2 February 2009

Uganda: UPDF Recruitment Starts

Kampala — THE one-month army recruitment exercise kicked off yesterday at the Mpigi district headquarters.

However, the exercise received a low response on the first day.

By 11:00am, less than 10 people had showed up.

"The turn up is still low but we expect more people as the day progresses," said John Rubabanza, the acting district internal security officer.

By 3:00pm, only 22 people, including two women, had been screened.

Rubabanza blamed the early heavy downpour for the sluggish start.

The UPDF seeks to recruit 3,300 officers, 300 of whom will be cadets.

Rubabanza, who was in charge of the screening exercise, said they were checking for good discipline, academic qualifications and health.

"We are not looking for job seekers, but people who have a spirit of patriotism and are ready to serve the nation. They must be Ugandans," he said.

Rubabanza said the deployment will be based mainly on qualifications.

"Professionals like doctors, teachers, lawyers and engineers will be deployed according to the various departments in the force," he said.

Army spokesman Maj. Felix Kulayigye said only those between the ages of 18 and 25 were legible.

"Those with A' level academic qualifications can apply for the officer cadets, while O' level holders or its equivalent can apply as regular recruits," he said.

Kulayigye said all recruits would be subjected to a medical check-up.

"They will be checked for the sense of taste, hearing and touch. They will also take an HIV test. They must come along with letters of recommendations from their local councils," he said.

Meanwhile, defence minister Dr. Crispus Kiyonga yesterday launched the UPDF week in Rukungiri district with a call to stakeholders to cooperate with the army.

He said the cooperation would help the district prepare for the Tarehe Sita, a commemoration of the day the former National Resistance Army launched their first attack on Kabamba Military Barracks at the beginning of the liberation war.

Kiyonga said the army week would be celebrated in Kigezi sub-region and Ntungamo district, with the climax in Rukungiri on February 6.

He was addressing district councillors, heads of department, and the LC3 chairpersons at the council hall on Monday.

"Rukungiri was chosen to be the centre of the climax celebrations because of its contribution to the bush war," Kiyonga explained.

The army will renovate Rwamahwa Health Centre III, construct staff houses at Kikarara Primary School, a pavilion at Rukungiri stadium and two latrines at Rukungiri Police Station, he said.

Additional reporting by Caleb Bahikaho

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