The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Zhang Lizhong hailed Uganda’s contribution to dealing with security challenges in the region.
“The proactive and constructive role Uganda plays in addressing regional security challenges is applaudable,” the ambassador tweeted following a meeting last week with President Yoweri Museveni.
Lizhong joined a group of envoys and representatives from the United Nations Security Council that met President Museveni on September 2 for a consultative meeting at State House Entebbe.
The Council is charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter.
It also has powers to establish peacekeeping operations, enact international sanctions, and authorize military action.
Uganda hosts UN’s regional service centre, and a peace operations support hub in Entebbe, and the facilities provide logistics and administrative support to UN missions in Africa.
Peacekeeping training courses to missions and related offices in the region are held here.
Kampala has also been instrumental in the development of the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) and African Union-affiliated conflict management initiatives.
Working with the above organizations or at the request of heads of state, Uganda has deployed its police officers and defence forces to a number of African countries, including Somalia, Liberia, South Sudan, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea and the Central African Republic.
Ugandan military deployments and activities, including peacekeeping, are enshrined in the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) Act of 2005.
The President, who is the Commander in Chief (CiC), in collaboration with the Military High Command and Defense Forces Council, determines UPDF deployments.
The Defense Council comprises the Minister of Defense, Chief of Defense Forces (CDF), Deputy CDS, Joint Chief of Staff (JCOS), Service Commanders, Divisional Commanders and a few select others.
Security advisers, the Chief Political Commissar, Inspector General of Police (for police deployments) and other senior NRM security figures are also involved.
Once deployed, the CDF has strategic oversight of UPDF forces in theatre. Soldiers heading to missions are trained at Singo peacekeeping training camp with support from the US, UK, France and EU.
Parliament is supposed to approve deployments, regulate and oversee UPDF activity as stipulated in the constitution and the Defense White Paper of 2004, however, lawmakers have limited oversight.
Lawmakers usually rely on the decisions of the UPDF high command on military matters.
Being a former guerilla liberation movement, observers say Uganda’s defence force is reliable in the areas of infantry, intelligence and Special Forces, and has been deemed one of the best by donors in terms of African peacekeeping capability.