WHEN CORRUPTION INFILTRATES KEY INSTITUTIONS LIKE UPDF, THE COUNTRY GRIEVES!

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When corruption infiltrates key institutions like the Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF, the country loses troops as many grieving families live to remember the scandals that caused their loved ones’ death.

       Following the Friday, May 26, 2023 wee hours attack by Al-Shabaab on UPDF-African Transition Mission in Somalia -ATMIS base in Lower Shebeele region Somalia, a board of inquiry(BOI) has been instituted and assigned to investigate.
       The terrorists claim to have killed at least 137 soldiers and captured others, but President Museveni says Uganda lost 54 troops.  He warns that they will regret their actions, but also attributes the attack to corruption – with red flags arising from intelligence information that some top army officers deployed incompetent juniors (secretaries, personal assistants, bodyguards, etc) targeting U.N allowances of over UGX36 million annually.
        So far, the UPDF soldiers have managed to successfully recapture the base from the Al-Shabaab, and recovered lifeless bodies of 54 fallen soldiers including the commander Lt Col Edward Nyororo.  Two UPDF officers, Maj. Oluka and Maj. Obbo who ordered the soldiers to retreat during the attack have also been arrested,and they will be charged in the Court Martial.
 WHY SHOULD WE CARE? Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (al-Shabaab) was founded in 2002 though the officially known year is 2006.
Just 4 years later, the jihadists attacked Kampala and killed at least 74 people. Uganda is their top target, as the first East African country to deploy troops under African Mission in Somalia-AMISOM in March 2007. AMISOM has been struggling due to scarcity of resources, and now largely depends on U.N aid through A.U. The East African region is currently divided due to different reasons especially economics, military & politics.
     This hampers African integration – as other parts of Africa are also facing civil wars or insecurities, with some militias/rebels/terrorists reportedly supported by the West including Russia’s Wagner Group with bases in Africa. The Al-shabaab terrorists have established connections with Al-qaeda, Allied Democratic Forces-ADF and other rebel/terrorist groups.
You know what is happening in D R Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, West Africa,etc.
BACK TO UPDF & CORRUPTION: Who remembers the 2012/13 scandal where at least 24 UPDF officers including Brig Michael Ondoga were recalled from Mogadishu by President Museveni, over alleged sale of soldiers’ food, fuel, electricity and other corruption scandals? The sensitive issues of Brig Ondoga, Capt Joy Atugonza, Lt Col Sam Kirya,etc just 2 or 3 years after Al-shabaab deadly attack in Kampala.
Ondoga was later acquitted of 8 charges in 2015, the government appealed – but all the accused were set free by the Court Martial.
     Ondoga (who is now Maj Gen & has since retired from active army service) was later appointed to serve in different capacities –  including being Uganda’s military attache’ in Saudi Arabia until April 2023 when he was replaced with Col Chris Sseruyange Ddamulira.
      As Uganda chokes on lack of goodwill & other strong systems/structures to fight corruption in all institutions, President Museveni has always praised Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba for fighting corruption in the army while serving in different capacities. Muhoozi is the one who caused the arrest and prosecution of the above-mentioned officers, though they were later acquitted.
      RISE for Community & Media Empowerment-Uganda, June 4,2023.

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