UPDF goes hands-on to learn from Kenya, South Africa

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The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) is actively connecting to other African defence forces by building relationships, sharing ideas and experiences, and addressing challenges.

In recent weeks delegations of military officers from the East African country have been in Kenya and South Africa.

In Kenya, where the UPDF officers were on a benchmarking exercise, they met that country’s Chief of Strategic Plans and Policy, Brigadier Richard Mwanzia, who is reported as saying the bilateral was “a major mark of confidence and appreciation of what we do within our mandate of enhancing peace, security and stability in Kenya and by extension, our region”.

His sentiments were echoed by UPDF Brigadier General James Kinalwa, Chief Personnel and Administration, who pointed to training Ugandan military personnel underwent in Kenya as enhancing their capacity, adopting best practices and fostering inter-operability.

“UPDF and KDF (Kenya Defence Forces) personnel have been in various theatres together including Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and many other peace support operations far and wide. Our coming to benchmark with Kenya is because we have a lot to learn from them even as we contend with identical security threats,” Kinalwa is reported as telling his Kenyan hosts.

Twenty-one Uganda National Defence College students are currently on a study tour of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) higher learning institutions. The Ugandan contingent will also take time to visit South African military training institutions, cultural/heritages site and unnamed South African defence industry manufacturers and suppliers. The aim of their visit, according to Aluwani Rasilingwane of SA Soldier magazine, is to “learn and obtain skills”.

Welcoming the Ugandan delegation on 11 March, SA Army Chief Director Human Resource Development, Major General Mongezi Kweta, said: “There is a lot we can learn from each other”.

The Commandant of Uganda National Defence College, Major General Okello, thanked the SA National Defence Force for coordinating the visit. He said their college is still developing and he believe that the skills and knowledge that SA National Defence Force has will make a great impact to their it.

“The first intake was in 2023, where we had 18 students and this year, we have 21 students, and we hoping we will learn a lot from SA National Defence Force,” he said.