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Kulayigye defends army role in politics

By Vision Reporter

Added 31st January 2010 03:00 AM

ARMY spokesperson Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye has defended the involvement of the UPDF in politics, saying it has a stake in the country’s future.

ARMY spokesperson Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye has defended the involvement of the UPDF in politics, saying it has a stake in the country’s future.

By Andante Okanya

ARMY spokesperson Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye has defended the involvement of the UPDF in politics, saying it has a stake in the country’s future.

Kulayigye’s defence was prompted by the remarks of UPC chairman Yonasani Kanyomozi who argued that the UPDF is partisan and should exit Parliament.

Kulayigye said given Uganda’s turbulent past where politicians messed up the country, the UPDF, which is a professional army, cannot keep at bay while things take a turn for the worst.

“We do not regard ourselves as more important. However, we are very critical in insulating the country against political instability,” Kulayigye said.

He was on Saturday speaking on Talk of the Nation, a talk show on 94.8 Vision Voice radio.

The topic of discussion was, “24 years later, who is the army serving?” Other panelists on the show were NRM vice-chairman for eastern Uganda, Mike Mukula and Jacob Oulanyah.

The show was hosted by Steven Candia.

Kulayigye said as long as the situation calls for the army to be involved in politics, the UPDF will not shy away.

He cited his encounter with rioters at Mengo last September during the Buganda riots.

He said his act of restraint, despite being physically attacked by the rioters, was a true testimony of the army being professional and with a political role to play.

Kulayigye took a swipe at the armies of the past regimes, saying they failed to settle political matters because they were illiterate.

Mukula agreed with Kulayigye, noting that the UPDF had brought ‘political hygiene’ and distinguished itself from the brutal armies of the past.

He likened the UPDF to a midwife, saying they both play a similar role of delivering what is expected of them.

Kanyomozi insisted that the UPDF must graduate from being a guerilla force to a civil army.

He, however, praised the army, saying it had been able to market itself and garner acceptance from the public.

“This army is a bit different, educated and understanding. Gen. Aronda Nyakairima and Gen. Tito Okello are fields apart,” Kanyomozi said.

Oulanyah noted that it is the duty of the army to unflinchingly defend the rights of citizens and act humanely.

Kulayigye defends army role in politics

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