President Museveni with some of the UPDF officers at the First Infantry Division at Kakiri Barracks in Wakiso district, on Friday

President Yoweri Museveni has reminded soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) that as members of a liberation army, they should clearly differentiate themselves from the traditional tribal and colonial armies by championing patriotism and nationalism.

He said they should embrace and work for Pan-Africanism, socio-economic transformation of their society and defend Uganda’s democracy. The President and commander-in chief of the armed forces made the remarks on Friday while addressing officers and men of UPDF at Nakasongola Army Barracks in Nakasongola district.

He said the traditional tribal army mainly served the interests of the ruling or royal class and oppressed the masses through enforcement of the feudal system of inequalities. The colonial army, he explained, served to entrench foreign and economic exploitation.

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However, liberation army such as the UPDF should always work to promote and safeguard the rights and interests of the masses. Gen. Museveni warned UPDF officers not to fall into the trap of the past armies, especially the traditional armies and post-independence political parties that emphasized identities of tribe, religion and sectarianism that made them weak, leading to their easy defeat militarily and politically.

UPDF, he stressed, must always work for unity. “Even post-colonial political parties in Uganda failed because they were founded on sectarian grounds of religion and tribe. These made them weak and collapsed in no time,” he added

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The President said the Government would establish a salaries commission for purposes of regulating the remuneration for all civil servants and removing salary disparities. On the provision of education to the children of soldiers, the President said he stood for free education for their biological children.

He instructed the Commander of the Defence Forces, Gen. David Muhoozi, to ensure that this arrangement gets streamlined and adhered to so that only biological children of soldiers access free education.

The President advised the soldiers to focus on personal hygiene, regular exercises and avoid promiscuity to ensure a long healthy life. While on his way to Nakasongola, President Museveni made a number of stopovers to interact with the wananchi, especially on the issue of enhancing their economic activities in order to be empowered to sustain the welfare of their families.