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UPDF has transformed from a rag tag army to a modern army

By Admin

Added 16th February 2016 11:02 AM

Tarehe sita is marked on February 6, every year to mark the National Resistance Army’s first attack on Kabamba barracks in Mubende on February 6, 1981 which resulted into a five year bush war that led the NRM into power in 1986.

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James Katongana is a Pan Africanist

Tarehe sita is marked on February 6, every year to mark the National Resistance Army’s first attack on Kabamba barracks in Mubende on February 6, 1981 which resulted into a five year bush war that led the NRM into power in 1986.

By James Katongana

When attending Tarehe Sita at Kololo grounds, Gen Katumba Wamala the Chief of Defence Forces of Uganda People’s Defence Forces read exactly what was going on in my mind. He wondered what was going on in the minds of the first group that launched the struggle on February 6, 1986. Just 41 people with 27 guns daring to attack a barracks, was in the minds of many, committing suicide. Moreover, not all of them were trained and armed.

This teaches  us  that however small the number but as long as the cause is justified, one needs to shed off fear on the basis of sacrifice, self-reliance, selflessness, clear vision, mission and objectives to achieve the targeted goal but also this depends on good leadership on all strategic, operational and tactical issues.

Tarehe sita is marked on February 6, every year to mark the National Resistance Army’s first attack on Kabamba barracks in Mubende on February 6, 1981 which resulted into a five year bush war that led the NRM into power in 1986. It is now 35 years since the attack on Kabamba Barracks and a number of changes have been made in the army.

Seeing the once rag tag army marching at the parade I could not hide my pride and confidence I had in them. The army has undergone a complete metamorphosis from a rag tag army built largely on a peasantry guerilla structure to one of the professional and disciplined armies in the region.

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In the words of Brig. Gen. Katirima Phenehas “ UPDF has been professionalised and modernised from a rag tag ill armed, ill-trained guerrilla army that it was in 1986 to a level that is now able to undertake all Defence missions and contribute adequately to its regional and international obligations for peace and security.”

I was equally happy when I saw Uzima Natural Mineral Water a product of UPDF being served at the function. The Army Spokesman says “This is part of our mandate to invest in the welfare of our soldiers. It is what the law requires us to do. The firm is built by the army from scratch and will employ mainly UPDF soldiers, although they may take in some consultancy from outside. The army says it has enough ready market for the product internally. The project is spearheaded by the UPDF’S chieftaincy of welfare and production under National Enterprise Corporation, which is aimed at enhancing the livelihoods of the soldiers.

UPDF through its commercial arm- National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) is engaged in a number of production activities in a bid to make the army self-reliant. NEC is a state corporation. It was established in 1989 by an Act of Parliament of Uganda soon after the NRA/M liberation war as the commercial arm of the National Resistance Army (UPDF).

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NEC has a number of subsidiaries that are engaged in different activities.  Luwero Industries, a subsidiary of NEC for instance, is involved in the production of ammo, repair of riffles and armored vehicles, manufacture of spare parts for military equipment, metal fabrication, portable water, and carpentry products among others.

NEC’s vision is to act as a vibrant commercial arm of Defence Forces that generates goods and services to provide for the welfare of the Defence Forces and Veterans that would benefit the Defence Forces and veterans of the UPDF. So, Uzima Mineral Water is one of those services that are under its mandate.

This sets UPDF a vanguard role and shall sustain that vanguard role to final destination, moving, advancing with the masses of Uganda, giving flank protection and all for guaranteed success.

The writer is a Pan Africanist

 

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