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CHANGE OF GUARDS – Just like in all communist military dictatorships, Uganda’s military dictator has always pursued a policy of militarism.  Militarizing of every aspect of the state is the norm.  Where building of the economy fails, building of the army succeeds.  Where service delivery fails, the resources to sustain the military are in plenty.  The capacity building of the military is not for defending the territorial integrity of the country but for suppressing internal political dissent and facilitating military aggression of neighboring states.  With a strong military, the communist military dictatorship focuses on destabilizing neighboring states and installation of client regimes.

To achieve that, the communist military dictatorship makes sure that military service is not only the major source of government employment but the economic wellbeing of the members of the military is far above the majority impoverished ordinary population.  In some instances, members of the military are systematically left to indulge in illegal activities in order to generate private wealth in return for loyalty to the status quo.  To achieve this, the communist military dictatorship deliberately adopts economic measures that ensure general underdevelopment. 

That way, the impoverished and unemployed youth find it a noble privilege to enlist in military service of any sort – mainstream military service, auxiliary forces, police, prison services, National Service and even private security services.  Compulsory National Service and other paramilitary sessions (Mchakamchaka) act as incubators by way of communist ideological indoctrination for potential militarisation.

Since ascending to power 34 years ago, Museveni has pursued a militarisation agenda which is systematically taking shape.  The military has taken over Forestry, Mining, Tourism, Fisheries, Judiciary (court martial), immigration and citizenship, Works, anti-corruption, management of the police, regulation of multi partisan politics, electoral process, foreign policy etc.  The scheme was accelerated by the Arab Spring where the youth played a central role in the uprisings that saw governments fall.  He responded by initiating a number of interventions that were simoly meant to hoodwink the youth. 
Since 2011/12, three venture capital funds—the Youth Venture Capital Fund in 2011/12, Graduate Venture Fund, and the Youth Livelihood Programme —have been introduced to target youth who wish to venture into business.

However, evaluation studies have repeatedly noted that these venture capital funds are based in urban settings, have stringent criteria attached to them (e.g., a requirement of collateral), are less likely to be accessed by rural youth in agriculture, and are not very likely to solve the unemployment problem.  Just because they were designed to hoodwink the unemployed urban youth into not indulging in an Arab Spring like uprising, they have miserably failed to make any economic impact. 

Earlier in the late 1990s the government introduced the Youth Entrepreneurial Scheme (YES). The YES program was designed as a loan scheme for youth who wished to venture into business. The scheme did not perform as anticipated because it was largely perceived as a political tool. While it was meant to be a loan, it ended up being a handout with very low (if any) recoveries made.

Military service in whatever form is proving to be the topmost avenue of accessing not only viable employment but sharing on the national cake.  The situation is catalyzed by the 13 years of military service under the UN and AU in foreign lands where the terms of service are far far better.  The potential to plunder for personal enrichment provides motivation.

This unfortunate phenomenon accounts for the current bizarre situation where tens of thousands of youths turn up seeking to be recruited whenever an opportunity for a few thousand slots arises.
According to Museveni, this is very healthy.

During the recent pass out of LDUs at Kaweweta on 22nd December, Museveni was very upbeat with the academic qualifications of the graduates (69 University graduates, 340 diploma holders and over 600 S.6 certificate holders) saying he was happy with the enthusiasm exhibited by Ugandans by joining LDUs to help in the fight against criminality in large numbers adding that Uganda has a large quality human resource due to good education system.
“The group’s level of education is good for the start.  Of course we still have the problem of manpower and the potential to take on more as we recruit. When you want 6,000, about 100,000 will turn up. We cannot take on the big number. But this is a good beginning. I have been briefed by the commanders that we have more than 1,000 who have Advanced Level certificates and diplomas. So this is a good force. I thank the UPDF for a good infrastructure of training. We are doing all these in order to immunise ourselves against any insecurity.”

During the most recent army recruitment exercise of 4,000 personnel for the whole country, the turn up was not only embarrassing but worrying.  At Mityana Gombolola grounds, over 600 candidates from the districts of Mityana, Mubende and Kassanda showed up but only 78 was required.  A 27-year-old youth identified as Gerald Mulahi collapsed and died instantly after a 5 kilometer run.  The deceases had been recommended by the L.C II chairperson in Kalami, Kassanda District though his national identity card showed he was from Kasese District.

At Maluku play ground in Mbale Municipality for the six districts of Sironko, Mbale, Bulambuli, Manafwa, Namisindwa and Bududa,
a 24-year-old Aliyi Wakooli, a resident of Wagagi cell, Nkoma Ward in Northern Division, Mbale Municipality collapsed and died during the 5km road run.

In Kapchorwa,  out of the  slots for three districts that make Sipi region, 1,250 people reported for the recruitment exercise, yet only 145 were needed.  In the same area, 40 Kenyans are reported to have disguised themselves as Ugandans so as to get recruited.  The local army Spokesman, Maj Turyamumanya said;

     “And we also got a challenge whereby, the local authorities – some of them are not actually adequately supporting the exercise to the extent that they recommend non-citizens into the exercise. Some of them from Kenya were actually recommended by LCs and GISOs and we only identified them here when we were tipped off by some concerned Ugandans…About 40 of them were eliminated on that fact that they were non-Ugandans.”

If the intelligence services (GISO) can also conspire to have non citizens join the national army, then there is a big problem.

In Kapchorwa, a one Sam Chemutai, one of the youths who had turned up for recruitment said that the interest in joining the army is a result of increasing unemployment in the region. He said many youths have attained education and obtained academic documents but have nothing to do that is why they have opted to join the forces.
“People are lacking jobs and when they have this opportunity to join the army they come in very high numbers as you can…It is now the only job and when we see the army we think that our people will survive from there,” said Chemutai.

On the contrary, a vibrant economy would be counter productive to the militarisation scheme.  Such target youth bracket would be engaged in gainful employment thus not craving to join military service.  Those who would join, would do so out of patriotism and not out of economic frustration and desperation.  The consequence of the latter scenario is what the country is reeling from – rogue soldiers and security goons whose core mandate is to maintain the status quo.

It is only the economically desperate and frustrated that easily accept to be ‘used and abused’


—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: January 12, 2020 at 09:41AM

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