Kapchorwa, Uganda | URN | More than 40 Kenyan nationals have been blocked from joining the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in Sipi sub-region, eastern region of Uganda. The group included both male and female youths who had disguised their nationality in order to join the Ugandan army, in the ongoing recruitment drive.
The ten days’ exercise is intended to recruit a total of 4,000 recruits from all districts of Uganda as both professional and regular soldiers. The professionals include Doctors, Nurses, Engineers, Lawyers, Teachers, and those holding UACE certificates majoring in science subjects.
According to the UPDF recruitment criteria, all recruits must be citizens of Uganda and in possession of an Original National Identity Card and duly signed Letters of recommendations from LC I, LC III, and GISOs, to confirm that they are citizens of good conduct with no criminal record.
However, while thousands converged at Kapchorwa Secondary School on Monday morning, a number of Kenyan nationals, equally presented themselves. Telesphor Turyamanya, the UPDF 3rd Division spokesperson expressed dismay that the Kenyan nationals held recommendation letters, issued by Ugandan local council authorities.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Ugandan nationals were equally eliminated on grounds of late coming, unfitness presenting fake academic qualifications and forged identity cards, among others.
A UPDF officer at the recruitment ground who preferred anonymity said that they are overwhelmed by the numbers of the youths who turned up for the recruitment. Sipi region, comprising the districts of Kapchorwa, Bukwo and Kween had a quota of 25 recruits.
Among those who were rejected were the two sons of Muhammad Seiko, a veteran who retired from the army several years ago. They had appeared with documents from the UDPF head offices indicating that they should be recruited to join the army.
“I joined the forces way back in 1985 and we brought this government into power and I now wanted my children to pick up from where I stopped by joining the army and now they have been denied the opportunity”
But Turyamanya said that all those who turned up were qualified but could not all be recruited.
Sam Chemutai, one of the youths who had turned up for recruitment said that the interest in joining the army is a result of increasing unemployment in the region. He said many youths have attained education and obtained academic documents but have nothing to do that is why they have opted to join the forces.
Fred Chebet, the LCIII chairperson of Benet sub-county raised concerns on the recruitment exercise saying that the 25 slots for the three districts was so small, considering the geographical and population size of the region.