses of the beret which is part of the military uniform by any member of the public or else they face dire consequences.
Government adds that the sale or wearing of any attire which resembles the army uniform which also includes the red beret which may deceive the public is also banned.
“It is prohibited to wear or use any decoration supplied or authorised for use by any member of the defence forces or any decoration so nearly resembling that decoration and likely to deceive the public.”
The gazette stipulates that any person shall wear such insignia, marks or decorations in accordance with the UPDF Standing Orders issued by the Chief of Defence Forces.
Commenting about the matter, UPDF spokesperson, Brig, Richard Karemire said the gazette manifests the commitment to define identity and outlook of a professional army as well as adhering to the EAC protocols.
“The dress code for the UPDF has been gazette and the action was endorsed by the top organs of the army which also commended the dress committee for concluding the task assigned to it years back. This development is a milestone in the long history of the UPDF,”Karemire said on twitter.
What the law says
Section 119 (1) of the UPDF Act 2005 stipulates that every person, not otherwise subject to military law and is found in unlawful possession of ( equipment ordinarily being the monopoly of the Defence Forces and other classified stores as prescribed, is subject to military law and can be tried in military courts as appropriate.
The offence carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment when convicted.
The development comes barely a month after Bobi Wine launched the Red Beret Movement.
Last week, the Reserve Forces commander, Lt.Gen.Otema Awany warned Crime Preventers against donning red beret because they are a reserve of the army.