President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni yesterday met senior army officers from the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) at State House Entebbe.
During the meeting, President Museveni who is also the Commander in Chief of UPDF and the senior army officers reviewed the progress of Operation Shujaa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The meeting is part of the Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to jointly fight the Allied Democratic Forces rebels in Eastern DRC.
The UPDF delegation was led by the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi whereas the FARDC side was led by the Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Christian Tshiwewe Songesha.
President Museveni advised the senior officers to ensure that the forces were close and friendly to the people if they were to win against the hostile forces.
“The army must always be close with the people. You cannot fight a war without the support of the population,” Gen Museveni said.
“That is why the politics and discipline of the army must be right because otherwise if people are angry with you, even if you fight well, in the end, you will lose,” he added.
Gen Mbadi said the meeting comes at a critical stage that requires better decision-making by the joint forces.
“Our efforts must bring peace and security in Eastern DRC, especially in the area of Operation Shujaa to enable our people to engage in socio-economic activities for their well-being and cross-border trade,” said Gen Mbadi as he commended the people of Eastern DRC for being hardworking and only require peace and security from their government.
“Your presence here today is a clear testimony of the importance you attach to the existing bilateral relations between our two countries which are growing by strength; not only the importance you attach to the bilateral relations but also to Operation Shujaa for the pacification of that part of the country,” Gen Mbadi said as he welcomed his counterpart, Lt Gen Tshiwewe.
The CDF said that the UPDF and FARDC should continue to enhance cooperation in defence, especially in the areas of training and explore available opportunities in the defence industries for the mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries.
On his part, Lt Gen Tshiwewe paid tribute and compassion to the UPDF troops who lost their lives and those injured in the battleground during the ongoing operation Shujaa for the benefit of bringing peace.
“We do not take for granted the sacrifice of the fallen UPDF men and women, casualties in the battleground and the families of the bereaved colleagues for the peace they have won for the good of the rest of the people in DRC and Uganda,” Lt Gen Tshiwewe noted.
He also saluted Lt Gen Kayanja Muhanga the Commander Land Force, Maj Gen Dick Olum the overall Commander of Operation Shuuja and Maj Gen James Birungi the Chief of Military Intelligence for their tremendous work in Operation Shuuja.