President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who is also the Commander in Chief of the armed forces has passed out 1143 officers including Air Force cadets from the UPDF at the Uganda Military Academy in Kabamba after completing a six months course.
The group was also joined by one Officer Cadet trainee from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, one from Kenya Military Academy and 52 pilots.
Speaking at the function, Museveni said leaders must be equal or greater than the number of troops under their command at each level and directed the UPDF leadership to always keep abreast with those requirements including deliberately training leaders and officers of the right level and age of command at Platoon, Company levels.
“The army is both an intellectual and physical organization. Some years ago; we worked out career progression of servicemen and provided for who should be where at what time. The army needs intellect but also energy. The army needs young people leading a platoon or company. Other levels like brigades can have officers over 50 who work via radio,” he said.
He cited an example of marine frogmen trained to detect dangers under water in the Nile over 20 years ago whom he said he met again in Mweya still doing the same job.
The President directed UPDF personnel to monitor progression of staff and ensure there is no stagnation in the ranks.
He however cautioned the young officers against living recklessly by indulging in alcohol and prostitution.
“When we train soldiers, in service commission you are active for 21 years. You join as health soldiers and we want you to remain healthy for 21 years. This is a business and not a hospital. We plan for soldiers for 21 years and instead of becoming an asset you become a liability in hospital, treatment, absenteeism etc,” he said.
President Museveni said the NRM government has managed to give Ugandans security because they handled the issues correctly, including in Karamoja which initially had challenges.
The Commandant Uganda Military Academy Brig. C.M. Byaruhanga said this is the largest number in the history of UPDF to commission after the eighth intake in 2002.
He said the trainees were drawn from the UPDF in-service soldiers and majority of whom were non- commissioned officers commanding platoons in the field.
The best students were later recognized by the commander in chief.