The President of the Republic of Uganda and Commander in Chief of the UPDF, HE Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has today commissioned 248 Officer Cadets of Intake 04/2022 at Uganda Military Academy in Kabamba (UMA-K), Mubende district.
President Museveni also used the same opportunity to officiate at the graduation of 48 Officer Cadets of Intake 01/2019-22, who qualified with a Bachelors Degree in Defence and Strategic Studies of Kabamba (BDSK).
While addressing the newly Commissioned Officers and Defence graduates, President Museveni started with a Runyankole riddle loosely translated as, “Everybody has their unique knowledge; how does a chicken bring up its chicks without breasts.” He explained that this is how the NRM has been able to build a strong army with very little resources.
The President quoted Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s wise saying that for one to make good dough, they must wait for the water to boil to the required temperature. ” That is where the NRM succeeded, it doesn’t engage in lies, it tells people the truth. You cut your hair according to the shape of your head,” he advised.
He explained that between 1971 to 1986, him and his other colleagues started an army without pay. The Governments of the time were by criminals paying criminals. He quoted examples of recent retirees such as Brig Omule, Late Gen Tumwine and Gen Saleh who together with many other fighters became soldiers without pay.
The President sent his audience into laughter when he said: “All we needed was a gun, bullets for it and food; clothes were optional. A naked man could still shoot and kill.”
He said it is only three years ago that Government could raise the salary of the Soldier at the rank of Private to equate that of a Primary school teacher. It had always been work with no pay, no barracks.
He noted that the army then concentrated on the provision of guns, food and free education especially to children of soldiers. He announced that government was planning to build a primary school in every Brigade and a secondary school in every Division, for children of soldiers.
He disclosed that since many of the original NRA fighters were retiring, Government decided to enhance the salaries of Senior Officers, from the rank Major to General. He excited the Private soldiers when he mentioned that their monthly salaries would soon rise to between Ugx 1 -1.5 million.
The Commander in Chief also expressed his gratitude towards attending the graduation of the Pioneer BDSK group and commended Makerere University (MUK) staff for teaching this new course. He however cautioned the MUK staff against teaching his young soldiers neo-colonial Social Science. “I shall call and ask those teachers what they teach the cadet trainees,” he mused.
He was happy that the trainees were being taught Political Science because only then will they know why they are in the army; to protect the interests of the wananchi (Civilians).
President Museveni encouraged the graduates to pick interest in fighting. “Be eager to go and fight where duty calls. Don’t be affected by the disease of “headquarterism,” he warned.
He then recounted the number of events when, to the surprise of the Tanzanian army commanders, he always went to attack when everybody else feared that the war was too much to bear. He concluded that Government was working on improving the general infrastructure in barracks. “The temperature of the boiling water is now hot enough for us to put the ensaano to mingle our posho,” he remarked.
He emphasized that spouses of soldiers who often stay in barracks must be supported to do economic activities on army land around the barracks such as short-term crops and artisan work. He however warned them not to grow perennial crops like mangoes or develop wrangles over army land.
The President reminded commanders to follow up on the money Government put aside for such projects and cautioned graduates to always be disciplined and keep healthy by especially avoiding alcoholism, promiscuity and drugs. “Health is wealth – be disciplined and look after your health,” he said. He concluded by congratulating the graduates and wished everyone good luck.
Speaking at the same function, the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs Hon Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja thanked the President for starting UPDF from scratch to a formidable force with international acclaim, that is growing from strength to strength.
He also thanked the President for his visionary leadership that has revamped the economy of Uganda and expressed his joy when he recently witnessed General Officers retiring with happy faces and a good package. “The President has led the country from the economic mess to a thriving, enviable country,” noted the Defence Minister.
He pointed out that the commissioning was Government’s effort to ensure continuity and efficacy and implored graduates to remain committed and focused to the values of the UPDF.
He also reminded the President that the Ministry was keenly following his guidance to ensure that the National Defence College in Jinja is upgraded to university level and also have a forensic University under the MoDVA.
He thanked the training team that included Professors and Instructors in growing the young men and women into pillars of our national security. “Perform to the task and be ready to work anywhere upon deployment,” he advised the graduates.
Hon Ssempijja thanked the UPDF leadership for the cooperation that has always enabled them to collectively achieve their strategic goals.
The Chief of Defence Forces Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi (MP) praised the President for continuously building a force that is guided by the gospel of Pan Africanism, nationalism, democracy and social economic transformation for the strategic security and unity of the African people. “As a force, we have had successful Pan African interventions in the region and beyond. For example in Liberia, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, South Sudan and recently in DRC, ” noted Gen Mbadi, adding that all this was because of a strong and disciplined force.
The CDF further applauded the President’s strategic and visionary leadership that has made UPDF grow from scratch to a formidable force anchored on strong civil military cooperation, nationalism, patriotism and ideological awareness to achieve its mandate as enshrined in Article 209 of the constitution to create a conducive environment for social economic transformation.
To the newly Commissioned Professional Officers the CDF encouraged them to exploit the acquired knowledge and skills to be better defenders of peace and stability in a resource constrained environment. “Place duty above personal desires, serve with dedication, honesty and truthfulness at all times,” Gen Mbadi cautioned the Officers.
He further warned that in the current world of terrorism, trans-national threats, insurgency and cyber threats, among others officers have to be realistic, continuously seek knowledge and be loyal.
He noted that: “Actions and not commissions make an officer.” And that it’s the fight in the dog that matters not the size of the dog,” thus urging officers to lead by example. To the graduates of BDSK, the CDF urged them to evaluate the acquired knowledge since it exposes them with more opportunities.
In his remarks, the Commandant of the Academy Brig Gen Charles Byaruhanga reported that the Uganda Military Academy is mandated to conduct Officer Cadet and Platoon Commanders, Courses. “In 2019 Uganda Military Academy (UMA) was affiliated to Makerere University to start running the three-year Officer Cadet training programmes, leading to the award of Bachelor of Defence and Strategic Studies Degree as per the East Africa Community (EAC) Sectoral Council Protocol on Cooperation in Defence Affairs”, he said.
Uganda Military Academy now has three intakes of three-year Officer Cadet Course. The first Intake started on 26th August 2019 with 60 students 49 of whom including 4 women have graduated today attaining a Degree in Defence Studies from Makerere University.
The Commandant expressed special gratitude to the team of lecturers from Makerere University who took care of the Academic part of the course.
Alongside the three-year Cadet course programme, the Academy also conducted a six-month Officer Cadet course. “Intake 04/2022 Short” which started on 28th March 2022 comprising 253 trainees is graduating 248 cadets, 38 of who are female, that have successfully completed the 24-week Officer Cadet course. “It is my honour and gratitude today to present to you a total of 305 Officer Cadets (including 8 Air Force Pilots) 43 of whom women, who have successfully completed the 3-year Cadet Course intake 01/19-22 and six-month Professional/Specialist Officer Cadet course Intake 04/22 Short and all ready to commission today”. Brig Gen Byaruhanga announced.
The trainees on the short Cadet source were selected from UPDF In-Service soldiers majority of whom were specialists such as Medics, Engineers, Lawyers, Pilots, IT personnel, Logisticians, among others. The degree program tapped on the best applicants that completed and passed UACE. The 4th Intake will begin their course in a few weeks’ time
During the course, the graduates were taken through training in basic military skills and knowledge, several tactical field training exercises and drills, which culminated in a combined arms exercise.
They also received external lecturers from Senior Military and Government officials to familiarise them with current political trends and leadership at different levels. “I am happy to inform you Sir, that the training objectives of the two courses have all been achieved.
The trainees/graduates are now equipped with knowledge, skills and traditions to follow, having completed Officer Cadet Training packages from instructors and support staff of this academy,” he added. He appealed to the graduates to always keep themselves relevant to their call to service in their long journey of career development.
He reminded the UPDF officers of their duty to always keep the oath of allegiance they took and never shame the flag of their country. He thanked HE the President and Commander in Chief of the UPDF, the top UPDF leadership with special recognition of the Chief of Defence Forces, Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Chief of Personnel and Administration, Chief of Training and Recruitment, Chief Political Commissar, Commanders of specialised units, Wazalendo SACCO leadership and all infantry Division Operations and Training Officers who presented lectures to the trainees while on course.
He recognised and thanked all parents of the graduating officers for allowing their children to contribute to national service and supporting the graduating officers throughout the course.
The UMA was relocated from Jinja in 2007. It trains both national and international students.
The function was also attended by the Minister of State for Defence in charge of Veterans Hon Huda Oleru, MPs, Deputy Commander Land forces Maj Gen Sam Okiding, Joint Chief of Staff Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda, representatives from Uganda Police, Uganda Prisons Service and religious leaders, among others.