President Museveni who is also the commander in chief of the armed forces on Thursday witnessed what he termed as “success of a miracle” as he saw off 14 retiring generals, historicals and other senior officers of the UPDF.
The colourful function held at State House in Entebbe was witnessed by family members and friends.
“I am happy to be here to witness the success of a miracle. I wrote a book – the Mustard Seed – a small seed that was planted but produced a big tree. This here is just a sample! Each individual’s story is a miracle. How each became part of the resistance movement! Everybody has a story to tell,” Museveni said.
The president gave a detailed background to the liberation struggle and how each of the retirees became part of the success story of the current UPDF army.
“By the time Kampala was captured, we had a forcé of 9000. Banyankole call it okutubula (making something small grow big) This is NRM, Ivan was the original seed,” he said.
Museveni cited the story of RO/16504 Brig Al-Hajji Moses Kigongo who started the Resistance Committees to support the Resistance Army to popularise the people’s struggle whereas RO/00170 Brig Shaban Moses Lukyamuzi joined the struggle and started the first Signal Unit of the NRA.
He also mentioned RO/16506 Capt. Nathaniel Mayanja Kitaka who was a laboratory technician in Kiboga hospital but joined the struggle and even offered Museveni a shower after seven days.
For Maj Gertrude Nanyunja Njuba kept the records bag and acted as the first comptroller while Maj. Hajjat Jannat Balunzi Mukwaya who was formerly a magistrate became the judge.
“Don’t look down on people, everybody is useful. The army will not be strong if you don’t have the support of the people. Don’t bark at people. We are strong and were attracting all those people,” Museveni said.
President Museveni thanked the retirees for making their country proud.
“Thank you for your contribution. We are proud because you have built a big capacity which has never been there before..a big army of this size,” he said.
He urged them to copy the mustard seed by using their pension to multiply and enable them to live a dignified life.
“With Kasiimo(pension), go and multiply it. Don’t squander it. Don’t go to the villages and become destitutes and spoil our name. People will fear joining the army. Multiply it properly and live a comfortable life,” he said.
The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja said the generals leave behind a legacy and accomplishments achieved under the UPDF and cadres of astute Character.
“Go with your heads high up knowing those who wish Uganda well remain indebted to your service. You have diligently served Uganda and exhibited excellence in many fields,” he said.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Wilson Mbadi commended the generals for serving with discipline, professionalism, patience, clarity of purpose and diligently and said they have greatly contributed to the fundamental change in the country.
The UPDF today retired 14 General officers and 604 senior and junior officers and men. Other ceremonies for the retirees were held at various respective service headquarters, formations, and units.
The generals who retired on Thursday included Gen Ivan, Koreta, Lt Gen Pecos Onesmus Kutesa, Lt Gen Jim Beesigye Owoyesigire, Maj Gen Amb Robert Rusoke, Maj Gen Fred Mugisha, Maj Gen Christopher Murema Kazoora, Maj Gen Moses Ddiba Ssentongo, Maj Gen Innocent George Oula, Brig Al-Hajji Moses Kigongo, Brig Jacob Asiimwe, Brig Shaban Moses Lukyamuzi, BrigJohn Kasaija, Brig Muhamed Abiriga and BrigFrank Kanyarutokye.
Other senior officers and historicals included Maj Gertrude Nanyunja Njuba, Maj Hajjat Jannat Mukwaya, Maj Abdul Nadduli, Maj Abby Hafez Mukwaya, Maj Henry Jjuko Walugembe, Maj Stephen Katenta Apuuli Kapimpina, Maj John Kaddu, Maj Sula Sserunjoji, Maj Fred Ntege and Maj Ronald Richard Magezi
Gen Ivan Koreta was the most senior retiree and one of the original 28 boys who were taken to Mozambique for training who would later return to infíltrate back to Uganda