Influence Peddling Cited in Gulu UPDF Recruitment

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In short
Col. Jeff Kupe Mukasa, the head of the recruitment team in Gulu, says most applicants had god fathers pushing for their recruitment. He says the team had to disregard the pressure to achieve its target of 52 recruits from Gulu, Omoro, Nwoya and Amuru districts.

The army recruitment in Gulu district has been marred by influence peddling from parents, relatives and friends.

Col. Jeff Kupe Mukasa, the head of the recruitment team in Gulu, says most applicants had "god fathers''  pushing for their recruitment.

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Some of the influence peddlers were prominent National Resistance Movement --NRM party cadres in Gulu district. 

Col. Mukasa says the team had to disregard the pressure to achieve its target of 52 recruits from Gulu, Omoro, Nwoya and Amuru districts. 

Of the recruits, 22 were from Gulu, 13 from Amuru while Omoro and Nwoya fronted nine and eight respectively. Col. Mukasa says many of the recruits presented with high blood sugar after the five-kilometre road run and drills. 

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No female recruits turned up for the exercise conducted at Pece War Memorial Stadium on Sunday. Several others were turned away for showing up late and lacking the requisite qualifications. 

2nd Lieutenant Feni Amongin Chebet, the spokesperson of the team said the successful recruits would be transported straightaway for training.

Among them is John Okema who earlier served in Home Guards, an auxiliary force formed at the height of the Lord's Resistance Army conflict in northern Uganda. He says he wanted to join the military after years of unemployment.

Okema told Uganda Radio Network that he envies colleagues with whom he served in Home Guards after successfully serving in the peace keeping mission in Somalia. 

Since 2007, Uganda has maintained a 6,000-strong peace keeping force in Somalia under the African Union Mission to Somalia --Amisom.

Unlike in previous recruitment, Sunday's exercise has been unique as only a single recruit was diagnosed with Hepatitis B, an inflammation of the liver. 

According to guidelines, the exercise targeted only holders of ordinary and advanced level certificates of education obtained in 2014 and 2015 calendar years. 
Today the recruitment teams will be in Lango and West Nile areas.

 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.