President Yoweri Museveni, has reminded soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) that as members of a Liberation Army, they should clearly differentiate themselves from the traditional tribal and colonial armies and always champion patriotism and nationalism on top of embracing and working for Pan-Africanism, socio-economic transformation of their society and defend Uganda’s democracy.
The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Uganda Armed Forces made the remarks on Friday while addressing Officers and Men of UPDF at Nakasongola Army Barracks in Nakasongola District. He reminded them that unlike the traditional tribal army that mainly served the interests of the ruling royal class and oppressed the masses through enforcement of the feudal system of inequalities and the colonial army which served to entrench foreign and economic exploitation, a Liberation Army like UPDF on the other hand, should always work to promote and safeguard the rights and interests of the masses.
Gen. Museveni, therefore, warned UPDF not to fall into the trap of the past armies especially the traditional armies and post-independence political Parties that emphasised identities of tribe, religion and sectarianism that made them weak leading to their easy defeat militarily and politically. UPDF, he stressed, must always work for unity.
“Tribal Armies could not defend their societies against colonialists because they were weak and divided and as a result the whole of Africa was colonised by 1900, save Ethiopia. This should tell that being divided is counter-productive,” he said.
“Even post-colonial Political Parties in Uganda failed because they were founded on sectarian grounds of religion and tribe that made them weak and collapsed in no time,” he added.
Gen. Museveni advised the UPDF to always work for the good of Uganda and the unity of the African continent because it is through the unity of Africans that the safety and future of the African continent can be guaranteed and shield us from future neo-colonisation, domination and marginalisation.
Regarding remuneration of the Army, the President said government would establish a Salaries Commission for purposes of regulating remuneration of all civil servants and remove salary disparities in the service.
On the provision of education to the children of soldiers, the President said that he stood for free education for their biological children. He instructed the Commander of the Defence Forces, Gen. David Muhoozi, to ensure that this arrangement is streamlined and adhered so that only biological children of soldiers access free education.