President Museveni spent Saturday at the UPDF 1st Division Headquarters in Kakiri, Wakiso District, where he interacted with the commanders, officers and men.
He was checking on their welfare and discussing ideology.
Soldiers must understand their historical mission. Each army has its mission, he said.
“For example, the Abambowa and Abarusura armies of Buganda and Bunyoro kingdoms believed in defence of feudal systems while advancing a tribal agenda.”
He said the Kings African Rifles sought to enforce British colonial interests, while its successor, the independence army, was to secure the new-found freedom, a task they were ill-trained for.
It explains the coups that happened because the army did not understand their mission, Museveni noted.
For the UPDF and its predecessor, the NRA, officers and men must appreciate that they emerged from the people, he said.
“We are an army of the people that seeks; to fight for the interests and prosperity of our people, secure their prosperity while serving them.”
He said this prosperity though, cannot be guaranteed through politics of identity.
“This explains why we picked the four pillars on which the NRM is grounded. We preach Patriotism, Pan-Africanism, work for Social Economic Transformation of our people and finally promote Democracy.”
About remuneration of officers and men, the government has been enhancing this but because it had to first deal with foundational issues of the economy, this has taken long. However as the economy improves, so will the remuneration.
On housing, Museveni said he was glad that the UPDF has an engineering brigade which will build houses for soldiers at a cheaper rate than private contractors.
“We have already piloted this with the Special Forces Command and it will roll out elsewhere.”
The army leadership is working on increasing the number of schools in barracks, which will serve even the neighbouring civilian communities.
It is the same with health facilities. Kakiri, for example, has a health centre IV, while Bombo Referral Hospital is not far off.
“As I have always preached, soldiers must live a responsible life. Have a preventive approach to your health. Avoid promiscuity, alcohol abuse and other such vices.”