A 3,000 man recruitment process will commence countrywide next week, the army has announced.
The recruitment will be carried out for foot soldiers who are required for beefing up national security and supplementing the foreign deployments that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have undertaken – Somalia, South Sudan and Central African Republic.
Announcing the recruitment drive at the Uganda Media centre Tuesday morning, Army spokesperson Paddy Ankunda said the recruitment will only cater for senior four graduates and other qualifications below it. People above the senior four qualifications are ineligible for the army recruitment.
The army recruitment will be done at district level and each region is expected to contribute close to 750 recruits.
The 45,000 man UPDF has lately been stretched fighting battles in Somalia, Central African Republic, South Sudan and deployments in Northern Uganda; it is this thinning of the army’s numbers that has prompted a call for new recruits.
The successful recruits will be drilled through the rigorous training process of the army before being commissioned into the army.
To qualify for army recruitment, one ought to satisfy a string of conditions. These conditions include having a full set of teeth, have all body parts, have no health troubles like asthma and sinusitis among others.
Security analyst and former Internal Security Organisation boss David Pulkol however has questioned the need for more soldiers in the army. In his view, Pulkol says the army has been stretched into doing work that would ordinarily be police work.
He points out scenarios like the KCCA carnival which was guarded by the military police unit of the army.
He believes that the army should be used to handle only national defence matters that include securing the borders of the country and not being involved in internal matters.
Pulkol also sounded a call for the army to account for the soldiers on foreign missions. He says a lot of soldiers have been deployed on foreign missions and little information has been provided on the casuality and death rate of the soldiers.
He says recruiting new soldiers without accountability to parliament for the lost soldiers is an undermine of the parliament’s oversight role.
While questions have been posed over the army’s new recruitment drive, what is definite is that the force will start a recruitment drive on Monday next week at each district.
The foot soldiers will enter into an army that has been heavily deployed in the recent two years, undertaking missions in Somalia, Central African Republic, south Sudan, the national ID project, NAADS and private protection of some key government officials.
The soldiers will also step into an improved pay rate of foot soldiers where each will earn a take home salary of 310,000 Uganda shillings, up from 290,000 Uganda shillings that was previously paid to privates of the army.
Last year, the army carried out a similar exercise to recruit a similar number of people into the army.