By Spy Uganda
The Minister of State for Defence and Internal Affairs, Hon. Marksons Oboth has revealed that officers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) that were involved in extortion during the recent recruitment exercise have been apprehended.
“It is not a secret that there are some rotten tomatoes amidst the great UPDF. A few isolated cases of extortion were reported, investigated and apprehended,” said Oboth Oboth.
He added that others accused of extortion were locals who were taking advantage of unsuspecting recruits.
“We will engage MPs in the next recruitment so that they can relay to the locals. The recruitment is not a one-time matter and we are benefiting from your recommendations,” he said.
He was responding to a report of the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs on the alleged unfair and discriminatory recruitment by the UPDF that was presented on Tuesday, 24 January 2023.
Hon. Kahonda presented the report on behalf of the committee
Presenting the report, Hon. Dononzio Kahonda (NRM, Ruhinda South County) said the committee noted that there were some undisciplined soldiers who purportedly turned themselves into recruitment officers and extorted money from vulnerable recruits, parents and guardians.
“The committee recommends that the public should be encouraged to report cases of bribery and extortion with evidence so that prosecution can be conclusive,” he said.
The committee also found that the recruitment process was marred by influence peddling from politicians and soldiers of higher ranks, thereby affecting the process.
“They usually mount a lot of pressure on the recruitment office and this destructs the officers undertaking the work. The big people in this country should give space to the recruitment process to follow the well-stipulated procedures and guidelines,” read the report in part.
UPDF Representative, Hon. Charity Binababo called on politicians to desist from influence peddling saying that it is one of the biggest challenges faced in such recruitment.
“When we want a disciplined force and we are the ones who are engaging in influence peddling, we need to look at how we are doing things. While we blame the LCs that they are corrupt, we have to do a soul search because we have all participated in influence peddling,” she said.
She also clarified that not all those who express interest in joining the forces will be recruited.
“Elimination will continue because when we go out to recruit 3,000; we cannot recruit 4,000 because the budget cannot allow,” said Binababo.