Dear my confidants, comrades, constituents in the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) and fellow Ugandans.
From a long distance I wish to express my gratitude to the great sons of Uganda that launched the long journey on 6th February 1981, a journey that; I and millions of Ugandans became part of, in which thousands of our dear country men/women lost their lives, left property worth billions lost, left governments changed, formed one of the most strong armies in the region formed, made millions liberated while other millions live exiled BUT a journey that might become meaningless if we do not deliver on ; the fundamental change we fought for which is
1. Free and fair elections.
2. Good service delivery.
3. Respect peoples’ freedom and human rights.
4. National dialogue for consensus on comprehensive political, social and economic reforms that shall make the people of Uganda collectively and democratically govern themselves and transition from making governance of Uganda a burden (lubengo) on an individual or a selected few.
I know that as people who cherish and fought for democracy, freedom and a sound economy we have not reached where we wanted to be. The good news is that we are not where we used to be in the bad past because of the hard and good work we did as a team and a force.
As a country we have certainly made significant strides in security so I must commend my brothers and sisters in the UPDF for a job well done. Therefore let’s use this day to pay tribute to our brothers and sisters that died along the journey and encourage ourselves and those yet to join the UPDF that many more may have to sacrifice their lives in order to consolidate and sustain the achievements.
In addition to recruiting, training and commanding thousands of the UPF I lead the writing of the establishment of UPDF, a top secret book (bible –like) that transformed the NRA guerilla force into the Conventional Powerful Joint Service (land, marine and air forces) the UPDF was adopted by the 1995 Uganda constitution.
In order to give the force the national character I chose and insisted that the name be Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force so that the force shall cease to be abused and used as a personal, factional or partisan army.
On this day I want to reiterate that the UPDF should stand firm and adhere to their constitutional obligations and reject being abused by any individuals or politicians with propensity for using the UPDF for personal gains and crimes against the people you are supposed to defend.
However powerful some politicians might look, that is temporally because “leaders come and leaders go” but you shall remain and be held responsible for abusing your office if you accept to be used as a force of some individual’s rater than the people’s force.
I know tricky challenges ahead of you as a force and the nation especially as we approach a rather volatile political situation, but I know that UPDF shall triumph if you remain the peoples’ Defence Force that you were established to be.
Am therefore reminding our brothers and sisters in service in the UPDF to remain refocused on the UPDF establishment, doctrine, constitutional role.
God Bless the UPDF, God Bless Uganda.
General coordinator for Uganda Diaspora P10.