Commander of Reserve Forces Lt Gen Charles Otema. UPDF PHOTO
By Benjamin Jumbe
Uganda Peoples Defence Forces has recalled 2,752 veterans or members of the reserve force, Commander of Reserve Forces Lt Gen Charles Otema, has confirmed.
Gen Otema says these are to be mobilized in a four-day exercise that starts on January 20, 2020 and are to be sent to Somalia to augment the UPDF operations under AMISOM.
“The UPDF leadership through the office of General Officer Commanding Reserve Forces will conduct a four day countrywide call up of 2,752 reservists starting from January 20, 2020,” he revealed.
Gen Otema said those mobilized are to form Uganda Battle groups thirty one and thirty two to augment UPDF operations Under African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
He said Article 17 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and Section 31 of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces Act 7 of 2005 empower the Commander in Chief to order all or part of the reserve force to be on continuing full time military service for such a period of time as he may determine.
The call up targets only UPDF veterans who were honorably discharged or returned from the rank of Major and below and aged 55 years and below.
Lt Gen Otema said those to be recalled should be with no criminal record and in possession of their original National IDs, with candidates to be screened for physical, medical and mental fitness.
He said besides this being a routine, the call up has been done to support the veterans and enable them to “earn something”
“Some of them are fathers but after they have retired, life out there is not very easy, so also for their welfare purposes, it is very important,” Lt Gen Otema said.
He also dismissed claims that the call up has been done to avoid a scenario where veterans can be used by any other politicians seeking to take over power as the country prepares for the general elections.
“How many elections have taken place in this country, have these veterans not been there, did they go to any group to come and take over the country, how?” Lt Gen Otema asked.
“Because they know if they take the other side, they know what UPDF can react towards them, so you don’t risk. So really they are better off to be with UPDF,” he added.
The first call up of reservists was in 2012 where they formed battle group nine Plus (BG9+) that captured the northern axis of Mogadishu from Masillah to 115 km at Jowhwar.
Source DAILY MONITOR.