By Jolly Gwari
The Deputy Chief of defense forces (UPDF) Lt. Gen Wilson Mbadi over the weekend flagged off a team of 110 Uganda peoples defense forces sportsmen and women to Kenya to participate in the 12th edition of the East Africa Military games and cultural event.
The championship will run from August 12th-24th under the theme “One People one destiny” a total of six nations that form the east Africa community block include, Burundi, host Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda will be participating. The Uganda Contingent code-named “Mission Uganda” is composed of players Football, Netball, Volleyball, Basketball and Cross the country along with referees and Umpires.
Mission Uganda is under the overall leadership of Brig Francis Takirwa the UPDF Member of parliament while the Contingent Commander is Col John Mark Ssemanda who is also the UPDF Director of Sports.
In his remarks to the teams, Lt Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi expressed his optimism that mission Uganda will come back home with trophies as they have always done. He cautioned the teams to keep discipline while in Kenya and be good ambassadors. “You are our ambassadors and therefore the known UPDF discipline is expected of you, respect the culture and professional values of the host country in order to exhibit a good image of Uganda and the Institution of UPDF,” said Gen Mbadi.
He also said that winning trophies is secondary but what is primary is promoting and embracing brotherhood, widening and deepening the EAC integration and enhancing the EAC treaty on cooperation in defense. “You should deepen the EAC appreciation of the benefits of integration especially by our civilian counterparts through such events as well as strengthening interoperability with sister EAC Forces” he added.
Gen Mbadi emphasized on the promotion of sports as important in the lives of combatants since it does not only promote discipline but also enhances fitness, health, and wellness. Mission Uganda head Brig Francis Takirwa promised to bring back the contingent with success and keep watch over them to ensure compliance with the etiquette of the game. He called on the team to remain united but make friends through a healthy interaction.
UPDF sports contingent came third in the same Games and Culture events held in Burundi in 2017. They scooped a number of medals which included Silver in football and netball, Bronze in volleyball and came second in cross country. Kenya took the first position while Tanzania was third.