In a bid to create a robust Military Reserve Force, the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF) has launched a countrywide registration exercise for all military reservists in an intensified effort to create a robust and a standby force to support the national army in the maintenance of peace and security.
The reservists targeted by the registration exercise include former Local Defense Forces (LDU’s), crime preventers, discharged militants of the defense forces, and UPDF retired officers.
The exercise follows a countrywide mobilization campaign by the army targeting all reservists in a bid to provide a bigger pool of forces that can respond to emergencies.
The launch of the registration exercise was held at Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala, and attended by heads of security in communities, UPDF officers and crime preventers.
Speaking at the event, the Chief of Defense Forces Gen. David Muhoozi said the registration exercise which will commence early 2020, is a move to refine the idea of national service and have every Ugandan able to rise and defend Uganda as enshrined in the constitution.
The registration exercise will see all reservists go for short military refresher courses organized at regional level which will amongst other things help them establish a command structure, know each other, and understand each individual’s responsibility.
However, Gen. Muhoozi said the exercise under the idea of national service is non-partisan and for defense of the country.
According to the Commander of the Reserve Force Lt. Gen. Charles Otema Awany, there has been disorganization within reservists who include veterans, former LDU’s, and other groups that possess military skills but cannot be easily deployed on security operations when need arises.
He said these need to be documented for easier identification and recall. Once registered, the reservists will undergo training under short refresher courses in readiness for deployment. According to Lt. Gen. Otema, beside LDU’s and Crime Preventers, the registration also targets militant groups like Amuka and Arrow boys who supported UPDF against insurgencies in Northern Uganda.
He said what UPDF is doing is not new but it is just being done in a more organized way so that Ugandans stay safe.
However, only qualified candidates will be registered and conscripted into the reserve force. Those to be considered must have no criminal record, and bellow 50 years for militants, and 60 for army officers.
The registration exercise will be handled by UPDF but coordinated and overseen by security organs in local communities including Resident District Commissioners, leaders of crime preventers and Internal Security operatives.
Section 6(c) of the UPDF Act legalizes recall of auxiliary forces, members of security organizations and such other citizens of Uganda as have undergone military training as stipulated under Article 17(2) of the Constitution.