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Despite A few Challenges, The UPDF Foundation Is Still Good – Museveni

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), has said the foundation of the army is good despite a few pockets of challenges.

“Therefore, the command should not tolerate those who bring pollution into the army,” he said.

The President made the remarks during the 13th Tarehe Sita Thanksgiving breakfast 2024 held at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds. The event ran under the theme: “How can I repay the Lord for all His benefits to me?”.

President Museveni said UPDF is doing well professionally and assured Ugandans that the few challenges faced by the army will be sorted out.

“It is true that there’s some corruption in UPDF now; they should not tell you lies that there’s no corruption. Some corruption has crept in, like the theft of fuel, some of the money, and some other mistakes. And why should soldiers be used in land evictions? What are they doing there? They are not policemen. Such challenges have crept in, and we have talked about them, but the good thing is that such mistakes are done by a minority, who are near the resources. They offend the majority who suffer and report. So that will be sorted out,” he said.

“Otherwise, on the professional side, things are moving on well. It is really a good army; it is able to operate in very difficult situations, like in the Congo and Somalia. Things are not so easy, but they operate because they are educated people.”

Gen.  Museveni further revealed that the UPDF has been able to succeed due to a combination of ideology and spirituality.

“Our ideology was a mixture of our traditional beliefs here and religion. In our traditions, we despise treachery, we don’t even believe in cowardly attacks, and when we came to religion,  we found many of the teachings were similar to our traditions, and when we were building this force, we despised treachery and corruption,” President Museveni noted.

“When we were here in 1979, there were groups within us with ideas of shortcuts. One of the ideas was that we assassinate Oyite Ojok. Some people brought that idea to us, but we rejected it; We cannot assassinate a man in his home with his family. They said that if we cut the head of Ojok, UPC powers would be cut down. We said we would fight them military-to-military. So, we always take the long route.”

The Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, said they always look forward to such occasions that bring together the entire defence family and a wider fraternity that supports the advancement of the country’s defence mission.

“It is days like these that remind us that we are all part of our larger community with wider responsibilities and a bigger purpose. Your Excellency, from here we can then continue to bring this realization to our work and to the things that we do.

 The Chief of Defense Forces (CDF), Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, said Thanksgiving has become an annual celebration anchored on divine reflection as an apex of Tarehe Sita activities, which normally take the army to the people.

“We come here to thank God for UPDF’s numerous achievements,” Gen. Mbadi said.

He added that through such celebrations, they recognize the central role of God, not only in the matters of the UPDF but also in the affairs of Uganda and the African people.

“We are now exporters of peace and security in the region, and it’s also worth noting that while Uganda has had a number of armies in the past, what separates UPDF from the previous armies is its clear ideology, which is enshrined in its unique principles, ideas, and values,  obviously with the guidance of the visionary and committed leadership of Your Excellency. Because of that, UPDF has continued to fulfil its mission of totally liberating Uganda and playing a vital role in pan-Africanism.”

The guest speaker, Mrs. Patience Rwabwogo, a senior pastor at Covenant Nations Church, said UPDF is a highly professional army where education, world class training, the use of state-of-the-art technology, and international standards are practiced.

“I’m deeply honoured to be with you today as we celebrate the 13th Tarehe Sita Thanksgiving service, commemorating 43 years of God’s blessing and favour over the UPDF and the nation. The UPDF has forces deployed not only in Uganda but also in the region as the main exporter of peace to the countries around us. As a nation, we are so proud of the UPDF,” she said.

The event was also attended by Dr. Henry Krabbendam, a missionary friend of the UPDF, senior government officials, members of parliament, and UPDF leadership, among others.

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