Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Good meals, fancy phones, clean uniforms…The new face of UPDF serving under AMISOM

                                          UPDF soldier having breakfast in the mess
By Vision Reporter
It is seven years since Uganda sent 7,000 troops to Somalia under the African Union Peacekeeping mission (AMISOM). And for many soldiers, their lives will never be the same again.
After two days in Somalia, my worry for our soldiers was not about the possibility that they would lose their lives to the Al Shabaab terrorists. Rather, the possibility that our soldiers would return home too obese.
Our soldiers  have good meals – a lot better than their counterparts back here. Breakfast includes milk, juice, bread, sausages, eggs and juice, margarine and honey.
There is also a variety of flavors for your breakfast – tea leaves, coffee, or chocolate.

That is what soldiers enjoy for breakfast. Photo by Carol Natukunda
Lunch and supper mainly includes posho (good quality) rice, chicken and beef and sometimes fish, beans and greens and mayonnaise.
There is also dessert - apples, yoghurt, and oranges. In fact during one meeting with their Commander Brig. Dick Olum one morning, one soldier said he had a complaint.
“How come I ate only five apples this week?” he asked. At another time, one of the chefs asked visiting Ugandan journalists to carry as much yoghurt as they could. “The soldiers are tired of it” he said.
Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda says soldiers are still required to work out to watch their weight.
“The people who are stationed at the exact battle points might not put on weight because of the nature of the work. Those who are stationed at our units and checking points we encourage them to work out as much as possible,” Ankunda noted.
The mess (dining room) has a TV screen where they watch the international news channels as they enjoy their meal.
There is also a refrigerator stuffed with fruits, juice and water.

Courtesy photo: Major Renee Mwesigwa

Young ‘corporate’ women
On my first day in Mogadishu, I was shocked to see a feisty young woman, all groomed and dressed up in military uniform. 
I was thinking she is just a secretary for the UPDF in Mogadishu.
She looked like any of those corporate women you see around town.   But that was until I saw her juniors saluting her.
I later learnt that her name is Maj. Renee Mwesigwa. She was among the women that President Yoweri Museveni gave medals for their outstanding work during this year’s Women’s day celebrations. 
She is a wife and a mother. Like Mwesigwa, the UPDF, now boasts of having so many women soldiers at the frontline. They look young, stylish and cool in their military gears.
All professions
The army has nearly every expert in them.  There are lawyers, accountants, nurses, teachers, and IT professionals among others.
They have caterers to cook, they have doctors among themselves name it. Captain Betty Akello Otekat, the head of nurses under the AMISOM says she was an enrolled nurse under the ministry of health.
She decided to join the army and she has never looked back. She says serving in a risk zone has been rewarding. “After training, I have ably juggled family, school and my career.
I completed a degree in nursing and I am now doing my masters. Some people think being in the army is the end of your life. But for me, it has just the beginning,” Akello says, adding that the remuneration is also good especially if one has to serve in the risky area.
“A nurse working here earns over 800 dollars on average,” she reveals.  Another UPDF soldier confided he was a lawyer. “Since I joined the army, my life has not been the same.
I can defend security at the same time; I am able to give legal advice to my people or colleagues within the army.” 

The soldiers have two types of uniforms. Photo by Carol Natukunda 
Sleek phones and flat screens
If there is UPDF soldier in Somalia who doesn’t own a sleek phone, it is just that they simply don’t want to buy one. Or at least one who has not bought a flat TV screen for their families back home.
It might just be that they are rigid. The UPDF soldiers are earning in dollars. They receive part of their salary as allowance, while the rest is deposited on their bank accounts.

But still the allowances they get are enough for them to afford modern TV sets in Somalia, which they send back home when they can.
There was a time a UPDF soldier had to dress up in tattered uniform. Not anymore. According to Ankunda, each soldier now receives two pairs of uniforms every year. 
One set of the uniform has smaller prints/sheds compared to the usual uniform we have known for years.
The gumboots are no longer the ordinary plastic ones which burn the feet under hot sun. They are leather boots.
They also have t-shirts backpacks, water bottles among other necessities.

Forget their mean faces. It is only part of their job. A UPDF soldier in Somalia does not shake hands with civilians or even get too close unless you are in danger and they are coming to your rescue.
You just might be the enemy they are looking for. This has earned them respect and admiration from the local Somalis so much that the Somalis now understand some Luganda.

Commander: Brig. Dick Olum
Although sleeping is a luxury in a soldier’s life, once you are off duty, you are assured of a goodnight’s sleep. 
The bathrooms have a shower and flush toilets. Around some of the designated military bases, you can access internet, although it is slow.
The rooms are improvised metallic containers. But they are painted and spotlessly clean.
Each room has four mattresses with bed sheets and a wardrobe. 
There is also AC so you don’t even feel the heat even in this desert.
Electricity is mainly solar. Although the water from the sea is salty, the UPDF is trying to have it treated.....thanks to Vision Reporter

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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

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