President Museveni, who is also the commander in chief of the armed forces, has said that after several years and decades of preparation and training, Uganda now boasts of one of the best armies in Africa.
Museveni made the remarks on Thursday during a function to pass out 321 officers of the UPDF after they completed a number of courses in armoured warfare at the Armoured Warfare Training School, Karama in Mubende district.
“The need to build a strong and professional army for Uganda has been high on the agenda of the NRM for the last 50 years. I am now happy that after several efforts lasting decades, Uganda now boasts of an able, disciplined, reasonably educated and well trained army, “Museveni said.
He said that with the prevailing environment in the country, government is committed to the training and equipping of the UPDF adding that there is no reason why Uganda will not be guaranteed a strong army to safeguard her people and its sovereignty.
The commander-in-chief applauded the army leadership for their continued emphasis on training of the force, something he said constitutes a basis necessary for building a strong and self-sustaining army.
“Government is committed to enhancing payment of the army and other civil servants. A committee is already working on on the regularisation of remuneration for all civil servants including those of the armed forces,”Museveni assured the soldiers.
He however warned the members of the armed forces against living recklessly which could expose them to dangers associated with HIV/AIDS.
He said HIV/AIDS not only affects the army but also the country at large.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen.David Muhoozi, applauded Museveni for his emphasis on training of the UPDF in line with the professionalisation of the army, an attribute he said has moved the Ugandan army to greater heights.
According to Brig. Francis Chemo, the Commandant armoured warfare training school, the UPDF soldiers acquired skills from experienced Ugandan and Russian trainers.
The UPDF contributes the bulk of soldiers for the African Mission in Somalia(AMISOM) with 22 battle groups.
This year the Ugandan army marks ten years since the first group arrived on Somali land and has been key in forcing the Al Shabaab insurgents out of most of the areas they once controlled including the capital Mogadishu.
UPDF has also helped maintain the Somali government in power as well as protecting key government installations including the Mogadishu airport and the parliament from Al-Shabaab.