As the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) yesterday marked its 37th anniversary, known as Terehe Sita, opposition Democratic Party (DP) President, Norbert Mao advised them to desist from partisan politics.
The DP leader termed as “unfortunate” the possibility of the UPDF following the in the same footsteps of the past armies which disappeared along with their ousted presidents.
Mao said that to prevent the likelihood, the army must desist from indulging in partisan politics and respect civilian authority.
“These are some of the reasons why we were fighting hard to defend Article 102 (b) because we know that if we have a chaotic change, then this army might go with the current regime,” Mao said.
He added that given the conduct of the army representatives during the age limit debate and how they voted on the constitutional amendments, casts a lot of doubt as to whether they are really non-partisan.
“The president of Uganda has been quoted severally urging Ugandans to vote along party lines; the fact that the army chose to vote for the lifting of the age limit leaves a lot of doubt concerning impartiality,” Mao said.
Mao argued that from the moment Uganda went into multiparty politics, the constitution should have been amended to remove the army from Parliament because the country must have an army that doesn’t associate with any political party.
“We expect the army to be national, it should look like Uganda. We cannot have a security apparatus which on the face looks like one part of Uganda.”
Mao gave an example that in the days of President Milton Obote, while inspecting the guard of honor, he would move with Tito Okello, Bazirio Okello or Oyite Ojok who all hail from the same region
“I am sure when you watch today when Museveni is inspecting the guard of honor, he will be seen with Gen. David Muhoozi, Gen. Kale Kayihura and Johnson Byabashaija; these are things that must change.”
“As DP, we need a people’s army that will be respectful of civilian authority. Let Terehe sita be an occasion for UPDF to rededicate itself to its historic mission to be a truly peoples’ army and not a Museveni army.”