President Museveni has said the Ugandan army, UPDF will soon join other countries to deploy “eyes” in the space in form of a satellites.
“…the force is now becoming more and more comprehensive in terms of capacity to deal with all types of threats. And once we launch our satellite, it will reinforce what we already have, because what the satellite does, it gives you eyes from up. We have some eyes there but we can have more with the satellite,”Museveni said.
“When we started, we had only infantry people but now, we have all the arms and we are working on launching a satellite.”
The president was speaking during the pass-out of 295 cadet officers from the UPDF Land and Air Forces respectively at the Uganda Military Academy Kabamba in Mubende district.
Museveni said the Ugandan army has kept growing by leaps and bounds, noting that having more eyes in the air will reinforce the UPDF’s capabilities.
He said that the UPDF has now covered many aspects of national defense and now working on strengthening their presence in the space and more effort in consolidating the marine forces to cater for many parts of Uganda covered by fresh waters.
According to the president, young people are lucky to join the UPDF since it is now advanced in development unlike the pioneers who did not have the facilities like now.
“The land forces, infantry, artillery, armoured, air-force are all developed now. Therefore, now that you’re in this type of force, your future is bright. I’m very happy and congratulate everybody.”
The president also reassured the cadets that even the issue of pay for soldiers is being addressed.
“Before the Generals retired, we decided that it’s not correct for our long serving fighters to retire with inadequate support. That’s why we insisted, and the government gave us the money and from the rank of Major going upwards, the pay has been improved and the retirement package. Therefore, working for the country in the armed forces should become easier for members of the UPDF.”
Museveni also congratulated the parents for letting their children to join the prestigious institution of the UPDF but cautioned them not to bother their children in the forces by asking them for money.
He encouraged the parents to engage in wealth creation and fight poverty.
“All the parents, we demand that you wake up so that you don’t become a burden to these young officers. When they graduate you start bothering them to send you money instead of you helping
them. Why? Because the parents are not using resources to get out of poverty. Uganda has good weather so it’s not Godly to be poor,” Museveni emphasized.
“I hear that you spend a lot of time on social media. Are you chatting with people who are knowledgeable or you’re exchanging ignorance? If you take those three things seriously, you’ll be very far.”
The Minister for Defense and Veteran Affairs, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja encouraged officer cadets to work more closely together to defeat every threat against the nation.
“I encourage you to make the most of your service here wherever you will be required,” Ssempijja said.
The Chief of Defense Forces, Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi said four of the students graduated from academies abroad in Kenya, Jamaica, and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Gen Mbadi applauded President Museveni for his strategic and visionary leadership that has led to the UPDF grow into a professional, effective, efficient and accountable force
He said that they’re working to ensure Uganda Military Academy achieves a centre of excellence status for cadet training not only for Uganda but also for regional partner states.
“One of the requirements particularly for Uganda Military Academy was to introduce a three-year cadet graduate course in line with the East African Community partner states academies as required by the East African community defence and cooperation protocols,” Gen Mbadi said.
He called upon newly commissioned officer cadets to be aware of the security challenges faced by the countries in the region ranging from cyber threats, terrorism, transnational threats, insurgency among others.
“Therefore, you must be ready to effectively be part of the solution to these challenges. For this purpose, the officer cadet training that you have completed, prepared you to be better defenders of peace and security within the country and the region as a whole against any negative forces,” Gen Mbadi told the officers.
According to the Commandant of Uganda Military Academy Kabamba, Col Wycliff Keita, of the 295 officer cadets ,32 were ladies and 236 cadets are drawn from UPDF specialized departments of medical, ICT, engineering, air force, education, finance, legal services and procurement among others who represent the quality of the young generation of citizens that are taking a patriotic choice to serve their country under the UPDF.
The professional cohort consists of 4 postgraduates, 129 graduates and 103 diploma holders some from Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania.
“They have been trained in military knowledge and skills but also exposed to political economy and the symbiosis of our responsibility in the wider social, economic, informational and diplomatic spheres of state power. Accordingly, they have been inducted in the enduring struggle of seeking wise to adopt and innovate to keep the Uganda People’s Defence Forces ahead of the curve,” Col Keita said.
He expressed confidence that having successfully completed a blend of officer cadet training, the officers have been ideologically nurtured to love and serve their country and Africa, saying that they are highly qualified, patriotic and willing to serve.
“You are still young, we encourage you to stay fit, healthy and embrace learning. Do not forget our core values of discipline, royalty, duty and honour as you follow the footsteps of many of our heroes that span different phases our country has traversed to achieve the current peace, stability and respect.”
“Going forward, you’ll carry the hopes of the country on your shoulders. Fight fiercely and ethically to defend this country that we love so much,” he added.