Kampala- The newly promoted UPDF officers have warned those opposed to government against engaging in subversive activities that will destabilise the country.

The officers said they have made sacrifices to defend this country, even in the old age when they should be retiring.

“We are growing old but we are still able. So if anybody wants to destabilise this country, this country did not have this peace on silver plate, we lost our people in the bush around Luweero, some of us are casualties, but here we are. So we are warning those who are running around and think they will disturb us, they should think twice,” Maj Gen Steven Rwabantu Tumusiime, who spoke on behalf of the promoted officers, said.

Gen Rwabantu said he has worked with President Museveni for close to 40 years and will be ready to offer his defence when called upon.

He added: “When he called on the young ones to fight the dictatorship, I was the first person to join him and we successfully chased (President Idi) Amin. After that in 1980, when Obote rigged the election, the same president mobilised people to fight, I did not shy away; I was among the first ones to join him.”

Ready to fight
The general warned that he has not lost his bush-era fighting skills, declaring that the crocodile nickname he was given during the bush war will come back to haunt those who want to cause chaos in the country.

“I was called Gonya Gonya and in English it is means crocodile. You know what crocodiles do? They can cut you into pieces if you want to mess up. ..., but if they [people] want to disturb us, the crocodile will come out strong,” he said.

He challenged the officers who have been promoted to ensure that they perform up to the expectations of their new ranks.

“I want to urge the officers who have been decorated, it’s a duty when they add a rank for you and you should really serve with courage. Officers get better, but not bitter and keep the patriotic life alive,” the general said.

General David Muhoozi, the chief of defence forces, urged the newly-decorated officers to work harder to defend the country.

He said the promotions are a testimony that professionalising the army is taking shape.
“We have been professionalising, yes, but to the extent that we allow every member of the UPDF to make a contribution; the old in service, the middle age and the young. This has worked very well for us.”

Retiring officers challenged
The army chief also challenged those retiring to continue with the good discipline they have exhibited in the army when they leave the force.

He said more promotions will be done in due course and urged those not yet promoted to remain calm.
“I understand that there are still deserving cases for promotion. We can’t promote everyone at a go, but their time will come. So those out there who haven’t been promoted your time will come. Those of you who have been promoted, remember our mission, remember our foundation as a force, and remember our purpose.”

Gen Muhoozi said the UPDF is prepared for the ever evolving global challenges which may come as result of technological advancements.

“We recognise that we have challenges and as a force, we need to keep pace with these modern trends in order to ensure that we keep our country secure and peaceful.”
He assured the nation that UPDF is ready to defend the country at whatever costs it will take.

fdraku@ug.nationmedia.com