SOROTI- Tears of anguish rolled down on Wednesday at Soroti Sports Grounds in Soroti City as hundreds of youth who had turned up to be recruited into the Local Defence Personnel [LDP] under Uganda People’s Defence Force [UPDF] were sent back home after failing to meet the set minimum requirements.
The potential recruits drawn from the districts of Kalaki, Serere, Soroti, Kaberamaido and Soroti City lined up at several recruitment centres in the wee hours of the night with the hope of joining the LDP.
However, many of these had their hopes of joining the force dashed away on several grounds, including lack of away national identity cards.
The visibly resentful youth remained standing along the fence of the Soroti district local government offices, with the hope of being recalled but in vain.
Although the recruitment exercise always takes a few hours, this time, the UPDF recruiting team took almost all day scrutinizing the applicants and many were turned away at the first stages of the recruitment process.
Maj. Edward Birungi, the recruitment team spokesperson told theCooperator in an interview that some youth failed because of lack of the required academic qualifications.
“Many of the youths who turned up for this ongoing countrywide recruitment were found with forged documents although they have not handed them over to police, instead told them to go away,” he stated.
According to Birungi, some others came with documents belonging to their relatives and failed to defend them when asked.
He added some of the applicants were physically unfit to be recruited into the force while, others, he said, were disqualified on health grounds even after successfully going through the morning drills.
Without giving the number of slots for each district, Birungi told theCooperator that the slots are allotted based on the population size of the district.
However, some of the potential recruits who were dropped, claimed that they were disqualified because of minor issues.
Simon Okello from Serere district, one of the many who could not be taken said that he was disappointed by the recruitment team because they did not listen to him.
According to Okello, there was a slight error in his documents, which he was willing to explain but the recruitment team simply sent him away.
Moses Olemukan the chairperson LCV chairpersons in Teso and LCV chairperson Bukedea district who was monitoring how the recruitment exercise was being conducted, was pleased with the high number of the youth who had turned up to join the UPDF as LDP.
“On Tuesday, I was at Kumi recruitment centre which comprises the district of Ngora, Bukedea and Kumi and the number of young people who turned up for the ongoing recruitment exercises was overwhelming, Therefore I want to thank the residents for the big turn up, noting that the act demonstrates a sign of vying to serve in the defence and security sectors of Uganda,” said Olemukan.
He pointed out that he was not surprised to see hundreds of youth interested in joining the army because it is becoming one of the noble professions in this country.
The Bukedea district political head also called on the recruits who succeed to endure, be disciplined throughout the nine months of training.
The ongoing recruitment exercise for LDP, which began on June 18, 2022, according to the Defence spokesperson, Brig Gen.Flexi Kulayigye, ends on July 4, 2022, in several parts of the country.
He noted that they will also have special recruitment that will seek to have 100 medical personnel, 1000 drivers and mechanics as well as 600 in the airforce.
According to him, the recruitment for medical personnel is to be done at Kololo independence grounds, drives and mechanics will be recruited from Gadhafi barracks in Jinja while the air force personnel will also join at Kololo independence grounds.
According to Kulayigye, qualified persons must be Ugandans with valid national identity cards and between the age of 18 to 25 for the 8300 to be enlisted in the regular army whereas professionals should be between 18 and 30.
He further revealed that whereas regular recruits should have a minimum of S.4 or S.6 certificates with a bias in science subjects including mathematics, physics and chemistry, the professionals should be degree or diploma holders in medicine, engineering, chemistry, education or vocational certificates.
“Applicants must be in good health, medically fit and ready to undergo road run and checkups.”
The UPDF deputy spokesperson said the applicants must also be single with no children in a bid to avoid family distractions.
Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country- wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news