The commander of the Special Forces Command (SFC), Maj Gen James Birungi, has said the army is not an enemy of the public but a guarantor of their safety.
Maj Gen Birungi made the remarks during a belated 39th joint SFC and Uganda People’s Defence Air Forces Tarehe Sita celebrations in Entebbe on Wednesday.
The comments come at a time when there are several reports of harassment of civilians by the armed forces.
“We want to thank you for being with us although sometimes we may not be angels but wherever we go wrong, always correct us so that we can achieve what we want,” Maj Gen Birungi said.
“We are very sorry... When you have a neighbour, you can never fail to make a mistake, you can even pass in their compound when you have mud and that can cause a quarrel but what is important like our President said recently is have you reconciled,” he added.
“You all know where we came from and the good ideology he (President Museveni) has instilled in our armed forces, which has created and maintained discipline and professionalism as a people army. For that reason, the army respects the wananchi (public),” he said.
Maj Gen Birungi lauded citizens for supporting their efforts.
“We would not be celebrating 39 years of Tarehe Sita if it was not because of you. We thank you for the co-existence and support that you have always rendered,” he said.
Maj Gen Birungi also advised officers to transform themselves economically.
“Now that we have achieved peace, it is now time to concentrate on the economic transformation of our country and in particular us officers in the UPDF to mind about our welfare,” he said.
The celebrations were held under the theme; ‘Consolidating the UPDF strategic partnership with the people to guard the gains of liberation.’
The deputy commander of the Uganda People’s Defence Air Forces, Brig Tumusiime Katsigazi, urged citizens to understand the ideology of the NRA struggle. “This country had at a time reached a state of being called a failed state but it is now being called upon to export peace in other African countries and outside Africa. We have a duty and obligation to do what they [NRA] started. It will be betrayal if we fail to carry on the struggle,” he said.