Thousands of young men and women have today showed up at Kololo Grounds in Kampala for the Uganda People's Defence Forces - UPDF recruitment exercise.
With some accompanied by their parents, prospective recruits into the army walked into Kololo Independence Grounds carrying their academic papers and other documents in brown envelops. Reaching the recruitment grounds, they were immediately separated from their parents and guardians and directed to sit down for a briefing.
According to the UPDF spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire, the nationwide recruitment exercise that has kicked off today will run up to October 29 in 116 districts of Uganda.
The recruitment of professionals is strictly conducted at Kololo while other recruitment centres have been set up across the country for the regular personnel recruitment.
Some of the professionals that turned up at Kololo are doctors, engineers, accountants, nurses among others while those seeking to be recruited as regular soldiers have to produce the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE).
Karemire says that they are looking at recruiting 4,000 soldiers of whom 3,000 will be regular and 1,000 will be professionals to serve the different professional arms in the army.
The recruitment exercise seeks to address the human resource deficit arising out of the retirement of a similar number of personnel who will be leaving the forces over the next two years. Up to 1700 of these will be retiring in November this year.
Karemire described the turn up of recruits at Kololo as massive.
The in charge of the recruitment exercise at Kololo Airstrip, Col. James Nambale, noted that those seeking to be recruited as regular soldiers are supposed to be aged between 18 and 25 years while the professionals are supposed to be aged between 18 and 30 years.
The prospective professional recruits are required to have a minimum qualification of the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education - UACE obtained over the last three years. These should have a bias in science subjects.
The prospective recruits are further required to be citizens, present a medical examination report, national identity cards, local council recommendation letter, and original copies of their academic papers among others before being taken through the other physical and medical tests by the recruitment team.
The prospective recruits are also supposed to be single with no children as well as explained by Col. Nambale.
He warned against the presentation of forged academic papers saying that those found to have submitted forged papers are to be charged.
While addressing the prospective recruits that turned up at Kololo, Deborah Mbabazi, Kampala Resident City Commissioner (RCC) said that Kampala alone has 600 slots in the recruitment exercise with only 130 people to be recruited as regular personnel while the rest will be professionals.