China Donates To UPDF in Somalia
The People’s Republic of China has today donated equipment worth over U Shs 11.3 billion to the Uganda People’s Defence Forces in a ceremony at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence headquarters at Mbuya, Kampala.
The equipment was handed over by the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda H. E. Mr. Zhao Yali and received by the Minister of State for Defence, Gen Jeje Odongo.
They included three 50 ton cranes, twelve troop carriers, four water wagons of 10,000 Liter capacity each, and sixteen water trailers.
Chief of Defence Forces of the UPDF, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, said the equipments will be deployed in support of peace support operations.
“The equipments will be a big boost in helping our efforts in Somalia. The rate of wear and tear of equipment in Somalia is very high and so regular replenishments like this are very necessary,” Gen Katumba said.
The Ambassador welcomed the idea of deploying the equipment in Somalia and applauded Uganda’s contribution to regional peace and stability. “We are all currently faced with terrorism attacks. In the fight against terrorism, we need international cooperation” Amb. Zhao said.
He added that both Uganda and China have a common mission is regional peace efforts. “UPDF plays a big role in safeguarding tranquility and safety for the benefit of Uganda and entire region. Without stability and safety, development is out of perspective,” he said, “Of all the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, we have the biggest numbers of peace keepers in several areas including Sudan. In that regard we have the same mission and need to work with each other,” he added.
Amb. Zhao also hailed President Museveni’s Government decision to involve the UPDF in Agricultural transformation in Uganda. “..Mzee keeps saying UPDF should help in wealth creation. I am also sure the UPDF can do much in transforming the country. You therefore have a very important role to play,” he said, adding that Uganda still has much unutilized land that can be put to use to transform the Country.
Today’s donation is from Ministry of National Defence of the People’s Republic of China and it is the biggest donation made to UPDF over the past four years. He urged the end users to make good use of the equipment for capacity building of the UPDF.
Gen Jeje Odongo said in the past 10 years, the People’s Republic of China has donated equipment worth U Shs 43.5billion which has greatly contributed to the professionalization drive of the UPDF, that has seen it make significant progress in transforming the Country.
Hon Jeje added that other than equipments, China also trains a number of officers and men of the UPDF. “Thank you for the recently announced 50 slots for various levels of training to the UPDF this year alone, which covers all costs, including allowances for the trainees,” Gen Jeje commended the Amb. H. E. Mr. Zhao Yali’s Government.
He said that this follows the signing of an agreement on military gratis between the Peoples’ Republic of China and the Republic of Uganda on 31st December 2013, and a subsequent protocol on 25th July 2014.
By Joshua Mutale.