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Defence and Veteran Affairs Ministry continues to professionalize the army

NRM MANIFESTO WEEK | Guaranteeing security of person and property is one of the key achievements of the NRM Government. The whole country is secure from border to border.

To consolidate the security situation in Uganda, the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs (MoDVA) has been working hard to achieve the 2016-2021 NRM manifesto commitments and presidential guidelines.

Within the NRM manifesto, MoDVA contributes to five key commitments and 16 Presidential Directives to guide all Policies and Plans for the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs in the last five years. The commitments and directives aimed to strengthen security, good governance and democracy in Uganda.

Under the priority of strengthening good governance and democracy, the Manifesto 2016 – 2021 spelt out five major commitments and these include: continued Professionalization and Modernisation of Defence and Security Forces, developing Defence and Security Infrastructure, strengthening Research and Development, promoting Production for Wealth Creation and Self-sustainability, and strengthening Internal and External Security.

During the course of five years, President Yoweri Museveni The President gave further Directives to the Ministry in line with the Manifesto Commitments and these were:

    • Relocation of Air force elements to Nakasongola.
    • Adequate Provision for Classified Expenditure.
    • Funding for Redevelopment of Luwero Industries.
    • Budget Provision for Adequate Feeding for the Army.
    • Purchase of Uniforms and Boots from Local Manufacturers.
    • Reduce Expenditure on Usage of Air Force Fuel.
    • Installation of Solar Power in Barracks to reduce the Current Electricity Bill.
    • Drilling Boreholes in Barracks to reduce Current Water Bill.
    • Development of the National Military Referral Hospital.
  • Pursue the Pre-financing option for Construction of the 30,000 Houses for UPDF.
  • Come up with a Proposal on Salary Enhancement for Scientists in the Army.
  • Gradually and Affordably Increase the Salaries of Soldiers until they come in-line with salaries of Primary School Teachers.
  • Organize Veterans to benefit from Operation Wealth Creation and to engage in Income Generating Activities as Government considers Payment of the UGX 536bn Pension and Gratuity Arrears.
  • Funding the Uganda Air cargo to enable them Repair the Grounded Aircraft.
  • Increase the Income Generating activities for Soldiers’ Spouses to include Weaving, Soap-making and Making Clothes using Handlooms.
Uganda airforce jets fly over Kampala 

New equipment

Over the last five years, a lot of progress was made in attaining the above manifesto commitments and presidential directives. For instance, in order to continue with Professionalization and Modernisation of the Defence and Security Forces, the Ministry acquired, refurbished, and maintained equipment in a robust state to ably facilitate quick response to prevailing and emerging security threats and also equip the Force with the requisite capabilities aligned with technological advancements to Professionalize and Modernize the Defence Forces. Capability Enhancement was realised in the areas of Defence Weaponry and Systems including Marines, Air Force, Air Defence, Armored and Motorized Infantry.

Similarly, the classified budget for the Ministry has been gradually increasing. As a result, the Ministry has continued to develop and sustain its capacity and capability of UPDF through enhancement of its equipment.

Training has been a key to improving Uganda’s defence posture

Training stepped up

The ministry also continued to recruit and train soldiers in the national army.  The Ministry annually recruited an average of 4,000 able-bodied Ugandans through the District Quota system to replenish the regular Force.  Also, officers and militants were annually trained and retrained locally and abroad for skills and knowledge acquisition to ably play their specific roles individually and collectively while executing defence missions. Major courses range from Basic to Leadership training. The Ministry has had targeted recruitments for Scientists to enhance the strength for doctors, pilots, engineers and Air Defence personnel.

The Ministry also recruited and trained over 26,000 LDPs to complement the regular force in sustaining peace and stability in Kampala and across the Country.

Courses for the award in Diploma, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees were undertaken in a bid to build capacity of Officers. SCSC-Kimaka, UMA – Kabamba and UMEC – Lugazi are affiliated and accredited to Makerere and Kyambogo Universities.

Health care Services

Healthy soldiers are key assets to national security. For this matter, over the last five years preventive, curative and rehabilitative medical services were provided to officers and militants, their immediate families and surrounding community members in all MoDVA/UPDF 156 Health Centres. Medical Referrals were made for complex cases to other Health Facilities under MOU arrangements.  Pharmaceutical drugs and sundries were also supplied and provided under an MOU arrangement with National Medical Stores (NMS) and Ministry of Health (MoH).

COVID – 19

The Ministry of Defence, has since the outbreak of COVID – 19 worked with Ministry of Health (MOH) to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the country and along its borders. The following measures were undertaken to address COVID – 19 and its challenges: Luweero Industries Limited (LIL) carried out a massive manufacturing and supply of sanitizers and masks. The ministry also trained health workers on Infection Prevention Control (IPC) measures as well as fumigating to disinfect UPDF barracks occasionally. MDVA also carried out supervision of implementation of Covid-19 SOPs at border points. The ministry also conducted food distribution exercise. It has continued rolling out COVID-19 vaccination exercise throughout all UPDF establishments.

Ugandan Chief of Defence Forces visits Somalia, where country’s troops are serving in Somalia. PHOTO AMISOM

As part of implementing a presidential directive of constructing National Military Referral Hospital (NMRH) in a phased manner, the ministry began construction of a 250 Bed Military Referral Hospital at lower Mbuya. On-going works include OPD and special clinic, main pharmacy, laboratory, pediatric ward, emergency room, isolation and radiology wards, theatre, maternity and intensive care units. Currently civil works are over 70% completed. The Referral Hospital will also have Heart and Cancer Units.

In terms of welfare, scientists like doctors and other medical personnel in the UPDF have had their salaries enhanced and other scientists will be enhanced later. At the same time, the salary increment has partially been realised among the lower ranks from Private to WO II.

MoDVA carried out the infrastructure developments at Nakasongola: Construction of new Hangar, ATC Tower, Taxiway, two blocks of flat consisting of 34 units, Accommodation, two air craft sheds, 02 simulator buildings, Runway, fire station, fencing among others. Some works are completed and others are on-going

 

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