UPDF explains why out of 64 top UPDF officers, 55 are from western Uganda?
More than two years after Aswa MP Reagan Okumu raised the issue of top UPDF officers being from one region, western Uganda on the floor of Parliament, the top leadership of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces as well as the Special Forces Group, formerly the presidential guard brigade, remains dominated by officers from western Uganda.
The Army leadership previously explained that the top command of the UPDF – of whom five out of six generals, four out of six lieutenant generals and 12 out of 19 major generals all come from westernUganda – is an accident of history, which brought together like-minded people to join the National Resistance Army in 1981.
However, the command of more recent structures in the army continues to show the same pattern, despite the officers being younger recruits who joined the UPDF long after it took power in 1986. For instance, the Special Forces Group has none from Karamoja among its 64 top leadership, who include commanders, directors, operations, intelligence, and others.
Of the 64, only two come from north (includingWest Nile), three from the east and four from central region. The other 55 all come from westernUganda. The SFG is mainly responsible for the protection of the President. The Constitution requires the UPDF to be national in character, meaning recruitment; training, promotion and placement should reflect diversity ofUganda’s tribes.
Although recruitment is done openly countrywide, analysis shows the need for reforms and deliberate efforts to ensure that the army’s top positions reflect a national character. In an e-mail response on regional imbalance in SFG, Capt. Edson Kwesiga, the spokesperson, said: “UPDF recruits into the army basing on set standards such as age, level of education, fitness, among others.” But his explanation left many people wondering whether the people from westernUganda are fitter than those from Northern, Eastern or centralUganda. To be sincere, the people from northern and EasternUganda are more energetic than any other people inUganda.