Uganda’s longest-serving soldiers bow out
Addressing the retirees at Entebbe State House on Wednesday July 4, President Yoweri Museveni and Commander-in-Chief of of the Armed Forces said; “I am very proud to have served with these generals who have left greater milestones in the army and the entire security in our country. Since 2007, this is the first time in Uganda to have peace from one corner of the country to the other in the last 500 years.”
Since the National Resistance Movement government came into power, UPDF has been retiring army officers individually. However on February 28, 2015 and on May 19, 2015 army officers from the rank of Private up to Colonel started retiring ceremoniously. In 2016, the second batch was held where 1132 army officers were retired among whom 2 were Lieutenant Generals (Lt. Genenals) that is Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde and Lt. Gen Fredrick Okecho, 45 other senior officers at the rank of Major to Colonel were also retired.
However according to UPDF, Joint chief of staff Maj. Gen Joseph Musanyufu General Officers have not been retiring even though some have been retiring to pursue other duties (including joining politics) but not retiring as generals.
Among the latest crop of retirees are Uganda’s longest-serving soldiers who joined the army since 1963. These include Maj. Gen. James Ssebagala, he joined in 1963. He was the longest-serving officer until his retirement.
Maj. Gen. Joshua Masaba, who joined the army in April 1966, (has served for 52 years) He commanded air force and also headed air force training school and was also a presidential adviser on air force.
Maj. Gen. Ali Kiiza joined the army in April 1966, 52 years in service, he was the first soldier to fly the gulf stream (the Presidential aircraft) that had been abandon by Amin on suspicions that it had a bomb. Kiiza sacrificed his life to fly test it. The outspoken Maj. Gen. Kasirye Gwanga joined the army in January 1972 and has served 46 years. He was Director Barracks and Stores.
Maj. Gen. Hussein Adda joined in 1963 and has served for 55 years. He was commandant training school. he commanded Kasongola barracks, kabamba barracks school of infantry,
Maj Gen John Mateeka joined the army in 1966 and has spent 52 years in service. He has been chairman of First division court martial and in 2017 was promoted to rank of Major General.
Brig. Jacob Musajjawaza joined 1981, has served for 37 years. In 2011, he was promoted to his present rank, He served as Chief of Logistics and Engineering, Director of Construction and supplies.
Brig. Yowasi Kiiza joined in 1963, has served for 55 years.
Brig Stephen Othieno joined 1968, has served for 50 years.
Brig Olanya Ojara joined in 1968
Brig Mark Ayisi Kodili joined in 1968.
Speaking on behalf of his fellow retirees, Maj. Gen. Joshua Masaba said: “The soldier is the army and no soldier is better than the army. We are very honoured to have served under the stewardship of President Museveni. In our life carrier, we have experienced ups and downs, we have experienced political turmoil but we remained focused and we promised that we are ready for service even when retired.”
According to Chief Defence Forces (CDF), Gen. David Muhoozi the occasion represented a milestone achievement in the history of the force including being the first of its kind in the history of the UPDF to send off the largest number of generals at once.
“They are not fugitives running for their lives but they are returning home to rest and I thank them for their services rendered to this nation,” CDF Muhozi said all the retiring general have had experiences which is why president Museveni asked all the 11 retiring general to write their memoirs to record their experiences.
Museveni promised to take care of the entire retiring lot. “We shall take care of you since you are not many in number. You know numbers can overwhelm but you are small in number and I promise that UPDF will take care of you to see that you stay in good health.”