Please refer to the Daily Monitor headline of Wednesday, May 18, 2016 titled “SFC elevated to Independent Unit.”
That headline is not only inaccurate, but grossly misleading. It also feeds into the long held misguided narrative propagated by some sections of the media and opposition political actors to sow division within the greater UPDF by portraying the Special Forces Command as an echelon that operates outside of the defense forces established structures. We will not tire from exposing these misconceived lies and cheap propaganda promoted by individuals and groups through their allies in the media.
The Army leadership for some time now has been discussing a proposal to transform the UPDF Special Forces into a service, in line with other modern armies around the world. The UPDF currently boosts of only two services: the Land and Air Forces. Other countries also usually have the navy, which cannot apply in Uganda’s case because the country is land-locked. We however have a robust, versatile, and effective marine force that ensures Uganda’s water bodies are safe and secure. Therefore, the proposal to expand the Special Forces into a third UPDF Service, once approved, shall be implemented by amending the UPDF Act in Parliament to provide for that provision.
Furthermore, even if the SFC eventually graduates to a service as expected, in no way does this tantamount to “independence” as the Daily Monitor would like some unsuspecting and gullible members of the public to believe. The command and structure of the UPDF, of which the SFC is a part, would remain intact and integrated. The Commander of the Special Forces and Service Chiefs are answerable to the Chief of Defense Forces. The status-quo would be upheld in spite of an expanded Special Forces element.
The role of the Ugandan Special Forces is also usually understated and not very well understood. Besides VIP protection duties, the SFC has been actively involved in counter insurgency operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Allied Democratic Forces with stellar results. The SFC is also the lead counter-terrorism unit in Uganda whose members are well trained in airborne, intelligence, and mobility operations among others. It is these unique capabilities that have seen the SFC play a significant and prominent role in regional peace and stabilization missions such as Somalia and South Sudan.
The promotion of Maj. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba and the many other officers of the UPDF recently is a timely and welcome development. It reenergizes the defense forces doctrine and strategy, and will tremendously improve the tactical and operational proficiency of the Special Forces Command and other UPDF formations.