The UPDF’S Coming of Age And Why Uganda’s Enemies Are Afraid


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By Ruhima Jonah

Until after the NRA liberation, as a country we had armies that lacked a national character, clear ideology, discipline, some were very weak to defend and protect our people neither the sovereignty of our country.
Before independence different Kingdoms had their Armies which only served the Kings & were very brutal to the population, looted and raided their neighboring communities/Kingdoms which created a fertile ground that imperialists exploited to colonize us.

During colonization, we had the King’s African Rifles. This was a colonial Army meant to serve the interests of the Queen of England, oppressing and killing fellow Africans. After independence, this army was renamed the Uganda Rifles and later the Uganda Army. In all these changes, it’s only the name that changed, but the command structure and conduct remained just as the brutality towards Ugandans.

Due to the wrong ideology and conflict in the army, for the first two decades after independence, our country had to struggle with the problem of National Unity and cohesion. A section of the Army from a particular tribe would invade a specific tribe and kill innocent civilians, at one point the army raided the Palace of the Kabaka of Buganda.
He narrowly survived death running into exile.

As this ideological bankruptcy and indiscipline grew, the stability and peace of Uganda were being threatened hence our Country was thrown into political turmoil, rule of law, and the state collapsed. This uncertainty with the breakdown of the economy led to the death of millions of civilians after a coup d’état by Idi Amin and later his dictatorship for eight years.

Later, Amin was overthrown by a United force; Kikosi Maalum which was a combination of FRONASA and other groups that had got some support from Tanzania. The overthrow of Amin didn’t change much as the Army brutality and killing of innocent citizens continued, plus, a number of coups followed.
It was because of this political uncertainty, brutality against Ugandans, and poor leadership that the young revolutionary fighters of NRA were under the command of H.E GEN. YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI started a people’s protracted liberation struggle fighting for clear National Interests; Patriotism, Pan-Africanism, Social-economic transformation, and democracy.

Based on a clear ideology, strict discipline NRA fought and chased the arrogant military Junta that was brutalizing innocent citizens.

Immediately after capturing power, President Museveni embarked on a journey to transform our country, restore its glory, dignity of citizens, and rule of law. However, the success of these efforts was through a very tough struggle. Many of the former UNLA soldiers who had run away started criminality and others formed rebel groups that continued terrorizing citizens; some of these acquired support from Sudan.

One time in our history, with very limited resources, equipment/artillery, Uganda was fighting enemies in every corner of this country; LRA in the North, ADF in the west, cattle rustlers in the East, Itongwa terrorizing the Central, FOBA, UNRF1 & 2, but with the able leadership of HE Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni managed to fight and defeat all these terrorists.

Considering this small history, I have shared, even though with no details of the events therein, the struggle as a country we have been through, both at the hands of the brutal past dictatorships and their armies, the sacrifices and struggle to build this mighty formidable force UPDF. We must be proud as a country for having a people’s army, built of a good ideology with the capacity to defend and protect us as citizens.

The great success of the launch of Operation Shujaa which is aimed at destroying ADF that has been carrying out terrorist attacks killing our innocent citizens signifies the broad success of President Museveni the CiC in building a strong army, the growth of our army in both human resource and acquisition of modern artillery, its commitment to protecting and defending Uganda and its citizens.

Despite being in the middle of a politically unstable region (terrorist attacks in the Horn of Africa; Somalia & internecine war in Ethiopia, war in Sudan and DR Congo), having enemies within working very hard to destabilize us, for the first time in the history of our country we have had the longest period of peace and stability. This hasn’t been enabled by the mercy of our enemies but through the hard work of our leaders and our Army which deserves appreciation.

Seeing the generation of commanders like Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba at the helm of leadership in the UPDF is a sign of great strength and success of NRA for it has managed to raise and nurture leaders from different generations but with the same ideological principles and discipline of the Original NRA.
This ensures the survival of the revolutionary movement, the continuity of its people-centered agenda for many more years to come.

With great honor, I appreciate our forces for putting their life on the line to defend our country. We thank you!


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