President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the UPDF Commander-In-Chief, last week took time off from the 28th IGAD extra ordinary summit to interact with Ugandan troops serving under AMISOM at the Halane Base camp headquarters near Mogadishu International Airport. He was received by the Ugandan Contingent Commander, Brig. Sam Okiding.
This is the second time Gen. Museveni is visiting UPDF troops in Somalia. Museveni was last in Somalia in November 2010 in a surprise and daring visit to AMISOM and Ugandan troops that were involved in fierce battles for the liberation of Mogadishu from the grip of Alshabaab, who controlled almost three quarters of the capital at the time. After much resistance, the terror group was eventually driven out of the capital by July 2011.
“I came here for a meeting with our leaders to discuss solutions to the problems in Somalia, but I couldn’t go back without greeting you. I also want to thank you for the exemplary work you are doing to help our brothers and sisters in Somalia” said Gen. Museveni to the visibly excited soldiers.
The President said part of the problem in Somalia is the issue of pseudo ideology, which Uganda rejected a long time ago. The UPDF, observed the President, had supported Somalia in two major ways: First by effectively fighting the enemy, and second, by setting a good example to the Somalis. The president added that in Uganda, the army was recruited from all corners of the country, and trained as a cohesive unit to fight together, just like they had achieved in Somalia.
“You cannot build an effective and efficient army based on tribalism, religion, and male chauvinism. The army must be exemplary in their conduct, well trained to fight, and ideologically conscious,” said the President.