President Yoweri Museveni who is also the Commander-in-chief of the Defense Forces has said that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces has overtime registered a number of successes and grown from strength to strength because God has always been on their side for, they were at all times fighting for the right cause.
The President made the remarks this afternoon at Kololo Airstrip where he was the chief guest at the 12th Annual Ministry of Defense and Uganda People’s Defense Forces thanksgiving service.
This year’s thanks giving service that ran under the theme “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends” was held in commemoration of the sacrifices of the FRONASA fighters.
Addressing the congregation of government officials, army officers, veterans and families of the living and fallen soldiers among others, the President said that he has personally seen successes registered by the army right from the day of the liberation wars that he attributes to God’s intervention.
Sighting the 6th of February 1981 attack on Kabamba barracks by the NRA, the President said that although they faced many challenges such as the breakdown of one of their vehicles, God managed to get them a solution through a well-wisher and went on to carry on the mission successfully.
He added that right from the time of the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) in the 1970’s to the NRA times in the 1980’s, God would at different times in difficult circumstances help them to succeed because they were always focused on the correct and right aims of Uganda and the people.
The President therefore commended the Ministry of Defense and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces for sparing a day to recognize and thank God for the guidance and protection he has given them in service of their country.
He also said that by praying together as a force the UPDF was rightly healing the old vices of tribalism and religious sectarianism and uniting together as a national force that carries national identity.
On the army welfare the President said that focus should be put on ensuring free education for the army children, strengthening of the army SACCO and the financial army of the spouses of the soldiers so as to reduce pressure on the soldiers who are still receiving relatively low salaries.
The First lady, Mrs. Janet Museveni attributed the successes of the Ugandan armed forces from the 1970’s to God’s protection, guidance and mercy.
“Just like David in the bible, the success of the revolutionary forces came from God and God’s favor was always with them and I pray that the UPDF build on that foundation of service beyond self” she said.
Mr. Vincent Sempijja the Minister of Defense said that the army through programs such as operation wealth creation, emyooga fund and the parish development model will continue to play a big role and contribute to the socio-economic transformation of the country.
He added that the government is committed to supporting the programs aimed at the betterment of the lives of veterans, their families and the orphans of the fallen soldiers.
The Chief of Defense Forces General Wilson Mbusa Mbadi commended the sacrifices the officers and men of the UPDF have paid in defense of Uganda and the region to an extent of some paying the ultimate price of death on the battlefield.
He said that to address the welfare of the army, the UPDF is working on the housing needs of the force, improving on the educational institutions to guarantee free and quality primary and secondary education for children of the soldiers and also are planning to have an army university.
Dr. Sheldon Mwesigwa the Bishop of Ankole diocese who was a guest speaker at the thanksgiving service commended the UPDF for sparing time to thank God for the guidance and protection he has given them in the service of their country.
He commended the army for the involvement in community service and for exhibiting excellent discipline whenever they are called for duty.