The Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) has warned some of its soldiers who have suffered permanent injuries during war, to guard against being taken advantage of by politicians.
The army says such soldiers are aware of the available channels within the force through which they can seek and receive help. Any other option, the army says, is tantamount to indiscipline.
The army Deputy Spokesperson Lt Col Deo Akiiki sounded the warning while speaking to ChimpReports in response to one amputated soldier who recently approached Mukono Municipality MP Hon Betty Nambooze seeking help.
Corporal (Rtd) Joffrey Mugimba who hails from Kayunga district says he was wounded at war in the Central African Republic (C.A.R), and lost his left leg.
The UPDF deployed in C.A.R from 2012 to 2017 as part of the African Union Regional Task Force in the hunt for Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony.
According to Nambooze, the soldier claims he was “brought back and dropped at his widowed mother in Kayunga where he stays abandoned.”
“With six kids to look after, Mugimba is a bitter man and he blames NRM for neglecting him. He told me that he has been to all offices and NRM MPs but received no assistance that is why he decided to try the People’s Government which he heard I speak for,” the MP says.
But according to the army spokesman, the soldier’s behavior itself is questionable.
“We need first to know his background and why he puts such claims to wrong fora,” Akiiki told us.
He says the army has a well laid out procedure of caring for its injured soldiers, which Mugumba should have known to follow.
“That is why we have a whole Chieftaincy of Rehabilitation in Mubende headed by a Brig Gen (Gyagenda) Kibirango. It has a workshop that makes limbs for those amputees and has special projects to care for their welfare,” Akiiki noted.
The army mouthpiece says Corporal Mugimba should have gone to the right forum rather than running to politicians, “who may exploit his situation to attain their own goals.”
On her part however, MP Nambooze, a member of the Democratic Party, says once her group, the People’s Government which is led by FDC’s Col Dr Kizza Besigye takes power, such doomed servicemen will not be forgotten
“Our Government will make sure that there is care and a proper system of how causalities receive medication,” she said.
“We shall ensure that Medical care is regularly available at war fronts to decrease on cases of amputation or death. Ambulance services for transferring from the field to more-capable hospitals wounded fighters will be as swift as aircraft can make them. The mental consequences of war will be dealt with as genuine illnesses and treated accordingly, rather than punishing victims.”