Talk:Uganda People's Defence Force

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  • 2nd Div units according to afdevinfo.com:
    • 69th Battalion
    • Divisional Headquarters Command Mbarara
    • 73rd Battalion
    • Rwenzori Mountain Alpine Brigade
    • 17th Battalion
    • 77th Battalion
    • 507th Alpine Brigade
    • 3rd Tank Battalion —Preceding unsigned comment added by Buckshot06 (talkcontribs) 08:07, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Newspaper report[edit]

How Kazini’s 4th Div became home of ghosts

ALEX B. ATUHAIRE

KAMPALA, March 30, 2008

THE UPDF 4 Division, the unit that for years spearheaded the fight against rebels in northern Uganda, was at the centre of creating ghost-soldiers, Sunday Monitor can reveal.

In the aftermath of the Thursday sentencing of former Army Commander James Kazini to a three-year jail term for profiteering from the existence of ghost soldiers on the UPDF payroll, Sunday Monitor has also established several tricks officers used to create such ghosts to cheat the State.

Revelations of the state of 4 Division, which Maj. Gen Kazini once commanded, several years ago and tricks used to create ghost soldiers are contained in testimonies of those interviewed by the committee that investigated the ghost-soldier problem in the military between June and September 2003.

Noble Mayombo, who has since passed on, was chief of military intelligence when he testified about the state of the Gulu-based 4 Division just before the commencement of Operation Iron Fist in March 2002. The operation aimed at wiping out the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in south Sudan.

The committee’s report quotes Mayombo as saying: “....We were tasked to establish requirements for the operation. We had several meetings in Aswa ranch with [several officers.] We wanted to establish strength. There were a lot of discussions as to the strength of the 4 Division, but we were satisfied that 4 Division was not enough to handle the job.

They could not have been more than 3,000. 4 Division was a ghost Division. The meetings were held in February and early March 2002. We decided to deploy another 4,000 troops to support the operation....They admitted that the strength they were giving before contained ghosts.”

The three-man committee was chaired by Amama Mbabazi, then minister of Defence. Gen. Salim Saleh and Gen. David Tinyefuza were members.

Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, who was the Iron Fist operational commander, also appeared before the committee and spoke of how the perpetuation of ghost soldiers in 4 Division affected his campaign.

He said: “It is a very disheartening phenomenon when one considers a unit (Battalion) supposed to have strength of 736 officers and men having only strength of 250 or so, like in the case of 15 Bn, 49Bn, 47 Bn etc.

This means that the missions supposed to be executed by 736 are left to 250 and cannot be successfully executed in operations; our units suffer unnecessary casualties at the hands of the enemy or simply avoid the enemy. This over stretching of personnel has resulted in operational fatigue, low morale and desertion of troops.”

Standard UPDF units are composed as follows: platoon – 36 troops, company (124), battalion (736), brigade (2,500), and an infantry division (10,000).

Maj. Gen. Kazini commanded the 4 Division in the latter half of the 1990s. He was replaced by Brig. Henry Tumukunde, who himself was replaced by Brig. Geoffrey Muheesi and later Maj. Gen. Andrew Gutti. Both Gutti and Tumukunde were charged with creation of ghosts before the General Court Martial, but their charges were later dropped.

LRA pounces Because of the ghosts, it became difficult for the UPDF to deal effectively with the LRA rebels as indicated in the transcript of the testimony of Sgt. Kabatambuzi Joy Rose, the sergeant-major of the support company (coy) in the 87 Battalion in 5 Division based in Pader.

“Sir, Otti Vincent is stuck on our unit. He keeps attacking our unit because we are under strength. We are very few. So in Dec. 2002, he attacked our forces at the place where we operate in Latanya, Pader near Amok Lagwanya.

At the time UPDF had sent a Platoon of 20 people. They had been told that the rebels are there. However on reaching there, the rebels were many so they sent a COY. You know when you hear of a COY it is only 50 people. These people had no communication so reinforcement could not come in time. They were attacked by the enemy and lost 9 soldiers.

They spent a week rotting in the field and the remaining soldiers nearly rioted, so even recently on 2 Sept 03 Otti Vincent again attacked. They shot and killed our radio man. But we also killed a Maj. in their ranks. However the Bn (87) was again attacked. That is three times, so our soldiers run out of bullets,” Sgt. Kabatambuzi told the committee.

“Sir, we lack everything, there are no Ponjos. We have no pouches for magazines; soldiers improvise tying magazines together which causes stoppages. There are no gum boots and uniforms. It is terrible. You can not get dry ration.

They only give us dry beans and kawunga and yet there is no time to cook when you are following the enemy, since the force is mobile. Sometimes the rebels look better than us. They eat well because they operate within their people who give them food. For me I think there is an enemy within. He does not want the war to end, for that is how he makes his money,” the sergeant said.

The Tricks The Mbabazi committee unmasked several tricks that were used by different commanders to create non-existent soldiers on the payroll for personal gain.

Abuse of accounts The committee received evidence that there were balances in billions of shillings that accumulate on the salary accounts of the UPDF or the below line account kept in Bank of Uganda. This money used to disappear without a trace. For example, there was Shs1.9 billion still on the salary account as remainder from payment of soldier’s salaries as of May 2003.

Lay-off of soldiers The Mubende Rehabilitation Centre (MRC), which was created in 1996 to give non-effective soldiers life skills before being laid off, was used to create and maintain ghosts, the committee found. Commanders who had prior knowledge that some soldiers on the payroll were not on the ground seized their pay right at general headquarters before it was dispatched to MRC, or connived with the headquarters to send non-existing soldiers (ghosts) to MRC, among other things.

Inflation of nominal rolls/payrolls/acquaintance rolls, paying previously discharged soldiers who re-appear on the subsequent months' payroll and sending away the non-effective soldiers on pass leave and sick leave and accessing their pay were some of the other tricks used by different commanders. The commanders would also add fictitious names or those of the dead on the payroll, would take away the money of the sick and admitted or simply refused to pay the beneficiaries even where they are present on the ground and a fictitious accountability is made showing that they were paid.

“The total number of non-effective soldiers discharged through MRC was overstated,” the report noted.

Auxiliary forces Members of the auxiliary forces would either be arbitrarily and haphazardly laid off or merely disappear resulting into creation of massive numbers of ghosts.

The numbers of KIA (killed in action) and MIA (missing in action) remained concealed. The committee found that during the Kisangani clashes between 1999 and 2000, a number of soldiers were killed or went missing in action. Those soldiers were never declared, and were kept on the strength of those units. And that their salaries continued to be remitted.

1990 desertion The committee found that poor handling of the massive desertion by officers and men of the UPDF to the Rwanda Patriotic Army in 1990 provided, and continues to provide, room for creation of ghosts.

Decentralised top-ups The system of decentralised top-ups was abused. Lt. Col. Dura Mawa Muhindo, the 507 Brigade commander, said that the money was indeed ‘eaten’ through this arrangement.

Phenomenon of NYAs The committee found that the phenomenon of NYAs (Not Yet Approved - new soldiers yet to get service numbers) was a way through which ghosts were perpetuated in units by commanders. Commanders who had NYAs on their payable strength were reluctant to have them documented for they would easily fire or harass them to grab their pay.

Double reflection Ghosts were created and/or maintained through double reflection – this is where a soldier who has been transferred is reflected in both the sending and the receiving unit.

Shared numbers This is where one service number is shared between a serving soldier and ghosts. A printout from the Directorate of Records indicated 5,130 cases of shared numbers.

Interchange of names The committee found that interchange of names was extensively used as a tactic of creating and maintaining ghosts on the payroll. This is done through alteration of one of the names, especially the first name.

“Yes sir. Samples of Bn acquittance rolls of ASTU and 507 Bde revealed the following: Sierra BN of ASTU in Moroto had 43 Ongoms, 28 Owillis with second name variations, and 24 Owinys with first name variations. 507 Brigade Headquarters, had 20 Kules and 29 Balukus also with other name variations,” said Col. Fred Tolit, then assistant chief of staff in a transcript of his testimony to the committee.

The Mbabazi committee established that such names were used to account for ghost money with falsified signatures/thumb prints.

Correction Operation Iron Fist was launched in March 2002, not in 2001 as we reported yesterday. We regret the error.

Report II[edit]

February 24, 2009 Kiruhura fails to meet required UPDF recruits Alfred Tumushabe

Mbarara

Kiruhura District has failed to raise the number of youth to fill its quota in the ongoing countrywide UPDF recruitment exercise, Daily Monitor has learnt. The recruitment team leader for zone F (south western), Lt. Col. Francis Takirwa, said a total of 29 youth were expected to be recruited from the district.

“UPDF hoped to register 692 youth, 676 recruits into the general training wing and 16 cadet officers from 15 districts in the zone,” Lt. Col. Takwira said. At Kakyeka recruitment centre for Mbarara, Kiruhura and Isingiro districts, a total of 110 recruits was expected, but only 93 of the hundreds who turned up, qualified.

While 48 were targeted from Mbarara, 43 from Isingiro and 29 from Kiruhura; 50 were recruited from Mbarara, 31 from Isingiro and only 12 qualified from Kiruhura. “The turn up from Kiruhura was very big, but most of applicants had no qualifications and some were above the required age,” the second Division Publicist, Capt. Robert Kamara, said after the exercise last week.

Cadet officers must possess a minimum qualification of UACE or its equivalent while recruits must possess a minimum qualification of ‘O’ level certificate. Capt. Kamara said Isingiro had the same problem of lack of qualifications.

Defence vs. Defense...[edit]

Is the spelling of Defence correct, given the context of the article? -TodWulff 13:57, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

What is the minimum military age?[edit]

The article seems to suggest it is either 13, 15, or 18. Which? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 60.226.67.84 (talk) 13:37, 7 March 2012 (UTC)