Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force is ready to fend off any attack, be it from a foreign force, using superior war planes.
By John Semakula and John Masaba
The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) is ready to fend off any attack, be it from a foreign force, using superior war planes like those Khartoum is using against South Sudan.
Security minister Wilson Muruli Mukasa said Uganda’s defence is ready to deal with any attacks, if the war between Sudan and South Sudan spills over into the country.
Muruli made the remarks during an exclusive interview with Saturday Vision on Thursday.
Khartoum has been using fighter jets to hit positions in South Sudan, killing people and destroying property.
But Muruli said: “It’s not the fighter planes alone which win a war, but other factors, including the preparedness of the force and the economic strength of the country.”
“We have seen forces with rudimentary weapons beat armies with modern munitions. Vietnam is an example,” Muruli said.
Muruli emphasised that Uganda would not join the war in South Sudan without following the law and listening to regional bodies like IGAD.
But he noted that Uganda is already losing a lot in bilateral trade because of the ongoing conflict since South Sudan is one of its main trade partners.
In a separate interview with Saturday Vision, army spokesperson Col. Felix Kulayigye emphasised the readiness of the UPDF to defend Ugandans should anyone attack the country.
“We shall not provoke anyone into war, but if we are attacked, we shall take war to whoever has provoked us. Do you think we shall sit down and watch as planes bomb Ugandans because they have superior weapons?” Kulayigye asked.
Speaking about Uganda’s golden jubilee celebrations, Muruli said in spite of the dark past, there were many reasons for Ugandans to celebrate.
“We have remained together as country, yet there are other states which have collapsed. We can now finance 75% of our budget and our relationship with our neighbours is strong,” he said.
As a testimony of the good ties with Uganda’s neighbours, he said the UPDF was in Somalia to pacify the country in the spirit of pan Africanism.
Muruli also said Uganda’s education system is also doing well, citing the free primary and secondary education programmes and an increase in the number of universities from one to over 27 today.
“Our infrastructure has also improved with the country generating more power,” he said.
Muruli commended Uganda’s past leaders for the benefits the country is enjoying today. He said these should also be remembered as we celebrate the independence anniversary.
“The NRM has not worked in a vacuum. Obote received the instruments of power and other leaders contributed something, in spite of the fact that there were upheavals during their reigns,” he said.
On Sunday, the Government will launch the Golden Jubilee celebrations, to kickstart activities in the build up to October 9, when Uganda will mark 50 years since she attained independence from Britain.
As part of the celebrations, the Government will build four comprehensive secondary schools of international standard and also construct a pavilion at Kololo Ceremonial ground, in addition to upgrading it to international standards.
Muruli said for the country to consolidate what it has achieved and move forward; Ugandans should deepen their spirit of patriotism and jealously pursue “our interests as a nation”.
He dismissed fears by critics that the country might roll back to the dark days, saying the current leadership has put in place the right framework to ensure a smooth transition of power.
“The 1995 constitution guarantees everybody the basic rights and freedoms and we have a vibrant Parliament and our army is more nationalistic than ever before,”Muruli said.
Since independence in 1962, Uganda has drifted from one conflict into another as leaders struggled to grab power from each other, making it the country with the most number of military coups in the region.
UPDF ready to hit Sudan war planes