The UPDF has continued to be a pro-people army by ensuring peace and security of its citizens across borders.
As the UPDF prepares to celebrate the 42nd Tarehe Sita anniversary, which will be hosted at Kakyeka Stadium in Mbarara City on February 6, 2023, the tremendous work of ensuring peace and stability in Uganda cannot go unnoticed.
It was at this time, on February 6, 1981, that the men in uniform, led by Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, put their lives on the line, making a sacrifice to have this country liberated from the tyrannical government in place at the time, thus the name Tarehe Sita.
According to Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Rweshande, the Chief of Civil-Military Cooperation, the Tarehe Sita celebrations will be held under the theme “Recognizing the Sacrifice of the Founders of the People’s Revolution for Social and Economic Transformation.”
UPDF mission to Somalia
Uganda was the first East African country to deploy troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) into Somalia in 2007 with the aim of helping fellow Africans while providing four AMISOM Force Commanders so far, thus paving the way for other countries to join.
The report also states that the Ugandan contingent has remained the largest reliable force in AMISOM with 6,223 troops based in Sector 1, which comprises Banadir (Mogadishu), Middle, and Lower Shabelle regions.
Recently, President Museveni, also the Commander in Chief of all the armed forces in Uganda, confirmed that the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) will continue keeping peace in Somalia until the country raises a sufficient army to be in charge of security.
A number of people have recognised the efforts of the UPDF in ensuring peace and sustainability. A 65-year-old Somali truck driver named Musa Khalid who drives from Kenya’s port of Mombasa to the Democratic Republic of Congo through Uganda said, “If it weren’t for Ugandan troops going to fight for peace in Somalia, Somalia’s Flag Day wouldn’t be celebrated because the country would still be in a total mess.”
Ali Fahad, a Somali refugee based in Mbale town, Eastern Uganda said that it was only after Ugandan troops had succeeded in entering Somalia and started to eliminate the militants that other countries also sent their peacekeepers.
“If Uganda had not taken the initiative of sending peacekeepers to Somalia, no army from any other country would have sent its troops there. The situation was chaotic. The militants had just killed foreign soldiers,” he said.
A new study done by SIPRI, a global security think tank, shows that with 6,162 troops, Uganda is the second largest contributor to peacekeeping operations worldwide as of December 31, 2021.
UPDF mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
UPDF has tried to ensure that peace and stability come back to her neighbours. On November 30, 2021, the Congolese army (FARDC) and the Ugandan military (UPDF) launched joint operations in the DRC’s Beni territory against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which have been responsible for the deaths of at least 2,000 civilians since 2017.
The joint operation followed suicide attacks in Kampala that left five people dead. Some regional governments have argued that ADF is funded by the Islamic State (ISIS).
According to the Congolese and Ugandan authorities, Uganda has so far deployed over 1,700 UPDF soldiers in the DRC since the beginning of the operations to ensure that total peace and stability are restored in the country.
The UPDF fought against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that was commanded by Joseph Kony in Northern Uganda. The rebel group had tortured people in Kitgum, Gulu, and the surrounding areas, which caused an insurgency in the region. It was the efforts of the UPDF that restored peace to the land.
Ugandan peace operations have been driven by several political constraints related to addressing African security concerns, especially the apparent threats to Uganda.
UPDF Soldiers have been to Central African Republic, Southern Sudan, and Equatorial Guinea on peacekeeping missions.