President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who is also the Commander In Chief of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) yesterday passed out a total of 4,212 Local Defence Personnel (LDP) at Olilim Training School, in Katakwi District.
During the ceremony, Gen. Museveni congratulated the trainees and all Ugandans in general for moving forward in terms of building strong institutions like the army.
“You heard that these young people are 4,212. Now all of them except three have got at least O’ level certificates. Only three were from Primary leaving and 500 of them are graduates. One of the boys who got a prize here has got a degree in Industrial Chemistry,” President Museveni stressed.
“In 1979 when we were looking for people to go for an Officer Cadet Course in Tanzania, the graduates to go were very few. I think there were people like Tumwine and Jeje Odongo; you could count them. Otherwise our cutoff point was Senior Four but now it is easier to get a graduate than to get a primary seven leaver in the army, that is something you should be very happy about. It’s not just documents or papers but it makes teaching very easy because educated people learn more easily. Therefore, those institutions will be much more efficient,” he added.
The Commander In Chief further emphasised the need to make training schools like Olilim centres of excellence, saying that they help to give exposure to the trainees and in turn they are able to learn and develop themselves.
“In the training centre we must have everything so that the one who is trained here even if he is staying in a grass thatched house back home, he must be able to know what a good dormitory looks like because he saw it when he trained at Olilim. And these training schools are not many, they are just like 15 so don’t scatter resources and fail to show our people what excellence means,” President Museveni explained.
On the issue of insecurity in the Teso Subregion, the President was happy to note that the government has got the situation under control.
“The commanders here were playing with the enemy, these are nothing, the criminals (cattle rustlers) are very easy to deal with. Some of the commanders don’t know that if you eat food without sauce, it can even kill you by choking. So, they would tire soldiers with foot patrols; just wasting soldiers’ time and yet there’s so much capacity in the system which they were not using,” Gen. Museveni noted.
“These undisciplined Karachunas were even going and staying in the wilderness and coming from there to disturb people but if you go and stay in the bush it will not take me any time because you are isolated and be able to be located and dealt with. So, I had a meeting in Baralegi with all these people and I told them to stop “eating food without sauce” with these people, because they were just wasting soldiers’ time by not using this capacity we have as UPDF.”
The President disclosed that the government was also dealing with the issue of Pokot and Turkanas who come from Kenya and disturb Ugandans.
“Otherwise, the people in Karamoja and Teso should concentrate on development, this is very easy to deal with,” he assured.
At the same ceremony, President Museveni awarded the best students from the training course.
The Vice President, H.E Major (Rtd) Jessica Alupo commended President Museveni for professionalising the UPDF and other armed forces, an endeavour which she said has resulted into total stability of Uganda from North to South and East to West.
“In addition to ensuring that Uganda’s national security is peaceful, you have championed support to our brothers in a number of African countries like South Sudan, Somalia, DRC among others alongside your counterparts from the regional blocs and the African Union. This has resulted in market access of Ugandan products to the region and the continent as Ugandans continue to embrace export promotion, a trend that has resulted in sustainable growth of our economy,” H.E Alupo added.
She also thanked the President for establishing Olilim Training School and the Counter Terrorism Police training School in Katakwi.
“Your Excellency, the importance and need for peace and security in the socio-economic transformation process cannot be overemphasised,” she disclosed.
The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja also lauded the President for his enduring commitment that has enabled Uganda to build a strong and reliable army that can guarantee the security of Ugandans.
The Minister also informed the trainees that the skills they have acquired from the training should make them comfortable to serve with vigour and valour in whatever theatre they are deployed.
“Remain loyal to your country and loyal to the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces,” he urged.
The Deputy Chief of Defence Forces (D/CDF), Lt. Gen. Peter Elwelu who represented the CDF, Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, assured Gen. Museveni that as UPDF they will continue taking note of his strategic guidance in building a professional, patriotic and disciplined force that will remain focused on maintaining peace and security in Uganda and the region at large through continuous training and retraining.
“As UPDF leadership, we are well aware of the security challenges that affect our country and our region, not only the region but the world at large. Our preparedness to respond to those challenges is what matters. Human beings are not about to accept to live in peace and harmony on this planet and that is why we must prepare to fight all types of wars that shall be imposed on us by some individuals or groups or nations,” Lt Gen. Elwelu said.
“Therefore, Your Excellency, we shall keep on presenting to you young people like these ones to continue with the mission of keeping peace and security in our country.”
The Commandant of Olilim Training School, Lt Col. Eria Mugasa reported to the President that the trainees of basic military training for Local Defence Unit Course intake 09/22-23 begun their training on 17th August 2022 with a total of 4303, among them, 697 were female but as the course progress, 91 trainees dropped out from the training due to various reasons.
“Today sir, it is my honour and gratitude to present to you 4,212 young well trained and disciplined Ugandans who have attended and successfully completed 58 weeks of basic military training, ready for pass out,” Lt Col. Mugasa said.
“Sir, during the course period, the trainees have undergone training in basic military skills and knowledge, also taken through several tactical field training exercises and drills, received external lectures from Senior Military and government officials to familiarise them with the current political trends and leadership challenges at different levels,” he added.
The pass out ceremony was also attended by Ministers, Members of Parliament, UPDF leadership, among others.