Corruption, brutality will attract hatred from Ugandans- Museveni to UPDF

President Museveni has warned the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) against emulating the old armies whose bad habits brewed anger and attracted hatred from citizens.

“UPDF must be very careful not to adopt the habits of the old armies, like brutality and corruption. If you do that, people will hate you. We were able to grow our strength very fast because the people were desperately fed up with old armies,” Gen Museveni said amid growing criticism of the army over brutality and political interference. 

The president who described the past armies as the colonial Forces, said the National Resistance Army rebel movement banked on the failures of those armies, including the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLF) that brought in Obote II, to mobilise support from the civilians.

The 78-year-old former guerilla leader who has ruled Uganda since 1986 when he shot his way to State House, made the remarks on Monday while speaking during the UPDF’s 42nd Tarehe Sita anniversary celebrations held at Kakyeka Stadium in Mbarara City in western Uganda.


Tarehe Sita is a Kiswahili word meaning the sixth day. It is used to commemorate February 6, 1981, when the five-year guerilla war that brought President Museveni to power was launched, with an attack on Kabamba Military Barracks.

This year’s main celebrations have been under the theme; “Recognising the sacrifice of the founders of the people’s revolution for socio-economic transformation”.

On the same function, the president was awarded the Katonga Medal, the highest military decoration in Uganda.

The medal (Order of Katonga Medal) is named after the final and decisive battle of the National Resistance Army during the bush war against Obote II’s soldiers. It was fought near the Katonga River.


He is the third person and first Ugandan in the history of the UPDF to receive the award. The first recipient was former Libyan President Col Muammar Gaddafi who received the award on April 6, 2004, in honour of his contribution to the NRA-led Bush war. The second was posthumously given to the former Tanzanian President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in 2007.


“February 6, 1981, at 8am is when the 43 of us but with only 27 rifles attacked the huge garrison of the Kabamba military training school with the aim of regaining some of the 9,000 rifles FRONASA had handed to the join force created after the defeat of Idi Amin. Although, the attack itself by God’s superior intervention, did not succeed when a Tanzanian Corporal following Tumwine’s pistol fire at the quarter guard, rushed into the underground armoury and used a Nemesis Machine Gun (NMG) to defend it against us. We collected about 40 rifles from the houses around, captured eight Lorries and successfully drove to Budimbo in Kiboga District at around 8am. With that partial success, the revolutionary forces in Uganda had established an alternative power centre in Uganda,” Mr Museveni explained.

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