President Yoweri Museveni has said that failure to crystallize the concept of the National Army has been the major cause of insecurity in many African countries.
He noted that failure to undertake what a National Army should entail has largely made many countries outsource security from the United Nations instead of sourcing security from within.
“After years of analysis, we concluded that the Army should have five principles: ideology and patriotism, skills of warfare, discipline, physical fitness and bravery,” he said.
The President made the remarks at the commissioning ceremony of Officer Cadets that was held yesterday at the Uganda Military Academy Kabamba in Mubende district.
After 53 weeks of training, a total of 256 Ugandan Officers were passed out including 228 males and 28 females. There were also 57 Somali Officers who were commissioned at the same ceremony.
Another batch of 21 Ugandan provisional 2nd Lieutenant Officers from the Political Commissariat Unit were also passed out.
President Museveni explained that for any Army to be successful, it must have an ideological and patriotic stand, be skilled in warfare in all its branches and that the soldiers ought to be ready to take risks that are part of the national defense plan.
“The Army is like a surgeon who uses a knife to cut the sick parts. If you cut anyhow, you are a butcher. Soldiers use violence that is purposeful, disciplined and limited to targets,” he explained.
The President said that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) is a good Army that has done good things even without enough resources.
“UPDF is an Army of merit and patriots and not an Army of job seekers. We are now a large group of officers with those characteristics. What we need now is really consolidation,” he added.
President Museveni said government would continue to build the armed forces comprising the Land Forces, Air Force and Marines.
He noted: “there is need for more work with the Marine forces. A large part of the country is under water and the internal lakes too need security. The Marine Force will help to guard fisheries.”
He commended the Marine Force for arresting fishermen who catch young fish adding: “I was reading the New Vision newspaper and saw that fish has increased in the lakes. The fishermen had finished the fish in the lakes,” he said.
The President also said that as the economy of Uganda continues to grow, government would develop defense infrastructure such as dormitories, build and refurbish some of the Army Airbases.
He added that efforts were ongoing to harmonize salaries of Civil Servants and once done, soldiers, teachers, and health workers would get better pay.
Regarding infrastructure, he said government would tarmac the road from Lusarila – Kasambya – Kyakasa – Nkongi – Makole – Lubejjele – Lutusi on Ssembabule.
The Commandant of the Uganda Military Academy, Kabamba, Brigadier Emmanuel Musinguzi, reported that the Officers were trained in class work, warfare tactics, map use, public health, communication, military law and international humanitarian law, among others.
He added that most of the subjects were harmonized by the East African Community Cadet Schools to coordinate the Cadet Officer course in the region.
The Deputy Commander of the Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Wilson Mbadi, called upon the Officers to maintain a positive attitude as they have so many courses to undertake to become super Officers in the future.
He commended President Museveni for his leadership that has made the Army grow and achieve its mission as enshrined in Article 209 of the Uganda Constitution.
The Somali Defence Minister, Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed, thanked the UPDF and President Museveni for the support towards fighting of the Al Shabaab terrorists.
He also commended the Somali Officers who passed out for their patriotism and commitment to fighting terrorism. “This training will boost the Somali National Army,” he added.
The Somali officers were trained under a bilateral arrangement between the Government of Uganda and that of Somalia to support the security independence of Somalia.
President Museveni presented awards to Officer Cadet Apio Fionah, the best student overall, Cadet Officer Nansubuga Margaret the best in class, Cadet Officer Nuwagira Alex, the best in the field, Cadet Officer Abdi Mohamud Mire, the best fraternal student and Cadet Officer Ssentayi Disan, the most disciplined student.
General Ahmed Mohamed Jimale, the Chief of the Somali Army, attended the pass-out ceremony.