President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, also the Commander-In-Chief of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), has emphasized the overall strength of the army despite encountering isolated challenges.

Speaking at the 13th Tarehe Sita Thanksgiving breakfast 2024 held at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, under the theme: “How can I repay The Lord for all His benefits to me?”, President Museveni reaffirmed UPDF’s professionalism and pledged to address existing issues within the force.

Acknowledging some instances of corruption within UPDF, President Museveni underscored the importance of addressing such misconduct promptly and he highlighted the need to rectify issues such as fuel theft and unauthorized involvement in land evictions, emphasizing that such actions undermine the majority who adhere to the army’s principles.

“It is true that there’s some corruption in UPDF now, they should not tell you lies that there’s no corruption. Some corruption has crept in like stealing of fuel, some of the money and some other mistakes. And why should soldiers be used in land evictions? What are they doing there? They are not policemen. Such challenges have crept in, and we have talked about them, but the good thing is that such mistakes are done by the minority, those people who are near the resources. They offend the majority who suffer and report. So that will be sorted out,” he said.

President Museveni credited UPDF’s success to a blend of ideology and spirituality, rooted in traditional beliefs and religion, which reject treachery and corruption.

“Our ideology was a mixture of our traditional beliefs here and religion. In our traditions we despise treachery, we don’t even believe in cowardly attacks and when we came to the religion, we found many of the teachings were similar to our traditions and when we were building this force, we despised treachery and corruption,” Museveni explained.

Reflecting on historical challenges faced in 1979, President Museveni emphasized UPDF’s commitment to principled conduct, rejecting shortcuts and advocating for ethical military engagement.

Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, echoed the sentiment of unity and purpose, expressing gratitude for President Museveni’s leadership and its positive impact on UPDF’s achievements.

“It is days like these that remind us that we are all part of our larger community with wider responsibilities and a bigger purpose. Your Excellency, from here we can then continue to bring this realization to our work and in the things that we do. For this purpose, therefore we are here today for this thanksgiving breakfast, and we express this gratitude to you for exemplifying values that have contributed to the success of UPDF during the course of your entire career,” Hon. Ssempijja noted.

Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, emphasized UPDF’s annual thanksgiving as a moment of divine reflection, recognizing the role of God in the force’s accomplishments and Uganda’s broader interests.

Guest speaker, Mrs. Patience Rwabwogo, lauded UPDF’s professionalism, advanced training, and technological prowess, hailing its role as a regional peacekeeper.

“I’m deeply honoured to be with you today as we celebrate the 13th Tarehe Sita Thanksgiving service commemorating 43 years of God’s blessing and favour over the UPDF and the nation. The UPDF has Forces deployed not only in Uganda but also in the region as the main exporter of peace to the countries around us. As a nation, we are so proud of the UPDF,” she said

The event, attended by various dignitaries including Dr. Henry Krabbendam, Senior Government Officials, Members of Parliament, and UPDF leadership, underscored the significance of UPDF’s contribution to national and regional stability.

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