President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the Commander in Chief of the armed forces has called on retiring UPDF senior officers and Generals to use their pension appropriately in order to live a dignified life.
Museveni said if the retiring officers squander their pension and go back to poverty, they will set a bad example for the young people who would want to join the army, and advised them to multiply their pension and live a comfortable life. He was speaking at the State House in Entebbe on Thursday, while retiring 14 UPDF Generals and other senior military officers.
The Generals included Gen. Ivan, Koreta, Lt.Gen. Pecos Onesmus Kutesa, Lt. Gen. Jim Beesigye Owoyesigire, Maj.Gen. Robert Rusoke, Maj. Gen. Fred Mugisha, Maj. Gen. Christopher Murema Kazoora, Maj. Gen. Moses Wadimba Ssentongo, Maj. Gen. Innocent George Oula, Brig. Gen. Al-Hajji Moses Kigongo, Brig. Gen. Jacob Asiimwe, Brig. Gen. Shaban Moses Lukyamuzi, Brig. Gen. John Kasaija, Brig. Gen. Muhamed Abiriga and Brig. Gen. Frank Kanyarutokye.
Meanwhile, the retiring Senior Officers include Maj. Gertrude Nanyunja Njuba, Maj. Hajjat Jannat Mukwaya, Maj. Abdul Nadduli, Maj. Abby Hafez Mukwaya, Maj. Henry Jjuuko Walugembe, Maj. Stephen Katenta Apuuli Kapimpina, Maj. John Kaddu, Maj. Sula Sserunjoji, Maj. Fred Ntege and Maj. Ronald Richard Magezi.
The President said he was a happy man for witnessing what he described as a success of a miracle. “I wrote a book – the Mustard Seed – a small seed which was planted but produced a big tree. This here is just simple. Each individual’s story is a miracle. How each became part of the resistance movement. Everybody has a story to tell,” Museveni said.
The President gave a detailed background to the liberation struggle and how each of the retirees became part of the success story of the current UPDF army. Gen. Ivan Koreta was the most senior retiree and one of the original 28 ‘boys’ who were taken to Mozambique for training.
“By the time Kampala was captured, we had a forcé of 9,000. Banyankole call it okutubula (Making something small grow big) This is NRM, Ivan was the original seed,” Museveni said. He also cited the story of Brig. Gen Al-Hajji Moses Kigongo who started the Resistance Committees to support the Popular Resistance Army to popularise the people’s struggle and Brig. Gen. Shaban Moses Lukyamuzi who joined the struggle and started the first Signal Unit of the NRA.
Another person Museveni talked about was Capt. Nathaniel Mayanja Kitaka who was a laboratory technician at Kiboga Hospital who joined the struggle and even offered Museveni a shower after seven days. For Maj. Gertrude Njuba, Museveni said she used to keep the records bag and acted as the first Comptroller while Maj. Hajjat Jannat Balunzi Mukwaya who was formerly a magistrate became the judge.
“Don’t look down on people, everybody is useful. The army will not be strong if you don’t have the support of the people. Don’t bark at people. We are strong and were attracting all those people,” he said and thanked the retirees for making their country proud. “Thank you for your contribution. We are proud because you have built a big capacity which has never been there before..a big army of this size,” he added.
The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja said the Generals leave behind a tremendous legacy and accomplishments achieved under the UPDF and cadres of astute Character. “Go with your heads high up knowing those who wish Uganda well remain indebted to your service. You have diligently served Uganda and exhibited excellence in many fields,” he said.
The Chief of Defense Forces Gen Wilson Mbadhi commended the Generals for serving diligently, with discipline, professionalism, patience, clarity of purpose and said they have greatly contributed to the fundamental change in the country. The UPDF also retired 604 other senior and junior officers and men, whose ceremonies were held at the respective service headquarters, formations and units.