Kampala, Uganda (PANA) – Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni on Thursday concluded a tour of military formations across the country, including a tour of the military police barracks, amidst tensions with neighbours Rwanda.
Museveni began the tour last month after Rwanda, its neighbour to the south-west, closed its border to goods from Uganda amidst accusations that Kampala backed rebel activities against Rwanda.
Both countries are members of the six-member East African Community (EAC).
“You officers are supposed to be the priests of the four cardinal principles of the liberation army and explain the gospel (principles) to your juniors,” Museveni told senior officers at the Makindye Military Police Barracks.
He identified the four principles as patriotism, pan-Africanism, socio-economic transformation and democracy and he has hammered the same message throughout his countrywide tour of the barracks.
He told the soldiers that the pre-colonial armies of kings, not only in Uganda but in Africa at large, were tribal and anti-people, believed in superstition and ignorant about science. This is why, Museveni said, they were easily defeated by colonial invaders.
He advised the soldiers to read extensively and be knowledgeable about people’s needs, which he said are hinged on development programmes.
He pledged a financial contribution of $27,000 towards supporting soldiers’ spouses’ savings group.
Uganda’s current army was raised by Museveni out of the rebel outfit that fought his way to power in January 1986.
Current Rwandan president Paul Kagame was part of it, having been raised as a refugee in Uganda. Kagame and his fellow refugees eventually quit the Ugandan army and fought their way to power in Rwanda, which they achieved after a debilitating genocide in 1994.
The counties led by the two former colleagues have experienced tensions on different occasions during the past two decades and in 1999 and 2000 their armies fought each other in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rwanda has closed the countries’ common border to Uganda’s goods since the end of February and there are fears that the situation could escalate.
-0- PANA EM/VAO 11April2019