President Yoweri Museveni who is also the Commander In Chief of Uganda’s armed forces has cautioned army commanders that they must fight in all conditions because in war you don’t choose a season.
“I saw this exercise. It is very good training. However, you don’t choose the season to fight. You can’t say you will only fight in the rainy season or only during the day. You must be ready to fight day and night, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 12 months a year. Today we had dust but you must also be trained to fight in the night. I want you to gain capacity to fight in all conditions. The foundation is here, the rest is refinement,” he said.
The President was speaking shortly after passing out 60 army commanders who have been undergoing an Armour Battalion Commanders Course at the Armoured Warfare Training School, Karama in Mubende district yesterday.
Initially, the President gave a brief history of armoured warfare during the 1914-1918 world war and later the 1933 second world war from fighting in the trenches, to stagnation, to infantry and tank armies and later airforces.
The Russian trained army commanders had earlier exhibited their skills in a mock command and control air and ground armour battalion exercise code named “Komboa Mpaka” (Operation Restore boundary) in blistering heat waves and strong dust storms at the training grounds in Karama.
The 60 army commanders who successfully completed a six-months’ training in an Armor Battalion Command Force course (Intake 2, 2018-2019) were sourced from already serving officers of armoured units of armoured Brigade, motorized Infantry Brigade and Special Forces Command.
The commanders attained training in tactics, gunnery of armored of vehicles, design of armored vehicles, practical firing, driving exercises and external lectures.
The President congratulated the commanders and advised them to always be ready to fight for the country in all conditions.
He thanked the Russians for their support, adding that the two countries will continue working together. “We thank the Russians for passing on knowledge to us. The Russians have always supported anti-colonial movements and us. I remember when we were fighting Idi Amin with Tanzania, we used the Russian military ammunition. We shall expand our cooperation with them,” he said.
On the issue of inadequate dormitory facilities for the students, the President encouraged the school to maximize their building capacity to avoid expenses by building for themselves dormitories, as this would save the money wasted on hiring contractors who were expensive and demand high interest rates.
On the issue of refugees who have encroached on the army land and cutting down trees for firewood, the President said they will consider resettling the refugees elsewhere.
While addressing the neighbouring community of Kasambya who also witnessed the pass-out, the President said government was already working on their roads and that the district is one of those through which the oil pipeline will pass. He said he would return to unveil governments’ plan for them.
The school commandant Brig. Gen. FC Chemo said in line with the Commander in Chiefs directive to have a well trained and professional army, the army leadership saw it prudent to continuously train her personnel under all conditions of terrain, weather and threat.
“The vision is to continuously empower our forces with new knowledge and skills to counter today’s global challenges that include terrorism with is a serious threat to regional and world peace,” he said.
According to the Chief of Defense Forces, Lieutenant General David Muhoozi, the course was part of the presidential directive to continuously strengthen the UPDF. He thanked the President for his relentless support and guidance in improving the posture of the UPDF.
“While there are still gaps, we will ensure that we follow your advice to improve on our skills. The exercise today exhibits the required competence but requires continuous training,’ he said.
In his remarks, leader of the Russian experts in Uganda Colonel Du Belotserkovsky said that the training was a sign of the good technical cooperation between Russia and Uganda. “We hope that we will proceed with the cooperation and work together to strengthen the Ugandan army,” he said.
President Museveni awarded the best commanders in the course including Lt. Col. Asuman Kweti (best performing student), Major Omaria (best in the field), Major R.M Tumusime (best in class) and Major Nathan Atwine (best overall student).