Kampala. The Minister of Defence, Mr Adolf Mwesige, has said President Museveni’s countrywide tour of all army barracks is a “normal” function for a head of state.
On March 22, Mr Museveni, also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, started the tour at the First Infantry Division in Kakiri, Wakiso District.
“That is part of his work as Commander-in-Chief. Just like a president normally visits villages to see people’s problems, it is normal for the Commander-in-Chief to visit barracks to see how soldiers are. There is nothing strange about it,” Mr Mwesigye said yesterday.
On Sunday, Mr Museveni was at the 3rd Division in Karamoja Sub-region and yesterday, he visited the UPDF 4th Division in Gulu.
In a statement, the UPDF deputy spokesperson, Lt Col Deo Akiiki, quoted the President as telling the soldiers in Moroto District on Sunday to wisely use the loans they acquire from the army’s Wazalendo Savings and Credits Cooperative Society.
“When you borrow money, you should use it for the construction of rentals near your trading centre and build a personal house when you are about to retire,” the President told soldiers in Moroto barracks.
Like he did while visiting the barracks in Kakiri, Mr Museveni donated Shs100m to the Sacco of the wives of soldiers in Moroto barracks to help them engage in income generating activities.
He advised the soldiers’ wives to do sweater knitting which they can sell to markets outside the barracks.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi, said more than 40,000 soldiers are members of the Wazalendo Sacco and they have used their savings and loans to improve their lives and their families’ welfare.
The President also reminded the soldiers of the principles of liberation, patriotism, pan-Africanism, socio-economic transformation and democracy.
“Your work is to ensure prosperity for our people; that families have income, live in good houses, send children to school, have good health and easy mode of transport,” he said.
Asked about the problems the soldiers are telling the President, Mr Adolf Mwesige said: “Like to any other Ugandans, there as some challenges which he is looking at.”
He said one of the issues that has been bothering the army is housing but said the President is already looking for money to fund the construction of soldiers’ quarters.
A March 22 State House statement indicated that President’s visits to the army barracks are aimed at interacting with officers over their welfare issues, including housing and education of their children.
By Daily Monitor