When Dr Kizza Besigye was campaigning for the 2001 election, having freshly retired from the army in a manner that seemed to have left his former boss in regret, he adopted an imposing military posture, claiming that he had the support of 90% of the army.
He accused Museveni of practicing sectarianism in the military, with the command being dominated by officers from western Uganda.
Equally, a number of many senior army officers have been seen taking turns at declaring support for Gen Museveni, making the force to appear partisan.
While discussing the functions of security agencies in securing the country on NBS’s Spotlight Show on Monday night, the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi said the mistake done by an individual’ officer should not be blamed on the entire force.
Muhoozi explained that it is a requirement in the Constitution that they remain nonpartisan adding that they have lived up to that expectation.
“We recruit from the same population. Sometimes bad apples slip through and we have to use our internal systems to make them conform to institutional norms. We need to be active in shaping the narrative about ourselves on what we do, how we do it and why,” he said.
He said that it is highly judgmental to call them partisan noting that they can’t just standby in the middle of anarchy and this could be reason why some people call them partisan.
“May be often times we side with the population, that’s what people term as partisan.If this is true then let it be. UPDF is enjoined not to be partisan, by and large we have lived to that mark. You need to know our evolution to judge us better,” he said.
He noted that they are not killing machines as some people may think but they instead put their lives on the line to be killed for a cause.
“We stay with the people, treat them everyday and recruit from them. Uganda is not only an oasis and a haven of peace, we also ‘export’ peace. UPDF has been in Somalia since 2007 in keeping with international obligations to contribute to peace.UPDF has done well, defended Uganda from external threats in spite of a volatile neighbourhood, “said Muhoozi .
The Constitution, Article 208(2), requires members of the UPDF to be non-partisan and subordinate to civilian authority.