By Matthew Ikondere
On the 24th day of June 2021, the President of Uganda and Commander in Chief of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces made a number of appointments and postings in the military with Gen. Wilson Mbadi taking on the role of the Chief of Defence Forces, deputized by Lt. Gen Peter Elwelu and Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba taking on the role of Commander Land Forces among other appointments.
Today, the country boasts of a professional national army that serves the interests of all Ugandans regardless of tribe, or religious orientation.
The above appointments show the confidence the President has in the General officers he has elevated and posted to different roles.
I draw your attention and focus on the appointment of Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba as Commander of Land Forces, having previously served as Commandant of the Special Forces Command. This appointment was received with a lot of positivity and excitement from Gen Kainerugaba’s comrades, friends, supporters, compatriots and a large section of the country, obviously because of the faith the mentioned categories have in him, as he has proven in his soldiering career spanning a period of over twenty (20) years.
While in his previous tour of duty, Gen Kainerugaba spearheaded the establishment and growth of the Special Forces Command previously the Presidential Guard Brigade(PGB).
Key milestones during his tenure as commander include growth in quality and professional personnel, construction of key infrastructure such as housing, training schools, a hospital and recently the new SFC Headquarters in Entebbe. These are milestones that don’t happen over-night, but rather take a focused commander that stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence and courage.
It is because of this character that he managed to achieve all this right from the prestigious military courses he attended and service to the nation upon completion.
Gen Kainerugaba is also largely credited with the establishment of the 1st Commando Battalion that was recently upgraded to a Brigade by the Commander in Chief on the 7th May 2021 while presiding over the pass-out of specialized sniper commandos at Camp Rufu Headquarters.
Through his military career, Gen. Kainerugaba has been involved in a number of crucial internal and external military operations for instance the operation against the ADF in Bundibugyo, combat operations in Soroti involving Charles Tabuley and the LRA insurgency in the North, Operation Lightening Thunder, as well as the introduction of the Special Forces Command in combat in Somalia, a move that saw a change in the course of the war.
Gen Kainerugaba’s new role as Commander of the Land Forces is not new to him, given the requisite courses he has attended throughout his military career, but also combat experience, for instance, in 2008, during Operation Lightening Thunder, he was deployed as the Land Component Commander, role he executed resolutely, breaking the Centre of gravity of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
In Gen Kainerugaba, the Land Forces receive an experienced combatant with a great history, a warrior, a good leader that has the interests of soldiers at heart, a soldier blessed with wisdom and knowledge, a patriot and Pan-Africanist.
To quote, George Patton, “Infantry must move forward to close with the enemy. It must shoot in order to move; To halt under fire is folly. To halt under fire and not fire back is suicide. Officers must set the example”. In this case, Gen Kainerugaba is and has always set the right example. He will never shy away from battle when called upon.
He has no kind words for Uganda’s enemies and as he has said previously, “whoever even thinks of messing with Uganda will get a very bad day”.
Gen Kainerugaba can be likened to the great revolutionaries of the National Resistance Army, Gen Salim Saleh, Maj Gen Fred Rwigyema, or even the great military strategists Sun Tzu, Douglas MacArthur who commanded in both World Wars and the war in Korea, Bernard Montgomery and George Patton Jr, America’s best field commander of the Second World War.
The promotions and appointments he has achieved are not by mistake, for he has trained and worked hard for them, and we can only be sure that with this new appointment, he will perform like has always done in the past.
In the Special Forces Command he leaves behind a powerful legacy that the incoming commanders ought to emulate.
Long Live the Uganda People’s Defence Forces. Long Live Uganda. Alutta Continua.
The author is a Staff Officer-Civil Military Cooperation, Office of the Senior Presidential Adviser for Special Operations