The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) has come out to distance itself from comments made by former presidential candidate Col Dr Kizza Besigye, who on Friday predicted a military led overthrow of the current National Resistance Movement Government under President Yoweri Museveni.
Besigye, citing other countries where armies have mutinied or joined masses to overthrow their leaders — the latest being Mali two weeks ago, — said such was the likely end of President Museveni’s reign.
He based his prediction on the current welfare and living conditions of the armed forces, which he said are much worse than most Ugandans.
“Today you are talking of Museveni having strong military intelligence; but before you talk about intelligence; look at all these LDUs he is passing out daily. They have no food…Their expectations are high but he has nothing to give to them,” Besigye noted.
“Dictators own security apparatus, but in the final phases, they unite with the people in the demand for freedom because they themselves suffer more than the people.”
However, while speaking to ChimpReports on the matter, Brig Flavia Byekwaso, the UPDF spokesperson ruled out this possibility.
Brig Byekwaso said the UPDF is a highly disciplined force, mostly thanks to its long and complex history.
She added that over time, the conditions of soldiers have been and will continue to improve.
“Those are his thoughts; he is outside the institution. He might try to predict what the army is likely to do but he has no facts about it,” Byekwaso said.
“This army has come from far; from a time when they did not even receive a penny, to where we are today, getting paid. I don’t think we are the worst in terms of living conditions in government.”
Brig Byekwaso also cited the recent pronouncement by the Commander in Chief to have the salaries of soldiers equated to those of the teachers.
“Most of the soldiers are now earning about half a million shilling. To Besigye this may not be enough, but to soldiers they are not complaining. Remember they also have medical services, schools, they are clothed and fed. When you add all this up, we are earning much more.”
“I therefore don’t see in the near future where the army turns against the government, because as we keeping going conditions will continue improving.”