Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda People’s Defense Forces –UPDF has introduced new procedures to guarantee transparency in the recruitment of soldiers into the army across the country.
The fourth infantry division spokesperson Maj Caesar Olweny says that unlike the past when officers were accused of handpicking relatives to get slots into the national army, the recruitment is this time round handled by a special team of officers drawn from different departments in the UPDF.
Maj Olweny says the new approach has knocked out traditional methods of using officers from the respective districts where cases of connivance brought the UPDF into disrepute. He says that the move aimed at eliminating nepotism and ensuring that all successful personnel are chosen on merit.
He was speaking in Kitgum Municipality on Monday, where the UPDF recruitment teams converged to recruit personnel from the districts of Kitgum and Lamwo as part of the ongoing drive to recruit up to 4,000 personnel to join the army as both professional and regular soldiers. The exercise that started on December 27, 2019 will last ten days.
According to the UPDF recruitment criteria, all recruits must be citizens of Uganda, in possession of an original National Identity Card and duly signed Letters of recommendations from LC I, LC III, and GISOs, to confirm that they are citizens of good conduct with no criminal record.
Regular Recruits are expected to be between the ages of 18 and 25, while professionals are aged between 18-30. The professionals include Doctors, Nurses, Engineers, Lawyers, Teachers, and those holding UACE certificates majoring in science subjects. They are expected to be healthy and ready to undergo medical and physical body check and a road run to test endurance and body fitness.
Maj Olweny explains that army officers from the National Identification and Registration Authority –NIRA have also been deployed at the registration centres to verify all Identity Cards submitted by the prospective recruits.
A total of 27 recruits were taken from the two districts, at the end of the exercise which attracted more than 300 applicants. The successful candidates included two women.
According to Maj Olweny, majority of the recruits were turned away for lack of academic papers, national identity cards and age, while others tested positive for diseases like hepatitis, HIV and haemorrhoids.
The Lamwo Resident District Commissioner Nabinson Kidega lauded the UPDF for the changes, which ensured that only natives of the area acquire the district slots.
During the same function, Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech told the youths that the military is a pillar of the state and it must have ideologically sound personnel who have their country and its Leadership at heart. “You are either patriotic or you don’t waste our time”. Komakech said.
The UPDF will wind up the recruitment exercise in Acholi sub region today, with a drive covering recruits from Pader and Agago districts.