JULY 14, 2010: Uganda: Army Can't Stay Out of Politics - Defence Minister

Uganda:  Army Can't Stay Out of Politics - Defence Minister

Source: New Vision

By Donald Kiirya

Kampala — Talk that the army should keep out of politics is misleading, the defence state minister, Gen. Jeje Odongo, has said. Odongo was speaking at the passout ceremony of 57 commanders at the Junior Staff College in Gadaffi barracks in Jinja on Friday.

The officers, who include lieutenants, captains and majors, graduated under the company commanders course intake 2009/2010.

Odongo defined politics as the management of a country and wondered how one could ask the army not be part of it. "The aspects of management are maintaining peace and security. Who else can do that if it is not the army?"

He told the officers to ignore those who use such expressions to stop them from performing their duties. Brig. Silver Kayemba, the chief of training and operations, urged the graduates to command their juniors well.

He appealed to the minister to ensure that funds for the welfare of soldiers are increased. Col. Sam Omara, the commandant of the college, said two officers out of the 59 failed the course and of the 57 who completed, two were female.

"The current military environment is tactical and challenging so you must ensure protection and good leadership of your troops," Omara said. The officers were trained in leadership command, tactical and control command, political education, conducts service support, international humanitarian law and computer training.