Kampala. President Museveni has urged the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) to shun tribalism and embrace Pan Africanism, which distinguishes them from the past traditional tribal and colonial armies.
The President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, made the remarks while addressing UPDF soldiers at Nakasongola Army Barracks in Nakasongola District at the weekend.
Mr Museveni said unlike the traditional tribal and the post-colonial army that mainly served the interests of the ruling royal class and entrenched foreign economic exploitation, a liberation army such as UPDF should always promote and safeguard the rights and interests of the masses.
“Tribal armies could not defend their societies against colonialists because they were weak and divided and as a result, the whole of Africa was colonised by 1900, save Ethiopia. This should tell [us] that being divided is counter-productive,” he said in statement released by State House.
Mr Museveni also said the past armies emphasised identities of tribe, religion and sectarianism which UPDF soldiers must not emulate. He said such mistakes made soldiers weak, leading to their easy defeat.
He advised the UPDF to always work for the good of Uganda and Africa.
“It is through the unity of Africans that the safety and future of the African continent can be guaranteed and shield us from future neo-colonisation, domination and marginalisation,” Mr Museveni said.
The President also said government would establish a salaries commission to regulate remuneration of all civil servants and remove salary disparities.
He said biological children of the soldiers will access free education and instructed the Chief of the Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi, to ensure that this arrangement is streamlined and adhered to.
Mr Museveni advised the UPDF to focus more on preventive measures, personal hygiene and regular exercise and avoid promiscuity to ensure healthy life.
On his way to Nakasongola District, President Museveni made stopovers to interact with several traders and addressed them on issues of enhancing their welfare.
He reportedly handed out envelops to different groups and introduced Ms Lucy Nakyobe Mbonye, the State House Comptroller, to leaders of market vendors.
Mr Museveni told them that Ms Nakyobe would soon return to assess the categories of enterprises in their places of operation to boost their operations.
The President told Kawempe Market operators that she would work with them to resolve issues of the market land.
Mr Museveni also stopped at the Matugga – Ssemuto road junction, Bombo Kubbiri Market, Luweero Town, Balikyejusa-Kasaala open market and at Kakooge Trading Centre. He commended market vendors for working hard to earn a living and sustain their families.