12 years ago .
Museveni passes out over 1,000 soldiers
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has stressed the need for armies to have an ideology to prevent them from being used for disastrous causes.
By Cyprian Musoke
and Frederick Kiwanuka

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has stressed the need for armies to have an ideology to prevent them from being used for disastrous causes.

Presiding over the pass-out of over 1,000 Privates at Singo army training school in Nakaseke district on Saturday, Museveni hailed the army’s peace keeping record in the Great Lakes region. The UPDF, he noted, is not like Uganda’s past armies that engaged in extra judicial killings because it is premised on patriotism.

“Armies are neutral instruments that can be used for progressive or reactionary causes, and the difference is in ideology,” he said.

Armies that were trained by the colonialists, he added, were oriented to steal the black people’s property under the disguise of spreading civilisation.

The ideology of the UPDF, he stressed, is to protect people’s lives and property irrespective of religion or tribe, and to defend the country’s sovereignty.
Museveni, who flew in by helicopter donning a full army combat, called upon African armies to be patriotic.

“A non-ideological army is like an empty bottle without soda or milk to give it color. Our army is premised on patriotism. Anybody spreading tribalism or religious sectarianism is our enemy. That’s how we were able to liberate this country.”

He was happy to note that commandants and instructors had started training soldiers in ideology and the art of war, unlike in the past.

“In the past, you would see trainees marching just for ceremony. This is business of life and death. We are training fighters, not boy scouts,” he said.
He cautioned the recruits not to lead reckless lives and preserve themselves for national duty.

He warned that ARVs which are given to people living with HIV/AIDS, only prolong their lives but do not restore their full potential.

“It is true we are now giving you these drugs to keep you alive, but you don’t get back your full potential.”

The President said he would soon return to Nakaseke district to assess the progress made in increasing household incomes.

He complained that there was little to show for the over sh700m sent to the district under the NAADS programme.

Earlier, the commandant of the school, Lt. Col. Christopher Bbosa, said out of a total of 1,100 recruited in March 2009, one died of natural illness while others dropped out due to indiscipline and desertion. Of those who graduated, 96 were female.

Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Ivan Koreta, urged the recruits to use the skills and knowledge they had acquired to defend and not harm the people of Uganda.

The highlights of the day included firing range, karate combat, and field combat skills. These involved trainees hauling themselves on ropes and crawling through a tunnel while under fire.

The best recruits got prizes for excelling in various categories, with Moses Sendagala, a signaler driver, scooping the first prize, a bicycle, for having put out a fire, saving equipment worth millions. Present at the function were district and local leaders, parents of the trainees and area residents.