The UPDF recruitment team in Northern Uganda, now in Lira has been overwhelmed with the turn-up of youth who wants to join the national army, the UPDF.
The exercise taking place at Akii Bua stadium is for the districts of Lira, Alebtong, Otuke, Dokolo, and Amolatar.
Over 1,000 youth have turned up for the exercise with thousands of others without the required qualification standing on the sides watching after being screened out in the first phase.
The team's second-in-Command Lt. Col. Lydia Nandudu, said Lira is one of the centres they have seen big turn up. After introducing the team, Nandudu told the candidates that those who will fail can go back and do other things but successful ones will be taken immediately to the training centre.
She cautioned the candidates against giving money to those who are masquerading saying the exercise is free of charge. "Do not give anyone money, we are not asking for money," she said.
"This is a free service to your nation and it's free, they don't pay (to be recruited)."
After assembling the candidates, Maj Ceaser Olweny, the 4th Division Public Relations Officer (PRO) who is also a member of the recruitment team called the district leaders and informed them to check the candidates to see if they are the ones they recommended as candidates to be interviewed and recruited into the national army.
Olweny said there has been a lot of accusations that the team smuggles in candidates from other regions.
Many candidates were removed by the security team as they lacked the necessary papers including letters of recommendation from the Local leaders and endorsement by the GISO and DISO.
Dokolo RDC Lawrence Egole in his brief statement called on the candidates to know that they are being recruited to work for Uganda, their country and nothing else. "If you have come, be patriotic and if recruited, know you are working for Uganda. If you fail, know you are waiting for tomorrow. If you are not successful, pray for those who will succeed."
Otuke RDC Robert Abak commended the youth for turning up for the exercise but cautioned them that not all will go through. He called on those who will not go through to go back and continue to work for the country by fighting to eradicate poverty.
"I am happy with UPDF, the exercise is always free and fair, very transparent," Abak said.
The RDC of Amolatar Lillian Eyal also addressed the candidates urging them to obey the instructions.
Col. (Rtd) Tony Otoa, who also came to witness the function, started by singing the military-patriotic songs before he addressed the candidates. He said he is overwhelmed with the turn-up, a sign that the country is forging forward.
"This country belongs to you, work for it, defend it and make sure when you get there, be a good citizen," he said.
He said the UPDF is the best army Uganda has ever had. "I was in Uganda Army, I got out without a coin, I worked for UNLA, I got out without anything, I joined NRA and now eventually I have everything in UPDF," Otoa said.
Lira RDC Milton Odongo said in the past, people would shun to join the army but today many people are yearning to join, a sign that the UPDF has become a professional army.