The Japanese government has partnered with Uganda to provide engineering support to the UPDF as well as strengthening Uganda’s capacities in peace support operations.
This was announced on Friday at a news conference jointly addressed by Uganda’s Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Adolf Mwesige, the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Kazuaki Kameda and the UN Representative, in Kampala.
Ambassador Kameda said the support will come in form of training sessions for UPDF engineering personnel on the operation of Engineering equipment.
As such, at least 22 personnel from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force will be dispatched to Uganda, according to the Ambassador. These will lead the training session set to take place in Jinja between August 26 and November 18.
The other support, Kameda said, will go towards the Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Centre (URDCC) in a bid to boost Uganda’s capacity.
This cooperation is expected to create a robust Military Engineering Company (in the UPDF) that can be rapidly deployed anywhere on a UN mandated mission.
Uganda established the URDCC to focus on such training. The process was supported by United Nations – the establishment of engineering units by training deployable forces on the use of heavy equipment thus building capacity of individual countries.
The creation of the Centre came as an intervention following the numerous challenges encountered by Ugandan peacekeepers in the different missions where they were deployed.
These included limited capacity for example, to rapidly clear ground and establish camps, provide purified water, establish proper sanitation etc.
Commenting on the support by Japan, Uganda’s Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Adolf Mwesige said: “Uganda is delighted that the government of Japan is offering nonlethal support to the UN peacekeeping operations with third countries providing the platform to operate from”.
Mwesige said the partnership “will go a long way in strengthening our capacities to respond to situations that threaten peace and stability”.
“Our desire is now to maintain this strong partnership and also where possible, get equipment that can form a strong and robust Military Engineering Company that can be rapidly deployed anywhere on a UN mandated mission,” he said.
Over the years, Uganda, through the army (UPDF) has been involved in numerous peace support operations in Burundi, Ivory Coast, South Sudan and to a very large scale in Somalia since 2007 under the Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Minister Mwesige said this participation by Uganda even at the infant stage ofplaying Army, is a demonstration of Uganda’s total commitment to play its’ rightful role as a member of the United Nations.