President Yoweri Museveni who is also the Commander in Chief of the armed forces has heaped praise on the UPDF for being one of the most accomplished and compact armies in the world.
While officiating at the commissioning of 275 cadet officers at the Uganda Military Academy, Kabamba in Mubende district, Museveni noted that the concept of crystallising a national army has not been easy for many countries prompting the intervention of the United Nations which he referred to as outsourced security.
“Such a situation has often been a result of government’s failure to understand what makes a national army,”Museveni said.
He outlined five ingredients that constitute a national Army as:patriotic ideology, being skilled in warfare, having good discipline, exhibiting brevity and always maintaining physical health.
“The UPDF has achieved all the above ingredients and is now focusing on their consolidation.”
Gen.Museveni singled out discipline as a crucial factor and equated it to a medical surgeon who purposefully uses a surgical knife to save lives.
“In the same way, soldiers use purposeful, disciplined and targeted violence to create peaceful and secure environments.”
Elaborating how purposeful UPDF has used violence, the president gave an example of the UPDF marine Brigade which has fought illegal fishing and resulting into an increase of fish production in most Ugandan waters.
He however cautioned fishermen using illegal fishing methods to abandon the vice and repent their sins instead of turning shame into anger so that the government can find means of supporting them.
Fifty-five of the commissioned officers were Somali nationals considered under a bilateral arrangement between the government of Uganda and that of Somalia.
Museveni congratulated the graduates for qualifying to join an army of patriots and merit, saying that this will make their work easier since the direction of the country is already clear in terms of security and economic growth.
He advised them to remain healthy since ‘health is wealth’.
The newly commissioned Officers were also cautioned against overdrinking and promiscuity.
Museveni applauded the president of Somalia and his entire government for having belief in Uganda by sending their soldiers to be trained.
He praised Somalis for being brave but advised them to stop putting their energy and bravity into self-crucifixion of terrorism but develop their country.
The Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Lt Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi who represented the Chief of Defence Forces, reminded the graduates that UPDF has always survived on ideological clarity, nationalism, patriotism and strategic relationship with the people hence making it a unique army on the continent.
He implored the new officers to use what they have learnt to fit into the UPDF vision and mission in order to continue building a professional army.
The Somali minister of Defence Mohamed Mursal Sheikh applauded president Museveni and the Ugandan government for consistently standing with Somalia to the extended of sacrificing their own blood.
He called upon the newly commissioned Somali officers to be confident and aware that Somalia is at war with terrorism.
“Fight for our loyalty and build a new Somalia” the minister said.
The best students were awarded by the president for exemplary performance and these included; Fiona Apio( best overall), Margret Nansubuga(best in class) Alex Nuwagaba(best in field),Disan Ssentayi( best disciplined ) while Abdi Mohamud was the best fraternal student from the federal Republic of Somalia.
The function was attended by the Commander Land forces Maj. Gen. Peter Elwelu, the Commander Airforce Maj Gen. Charles Lutaya, the Joint Chief of Staff Maj General Joseph Musanyufu among other General and senior officers of the UPDF.