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UPDF to recruit over 9,600 officers in mass recruitment drive

Kampala, (UG):- The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) has announced a mass recruitment exercise in which it expects to recruit a total of 9,627 officers into Infantry forces across the country.

“The UPDF will conduct a general recruitment exercise of 9,627 regular forces into infantry forces. The actual recruitment exercise will commence on July 1, 2024, and [will] end on July 14, 2024,” Brig Gen Kulayigye, the UPDF Spokesperson Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye said on Monday while addressing the media at the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs headquarters in Mbuya, Kampala.

Gen Kulayigye said the applicants will have to be between 18 years and 22 years old and must have attained their Uganda Certificate of Education between 2020 and 2023 with a minimum of pass in Mathematics and English in their S.4 Results.

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The application forms, available on the UPDF website at will have to be downloaded by applicants, filled out and handed over to the Resident District Commissioners of the region they reside in.

According to Kulayigye, the applicants will also have to be with their original national identity cards and must get recommendations from their Local Council I, II, and III leaders, Gombolola Internal Security Organisation and District Internal Security Organisation officers.

The military has been recruiting soldiers for the regular forces, whose employment is “permanent and pensionable”, for more than three years. The UPDF has been recruiting Local Defence Forces personnel, who are largely temporary, due to a shortage of funds.  

In the new arrangement, once the applicants have filled out their application to the resident district commissioners (RDCs), the RDCs will hand them over to the UPDF teams. 

After assessing the documents of the applicants, the UPDF will select the best and then send back the shortlist to the RDCs, who will publish the successful candidates on their notice boards across the country. 

Brig Gen Kulayigye said successful applicants will be the ones to appear for interviews at different centres between July 1 and July 14. After the interviews, the successful candidates will be contacted to report for training.

The recruitment will be done on a quota system and each district or region will get numbers according to its population based on the Uganda Bureau of Statistics figures.  This means districts with a small population will get fewer candidates.

Unlike in the previous recruitment, the Kampala Metropolitan Area that covers Kampala City and Wakiso District will get special attention. For instance, successful applicants from each division of Kampala City will be interviewed on specific days at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.

Candidates from the constituencies of Busiro North, Busiro South, Nansana, Makindye Ssabagabo and Kira Municipality in Wakiso District will be given the same rating as districts. 

Brig Gen Kulayigye said the new measures are intended to curb corruption in the recruitment process.

The recruitment is likely to attract a large number of applicants given the recent recommendations by the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs that the salaries of low-rank soldiers should be increased next financial year.

If the salary enhancement is done, a soldier at the rank of a private will earn a salary of Shs828,426 from Shs485,279 every month. A corporal will earn more than Shs1m. The salary of a soldier at the rank of a private would be higher than the salary the government pays many graduates in public service.

However, this will lead to an increase in the army’s wage bill to more than Shs1 trillion in the next financial year, which will also exert pressure on the taxpayers at a time when the economy is struggling after donors cut aid.

Asked why the army is recruiting now when the country is peaceful and stable, Brig Gen Kulayigye said preparations for war are done during peacetime. 

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