By Matthew Ikondere
Major-General H.Williams stipulates that the objective of military/army welfare may be stated simply as being the maintenance of the morale of officers and men; primarily to make them fit to carry out their duty as soldiers, when the time comes, with the utmost possible efficiency; secondly, in order that their relations with the civil population may be such as to ensure the maximum cooperation between the Army and the nation in the national effort; and thirdly, that they may in due course be better citizens as the result of their service in the army.
The key objectives mentioned are what indeed, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has truly and consistently acknowledged in his over two decades’ military career so far. He has often recognized that building a professional military organization should be based on the welfare of soldiers.
Lt Gen Kainerugaba while executing his various command and staff duties at all levels of military service, has prioritized the living and health conditions of his troops, for instance during his time as the Commander of the Special Forces Command (SFC) previously the Presidential Guard Brigade (PGB), he spearheaded the construction of new housing facilities for the officers and men of the Special Forces, despite working with a limited resource envelope. This was in a bid to eliminate and do away with the make-shift structures commonly known as manyatas in the UPDF.
During this time, he also oversaw the improvement, rehabilitation and construction of the majority of SFC Training schools, such as the Sera Kasenyi Training School in Entebbe, Amilcar Cabral Airborne School in Nakasongola, Fort Samora Machel Special Forces Training School in Kaweweta among others.
To tackle the issues of the health of soldiers, Gen Kainerugaba superintended the construction of the Dr. Ronald Bata Memorial Hospital in Nsamizi, Entebbe, to serve and cater for the soldiers' medical needs, their families, and the wanainchi (civilians).
And also recently, the construction and completion of the new state-of-the-art Special Forces Headquarters in Entebbe. These various infrastructural developments have also boosted the skill-set and capacity of the Special Forces Command Construction Regiment.
On top of the newly refurbished housing, medical and training facilities, during his tenure, Lt Gen Kainerugaba developed and initiated a robust staff welfare fund and canteen to cater for the soldiers' household needs and in case of an emergency.
Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba as he assumed and took over his new assignment as the Commander of the Land Forces/Infantry in July 2021, listed core priorities and areas of focus and the most critical of these was addressing the welfare deficit of the troops by improving their accommodation and living standards and ensuring that the soldiers are in a perfect state of health to perform their duties. To this effect, he has hit the ground running.
In September 2021, Lt Gen Kainerugaba visited Ugandan troops serving under the Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and this was majorly to assess the troops' welfare, and in his words to the soldiers and media, he stated that “a commander is not one that sits in an office, but goes to the field and understands what his soldiers are going through.” With this, he appreciates that the welfare of the officers and men and efficiency are synonymous. He thereafter followed this visit with the recent one at the 3rd Infantry Division in Moroto, to assess the status of troops currently engaged in the disarmament efforts in Karamoja.
It is after this troop assessment that he has called for improvement of the Land Forces budget in order to rigorously and effectively address pertinent welfare issues of the infantry soldiers.
This indeed proves that Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba possesses incredible and rare leadership and command traits, that not only serve to benefit the institution he serves, but the soldiers, the wanainchi and the nation at large, as well as preserve and fulfill UPDF’s Vision “to transform the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces into a modern, professional, efficient and accountable force anchored on a strong civil-military partnership.
It is evident that for the four months Lt General Kainerugaba has been Commander of the Land Forces, there is renewed energy and morale amongst the infantry soldiers.
And as the saying goes, “Great Leadership reputations are built on consistency”, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba will at all times be positively judged for his ability to remain consistent while in pursuit of having a well-equipped, professional, healthy and efficient force, charged with defending and protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uganda and the Constitution that encapsulates people’s sovereignty through the popular will.
It is with leaders like Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba that the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces, has and continues to grow into a professional, well-equipped, quality and capable military force determined to ensure that Uganda remains a safe and tranquil country, and this has not been limited to the citizens of Uganda, but also to a number of countries in the Great Lakes Region, where the UPDF has offered protection, rehabilitated and driven out enemies of Africa’s progress.
Office of the Senior Presidential Adviser for Special Operations