Army Recruitment: 16 Sent Away Over Missing Teeth

At least 16 men who turned up in Moroto for recruitment into the army were sent away for lack of a complete dental formula.

UPDF medics check recruits dental formula during recruitment into the force in Moroto.

UPDF medics check recruits dental formula during recruitment into the force in Moroto.

The group was disbanded on Tuesday after passing a physical fitness test only to discover later that they lacked several teeth in their mouth.

Rajab Lokol, a victim and a resident of Moroto Municipality says the move was unfair to him. He explains that he lost teeth due to the Karimojong culture. He explains that decades ago the elders would remove two lower teeth for oral treatment.

The Karimojong have a culture of removing some teeth, a practice that is believed to have started in the 1880s when diseases associated with locking jaws almost wiped out the community.

Lokol adds that disease was the cause of teeth extraction in the sub region to allow them feed orally. He notes that teeth extraction has since thrived within Karamoja clans.

But Lt. Daniel Kavuma, a Senior UPDF Instructor at Kaweweta Military Training School in Nakaseke, who is overseeing the recruitment exercise in Eastern Uganda, defends the move to block the youths from joining the army.

“Recruiting someone with deformities into the forces is a liability.” he said adding that “Such a person will be a burden to government in terms of expenditure of acquiring him artificial teeth in case of any foreign mission.”

Some of the selected youth during the recruitment exercise in Moroto.

Some of the selected youth during the recruitment exercise in Moroto.

Meanwhile, 51 people were successfully recruited into UPDF out of over 300 who turned up for the three-day exercise in the districts of Napak, Moroto, Nakapiripirit and Amudat.

Lt. Jimmy Omara, the UPDF 3rd Division Spokesperson, wonders why women did not participate in the exercise with only six recruited in Karamoja. He urged the remaining areas of Teso, Bugisu and others to send in their daughters to join the forces.

The UPDF seeks to recruit 532 people from 26 districts in Eastern Uganda out of the 3,000 they need nationwide.

Two days ago, at least 500 youths were turned away from recruitment in West Nile in what army officers called cases of presenting forged academic papers and failing medical tests.

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  • ADMIRAL MOSES ONYX

    A very lame excuse to deny the fellas entry to national army. Stinks of discrimination here. So what are the teeth for in the army?!!!

  • kats

    very interesting so thats new policy may be the recruits have to keep entertaining their bosses by laughing/giggling all the time some more light plz Paddy Ankunda

  • Bakubye

    Lt Kavuma, this is discrimination and a failure to acknowledge our cultural diversity. Supposing this was the culture all over the country, would not Uganda have a National army? The excuse that they would ask for artificial teeth when going for foreign missions, is of course not tenable. Why would they? The Dinkas in S. Sudan remove four lower teeth and this has not prevented them from becoming fierce fighters. They never ask for artificial teeth because it is cultural identity and pride not to have those four teeth. You could check with the Maasai in Kenya too. Do they not join the army in that country, given that they too do not have a complete dental formula?