It is disturbing to learn that UPDF women soldiers are being sent to front line in Somalia. Surely, what the big deal that leads Uganda authorities to send women on mission to the battle front in Somalia. Can Uganda observe the women and the role they are expected of performing in society. It should not be killing other people. many be, since President Museveni discouraged UPDF getting into love relationships with Somali women, the option remains to have Ugandan women sent to Somalia, but still, these women should not feature on the front line as is clearly seen in photos by the Bukedde newspaper.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
DO NOT TOUCH SOMALI WOMEN, MUSEVENI TELLS UPDF SOLDIERS
President Museveni addresses soldiers during the passout of 1,700 soldiers who are going to reinforce Uganda troops in Somalia. PPU PHOTO
By RISDEL KASASIRA
Posted Monday, April 9 2012 at 00:00
Gen. Museveni said sexual relationships between UPDF soldiers and Somali women could jeopardise the peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
President Museveni has cautioned UPDF soldiers waiting to be deployed to Somalia this week against involvement in sexual relationships with Somali women.
Engaging in extra-marital affairs, Gen. Museveni said, is indiscipline and would “jeopardise” the peacekeeping mission.
Gen. Museveni was on Friday officiating at the passout of 1,700 reservists at Singo Training Centre in Nakaseke District.
They will reinforce the two Uganda battle groups in Somalia as they prepare for offensives against al-Shabaab militants.
“General Museveni strongly cautioned the soldiers to be vigilant and desist from extra-marital affairs while on their assignment in Somalia. He commended the UPDF leadership for their role in the training of the soldiers,” a State House statement said.
President Museveni attributed the “impressive success” registered by the UPDF in Somalia to its discipline, thorough training and solidarity.
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Only one case of sexual misconduct has been reported since Ugandan troops were deployed in Somalia in 2007. It involved a UPDF peacekeeper who had a child with a Somali woman in Mogadishu.
DR Congo case
When UPDF soldiers were deployed to DR Congo between 1998 and 2001 they fathered several children with Congolese women, many of whom returned with them to Uganda.
Somalis have started the rebuilding process after 20 years of insurgency, following flashing of al-Shabaab insurgents out of Somalia capital Mogadishu by Ugandan and Burundian forces.
The Commander of Land Forces, Lt. General Katumba Wamala, under whose docket the Somalia misson falls, said the beginning of the reconstruction of the war-ravaged city is irreversible.
UPDF NOT FIGHTING PROXY WARS - WAMALA
Posted Sunday, May 27 2012 at 00:00
Bringing heads together. Uganda hosted African Land Forces summit with military generals coming from 36 African countries last week. The meeting, co-hosted by the United States Army Africa (USARAF), discussed the continent’s security threats. The UPDF Commander of Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Katumba Wamala, who was the main host, talked to Thoughts and Idea’s Risdel Kasasira about the summit, their discussion of challenges faced by African militaries and why UPDF has deployed from Central Africa to the Indian Ocean.
1. What was this meeting [of African Land Forces Commanders] about and why was Uganda chosen to host the event?
It was about building partnerships and friendship in order to address regional security concerns. We came to know each other not from countries but regions. We discussed regional security challenges and how we can go about these security challenges. We also ensured that our other partners who are not from the continent especially Americans understand us better than before. For Uganda to be the host, we requested for it. It was in Washington when they put up a request of who could host it, and we offered to host it. That’s how it came here.
2. Do you know the reason why some countries including Sudan did not attend and could it be because of accusations and counter-accusations between Ugandan and Sudan over aiding rebels? What does hosting this summit mean to Uganda in general and UPDF in particular?
I don’t know why you bother about Sudan! There are many African countries which didn’t attend. There are more than 54 countries, we got 37. Why Sudan in particular? Others didn’t come. It was by choice. Whoever was invited came and whoever didn’t come, it was not like a must-attend meeting.
We have been able to showcase ourselves. One thing was to show them how we prepare our troops going to Somalia. They are asking how we have been able to make a difference in Somalia and in the region. They were asking how Ugandans have been able to hold this mission and bring it to the level where it is all this time even when we didn’t have other players coming in. They were very much interested in how we prepare our troops going for the mission; that’s why we took them to the training centre in Singo.
3. Do you see these regional forces uniting and becoming one continental force?
Of course, you know the concept of African Standby Force is to start with regional forces. The regional mechanisms are the ones which will build eventually to Africa Standby Force. That’s how we are looking at it. We are looking at the preparedness of these regional economic mechanisms and forces. How ready are they to be able to form the African Standby Force? How far has each of these regions gone in preparing its forces to contribute to the continental force? We looked at all these questions.
4. Other than poor funding what are the other challenges the African land forces are facing?
There are other challenges like communication. You know that we have different languages. There are those who speak French, others speak Arabic and others Portuguese. Working together as one entity becomes a challenge especially communication, and of course logistical challenge is the major one. For example, if we were to airlift forces from SADC to East Africa, it becomes a challenge. Does African Union, which is our mother body, possess capacity to airlift those troops to where they would be required? It’s a big challenge.
5. In the developed world, battles are majorly fought using technology. But in Africa, our troops trek through jungles, mountains and deserts. Do you envisage when an African soldier will apply more technology rather than walking long distances to hunt the enemy?
Technology does not replace a human being. It can only improve. You will still need a human being because even that technology will still be operated by a human being. You cannot say you are going to replace the forces with technology. It does not work. By now the Americans would not be having foot soldiers to put on the ground. You still need boots on ground. Therefore, technology will enhance but will not replace soldiers.
6. Do you see yourselves as warmongers because Uganda is the only country whose forces are deployed across the continent, from Central African Republic which borders Cameroon, through South Sudan to Somalia?
I thought Ugandans should be proud that their forces have got that potential. That’s a pride. The question is that are we just there? Or are we an impact? If it is, then Ugandans should be proud of their forces. One of the prides of this nation, is the army; that we can be able to perform what we do even with challenges.
UPDF soldiers are ideologically clear and highly motivated. What drives our military is not money. What drives our military is the ideology. The President even alluded to this when he was opening the seminar. He said African forces must have an ideology. They must be ideologically oriented. Of course for us, it’s pan-Africanism. It’s big in our ideology. We think of Africa first before we think of individuals.
7. How can they be highly motivated when they are poorly paid and secondly, what about those who say that you are fighting proxy war? They say you are protecting American interests in the region.
That’s where some get it wrong. Money is not a motivation. It could be one of the factors but it’s not the only factor. That’s why some Ugandans get it wrong because instead of thinking they can make their country better they think of how they can make more money. We are putting our priorities upside down.
When there was bombing at Rugby Club and Kabalagala, how many Americans died compared to Ugandans? Of course majority were Ugandans. When these guns come from Somalia and enter Karamoja and cause havoc how are Americans affected?
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