The directive by the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among followed a concern by Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi that residents of her district who expressed interest in joining the army had been left out, while persons unknown to the area leadership dominated the final recruitment list.
Parliament has tasked the Minister of Defence
Vincent Ssempijja to verify people recruited by the Uganda People’s Defence
Forces (UPDF) in different districts amidst reports of fraud in the process.
The directive by the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among followed
a concern by Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi that residents of her
district who expressed interest in joining the army had been left out, while persons unknown to the area leadership dominated the final recruitment list.
The UPDF recruitment exercise took place on June 24, 2022, in
Tororo with 120 slots allocated to the district. It is part of a nationwide exercise seeking to recruit 10,000 young men and women to join the national army. But according to Opendi, many of the young people from the area were not considered, yet the area leaders were also not allowed to verify the purported list of recruits from Tororo.
“The local leaders who were present, the RDC, and the district officials requested
to verify the purported list of the people from Tororo and they were not
allowed. The list has since been taken to the Centre purporting that the 120
people had been recruited from Tororo, whereas not,” she added.
Opendi asked that the recruitment process be halted and lists of recruited people sent back to the districts for
verification in order to ensure that the army has a national character.
//Cue in; “I called the…
Cue out…a national character.”//
Otuke County MP Paul Omara also noted that they
experienced the same problem in Lango sub-region.
“In Lira, when they came to do the recruitment, only
38 per cent of the people were taken. They said that the rest have HIV and AIDS,” Omara said and appealed for transparency in the recruitment
exercise to enable those qualified to join the army to do so.
Similarly, Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya said that
people were carried from other areas to Amuru district and recruited as
residents, a practice he said was unfair.
//Cue in; “we wanted to…
Cue out…in this country.”//
Speaker Anita Among also complained that the lists for
those recruited from Bukedea district, which she represents in Parliament, do not reflect
people from the area and called for respect to the Constitution saying that the lists of those recruited
should be verified by the different local leaders to ensure that
the rightful people are recruited.
//Cue in; “this is a…
Cue out…from these areas.”//
Maracha East MP Molly Ondoru Lematia said that
recruitment processes in the country have gone wrong and that the problem is
not limited to UPDF.
//Cue in; “right honourable Speaker…
Cue out…what is that.”//
The Third Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Nakadama said
that the problem is also experienced by her district but appealed for evidence
Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said that
Parliament has 10 UPDF representatives and wondered why any of them cannot
provide answers to the House in regard to the complaints about the army
However, the Speaker said that it is the political
head of the Ministry of Defence to respond to parliament queries and not the UPDF
//Cue in; “Madam Speaker we…
Cue out…the political head.”//
Among directed that the Minister of Defence, Vincent
Ssempijja presents a statement to parliament on Thursday.