SSP Brenda Sana R recieves a watch on Friday. UPDF photo.

Democracy and Elections: UPDF, UPF and UPS: Who’s supreme?

(Last Updated On: 30 November 2020)

Oped I By James William Mugeni

USA – 30, November 2020: Editor, I am not a soldier, but I am trying to understand actions of our armed men and women who have turned into some sort of classified epidemic which we must capture in an epidemiological report of the Ministry of Health.

The major cause of death in young people in Uganda in recent years is gunshots. Our epidemiologic report captures diseases as endemic, epidemic and pandemic. As a public health professional, we study disease causes and risk factors so that we can prevent them.

The military that should be protecting our people is on a killing spree; the number of people who have lost lives from gunshot wounds is worrying. In trying to understand roles and responsibilities of the UPDF, which is our chief defense forces, I took time to study their Act and below is what I found. The UPDF is supposedly constituted to do the following:

  1. To preserve and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uganda.Defend and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uganda, ensuring non-violability of peoples and individual rights, the rule of law and good governance.
  2. To cooperate with the civilian authority in emergency situations and in cases of natural disasters.
  3. To foster harmony and understanding between the defense forces and civilians.
  4. To engage in productive activities for the development of Uganda.

5 Build adequate and credible defense capacity to address external threats and in the medium-term assist in maintaining internal security.

  1. Create a productive and self-sustaining force.
  2. Ensure adherence to and furtherance of international obligations.
  3. Ensure continuation and strengthening of the Defense forces that have respect for Human Rights.
  4. Create military alliances to enhance regional security and stability.
  5. Maintain national cohesion.
  6. Promote co-operation with the East African countries, which share common political, economic, social and cultural values, and interests.
  7. Support regional and continental integration through the East African Community and African Union

When one looks through the above objectives the UPDF has a humane outlook. Very noble objectives if the UPDF just followed even one of them. Who does not want to see an army that maintains national cohesion?  Just think of a force that has respect for human rights what a force that would be! These 12 principles would make the armed forces built on core values that make a professional army.

As a uniformed professional, my clinical coat speaks volumes about what is expected of me. When there is sickness people will shout out doctor, nurse, my patient is dying. Come and help us. We are so shocked that during this Covid-19 period; the military has made the uniform of the medical profession disappear and the would-be partners in uniform; the armed forces, instead of helping us to preserve life, are killing lives.

In Uganda, ever since COVID-19 hit the world, the actions of the armed personnel have Ugandans unprotected; no longer pledging allegiance to the republic of Uganda instead to the President of Uganda. What we see are partisan men in uniform; we see anti-people armed men.

Think of anything you can use as a description, and it will fit the armed thugs that are occupying Uganda’s streets as the armed forces.

The armed personnel have taken us into the dark ages of Uganda; not even likened to President Idi Amin.

The forces have continuously profiled citizens as enemies and armed themselves against citizens and become so partisan that we citizens have no one to appeal to for protection. Many politicians that are supporters of the regime have torn the Uganda forces into small personal armies.

For many years, the military has acted scenes of insecurity in Uganda in such a way as to subdue populations, that era is gone. This entire election time, the military has created the insecurities we are feeding on. They create these horrible scenes coming out in full combat gear and deploy for an imaginary war.


Listening to the dishonesty of President Museveni addressing Ugandans of recent events in Kampala. Surely how can a president want to profit from these well packaged lies? Once the president has no moral values, what is left of a nation that he thinks he leads?

Kyagulanyi Robert or Patrick Oboi Amuriat taking part in an election cannot be a period to kill anyone and it cannot be a period of tarnishing the image of young people who are following Kyagulanyi; who in their own right are aspiring for democracy, respect for their rights and the rule of law.

This young population, which comprise 85% of the population are below 35 years, is now challenging the status quo and demanding for a peaceful transition of power for once through a free and fair election. Why would that be a threatening message to a “popular president?”

How can a nation decide to kill dreams and aspirations of millions of young people? President Museveni has done 35 years of leadership and he has no exit plans but use the military to lead us into unrest and irretrievable chaotic path?

Everything about Museveni is now taking the sewer path with the military taking center stage; how can we use teargas, block road access; prevent opponents the right to basic needs like shelter, food, sleep, as  political campaign tools?

The military that has beautifully written codes or objectives has taken us to a total barbaric path. The military that thrives on public resources is now of service to a single person. Are we able to recover from this? President Museveni can be the president of Uganda minus these rituals he is taking the country through.

As for young people, there is no turning back. Their bodies may be killed, they may be imprisoned, but their spirits and ideals will reign high. Their future will be reclaimed, and they will die trying even when faced with utter hopeless in a country as rich as Uganda.

The author is a Medical Clinical Officer/Certified Public Manager


Editorial: This publication attributes all views/opinion expressed to the author.

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