Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has re-emphasized the need for Officers and men of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) to be patriotic, appreciate and internalize fully the meaning of patriotism.
The President was yesterday interfacing with Officers and men of the Special Forces Command (SFC) at 10 Marines Battalion Headquarters in Entebbe Municipality, Wakiso District.
“An Officer must be a priest who knows the gospel of the Army. You are not a follower but a leader. The Army means thinking critically, having the conviction and understanding the mission and foundation for which the UPDF was founded. The kind of love you must have for Uganda should not be an emotional love. It is not like getting a fever or headache. In order to guarantee our prosperity, we need Uganda,” he remarked.
The President, who had earlier toured and inspected SFC’s facilities as well as the houses that are being constructed at the Marines’ Headquarters, told Officers in particular and all military personnel as a whole that while the old traditional Army was filled with tribal arrogance, ignorance, witchcraft, anti-people sentiments and later became the colonial Army serving the interests of the colonialists, the National Resistance Army (NRA), now the UPDF, is a liberation Army that should embrace patriotism, pan-Africanism, socio-economic transformation and democracy.
“Colonial Army came with a mission to govern us. If you didn’t listen to the Governor, the colonial Army comes for you. The second mission was to economically exploit, politically marginalize and socially govern us. In the 1960s, Uganda as a British colony was the second biggest producer of cotton but the factories were in Manchester,” he said.
He explained that the processing of cotton produced in Uganda outside the country meant donation of jobs and value. He, therefore, said the people of Uganda should work to ensure reversal of the colonial trend and establish industries in the country to process raw materials into finished products locally in order to fight unemployment and modern slavery of selling our products without adding value to them.
Prior to the interface with SFC soldiers, President Museveni commissioned the new patients’ admission wing of Dr. Ronald Bata Memorial Hospital on Nsamizi hill. SFC runs the facility, under the Ministry of Defence.
The 60-bed facility has 60 nurses, 5 general doctors, 12 Clinical Officers and four visiting specialists involved in pediatrics, internal medicine and gynaecology. The hospital that was upgraded from Health Centre 3 status offers free medical services to civilians on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and attends to military personnel on the rest of the days of the week. It also attends to emergencies.