The new army Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) General Edward Katumba Wamala, has assured the people of Acholi Sub region, of stability and peace; saying that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) is more than capable of handling any security threat.
Wamala who was presiding over the handover of UPDF 4th division command by Maj. Gen. Wilson to Col. Emmanuel Kanyesige explained that the population should not be shaken by “statements in the media by some army officers”, but instead focus on maintaining the peace they enjoy.
The outgoing 4th Division Commander who now becomes joint chief of staff, Maj Gen Wilson Mbade officially handed over office at the function which was held at the 4th division headquarters in Gulu barracks last Thursday in Gulu.
Wamala noted that utterances by some personals from within the army will not derail the UPDF as an institution.
“We are not shaken with what is in the media, but we have remained focused. In UPDF, there are no cracks and divisions, we always work as a team,” he said. "So don't get excited, fear and have sleepless nights because of the utterances made by some individuals.
The country is firm and security is guaranteed and people should go about with their normal business without any fears or anxiety," Wamala said.
Wamala said that the army’s relationship with the civilian population is paramount, and working with other security organization in terms of security remains one of the UPDF’s core values.
The LCV Chairperson for Oyam District, Lt Col Okello Engola, advised the Generals in UPDF to always a have platform to iron out their issues before they get to the media.
“Our communities get threatened with some reports in the media, thinking that they might disorganize the attained peace in the region,” he said.
There has been speculations that divisions have been created in the UPDF by the recent statements attributed to General David Sejusa also coordinator of intelligence in defense, who allegedly remains holed up in London, UK.
Wamala reaffirmed that the UPDF has not withdrawn from CAR or given up on the hunt for the LRA rebels and that the operation is still on but at a low pace.
"We all know that under Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, Kony was defeated and that he will not be able to make trouble again in Uganda. Kony will remain a nuisance to the populations where he is but will never be able to come back," he asserted.
The CDF also stated that UPDF troops in CAR and parts of South Sudan are in concentrated positions as diplomatic efforts are being pursued to ensure that the Seleka government in Bangui understands the need to get rid of LRA rebels.
Wamala added that as guns go silent, UPDF will also need land for production saying that UPDF wants to lead in production and not just sit and wait for wars which will never come.
Katumba told local leaders in the north that all the veterans who were taken to Somalia to fight the rebels there were paid adding that they should invest the money in productive ventures.
Gulu Resident District Commissioner (RDC), James Kidega Nabinson applauded the UPDF as the most respected army in Africa. He said Maj. Gen. Mbadi respected the civilian authority and worked together with his juniors well. Kidega appealed to Katumba to set up a UPDF detach at Elegu, Uganda-Sudan border for security.
The handover ceremony was witnessed by the Commander of Land Forces, Maj. Gen. David Muhoozi, 5th Division commander, Brig. John Loroti and Col. Fearless Obwoya among others officers.