Some of the recruits displaying military skills during the pass-out ceremony

As President Yoweri Museveni witnessed the tactical skills of Local Defence Unit (LDU) recruits at Kaweweta Military Training School in Nakaseke district, other trainees filled the parade ground

The grounds overflowed and yet only half of the 6,239 recruits were allowed to form the parade. Others remained standing on the edge of the parade ground. Of these, 485 are female. The President passed them out on Friday. Museveni said the recruits would be paid salaries for the four months they have spent during training.

He explained that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) does not pay recruits, but a decision was taken to give the LDU recruits salaries because many of them have families.

“We will pay you salaries for the four months. You will be deployed in the reserves, but you will be active,” Museveni said, adding that: “Even when we deploy you in the reserves and you are not active, we shall help you to do business.”

He said the LDUs will remain under the command and control of the UPDF. The President noted that the deployment of reservists to provide security in populated areas around the city is an affordable method of securing Kampala and the surrounding areas. He said the LDUs will replace the 4,000 UPDF soldiers currently deployed in Wakiso, Kampala and Mukono. The recruits, who started training in October, were from Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso.

“The UPDF has already gunned down a good number of criminals. You are a big force. You can raise a whole division,” Museveni said.

The recruits have been given a two-week leave, after which they will be deployed in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono.

“This is a robust force. UPDF defeated the terrorists in rural areas. But we had not paid much attention to the towns. Some people thought they could destabilise Uganda by attacking populated and busy areas in towns,” the President said.

The President said a security camera system is still under installation in various parts of the city and highways. He explained that security agencies, including the Police, will continue to develop their capacities. He thanked the parents of the trainees for allowing their children to participate in the defense of the country and urged the new recruits to be disciplined and to desist from taking drugs and alcohol.

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.