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Museveni launches UPDF Establishment 2021

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President Yoweri Museveni, also the Commander-in-Chief of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF), yesterday presided over the Defence Forces Council at State House, Entebbe and launched the UPDF Establishment 2021.

Alongside top military officials, the president underscored strategic decisions aimed at boosting national security and enhancing the effectiveness of the UPDF.

The meeting, preceded by a High Command session which took place on Friday, February 16th, 2024, saw the unveiling of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) Establishment 2021, marking a milestone in the modernization and optimization of Uganda’s defence architecture.

In his address, President Museveni compared the role of the UPDF Establishment 2021 to that of medical professionals, highlighting the importance of preserving and safeguarding the nation’s well-being.

He emphasized that just as a doctor’s duty is to maintain the health of their patients and provide treatment, when necessary, the UPDF’s primary objective is to ensure peace and security in Uganda. “This UPDF Establishment is like public health and medical treatment. In the case of sickness, public health is done by observing elements of nutrition, vaccination, clean water, and all these are done for someone to avoid sickness. But in case he or she gets sick, there are also curative measures,” he said.

President Museveni outlined that the doctrine of defence and the establishment’s structures emphasize effective planning and execution necessary to uphold peace and security across the country. “The doctrine of Defence and the establishment are the structures of how you are going to preserve peace and security in Uganda. And if there is a need for treatment, then what and who is to do what,” he said.

The President noted that the launched UPDF Establishment is a visionary approach to safeguarding peace and security in Uganda. “We need to understand that the diagnosis and the prescription for a cure are very much influenced by science. If we were to go back to 1800AD, the establishment which we are talking about here is similar to the armies of that time, mainly the European armies,” he said.

During the Council meeting, the president presented a plaque and certificate to the family of the Late Lt Gen (Rtd) Pecos Kutesa for the distinguished service rendered as the 1st Chairman of the UPDF establishment committee.

The Commander-in-Chief paid tribute to the late Lt Gen (Rtd) Pecos Kutesa, a revered military figure renowned for his bravery and contributions to Uganda’s liberation struggle. “Late Lt Gen (Rtd) Pecos Kutesa was one of the officers that we recruited under the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA). He came and joined us in the bush, and I noticed his bravery when we attacked Kakiri on the 6th of April in 1981,” he said.

The president added, “I saw him crawling in a very professional way to capture the machine gun. He was moving really professionally. That is why, when I was going out for the first time in June 1981, I put him as one of my escorts close to the lake to go to Kenya.”

President Museveni also informed the council meeting that the Late Kutesa participated in many of the liberation battles, citing the time they captured 736 rifles in Masindi and also the participation in the Kabamba battles, among others.

Gen Pecos Kutesa joined the armed struggle under the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) to fight the regime of the late President Idi Amin Dada until the regime was overthrown in 1979.

He retired from the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces on August 5, 2021, after a distinguished military career extending over forty-six (46) years and passed away on August 17, 2021.

While giving his remarks, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, lauded the exhaustive seven-year process culminating in the formulation of the UPDF Establishment 2021.

Stressing its consultative nature, the CDF, highlighted the document’s emphasis on jointness at the strategic level and operational leanness, aligning with principles of decentralization. “The UPDF Establishment 2021 document enables changes of merging of some UPDF departments, the creation of new ones, and discarding others to improve command, control and administration of the Forces,” Gen Mbadi said.

Hon. Vincent Ssempijja, the Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs, underscored the UPDF Establishment 2021 as a blueprint for organizational effectiveness and operational prowess.

Embracing recommendations from previous defence transformation initiatives, the Minister noted that the establishment outlines a vision for a modern, agile, and resilient defence force. “The launch of the UPDF Establishment 2021 signals Uganda’s commitment to ensuring national security and safeguarding its sovereignty in an ever-evolving global landscape. With a focus on efficiency, adaptability, and synergy, the UPDF continues to evolve as a formidable guardian of Uganda’s interests and aspirations,” he said.

The Minister also hailed President Museveni for ensuring peace and stability all over Uganda and the region citing that this has laid a firm base for the rapid socioeconomic transformation, which Uganda is currently enjoying, under his able leadership.

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