The army will soon start equipping children of retired soldiers with skills in agriculture, business management and, financial literacy.
The assurance by the state minister for Veteran Affairs, Bright Rwamirama, followed a petition by 200 veterans under their umbrella body, Busoga Veterans’ Association, in Jinja last week.
The veterans presented their petition to the minster during a call he made to them courtesy. The one-page petition also urged the army to consider prioritizing their children during recruitment for new soldiers.
However, Rwamirama was non-committal on the second request, emphasizing that the army was more supportive of education for veterans’ children.
“Veterans are free to bring their children to any UPDF college around so as to acquire different skills on starting up small -scale businesses and financial literacy,” Rwamirama said.
Rwamirama, a retired officer encouraged the veterans' children to use the acquired skills to improve their lives and their families' welfare.
“All children that will be beneficiaries of this skilling programme should use the acquired knowledge in sustaining the lives of their elderly parents,” Rwamirama said.
Pushed further on the subject of new recruits, Rwamirama urged recruitment officers to consider all veterans' children, especially those who qualify to join the army.
“I’m also a veteran who served and later on retired, but it breaks me to hear how the qualified children of former soldiers are ignored by recruiting officers during the exercise,” Rwamirama said.
During a question-and-answer session, the chairperson of the Busoga veterans’ association, retired Sgt Edward Kuremu, said they had been denied access to Operation Wealth Creation support.
In response, the minister pledged to push for an amendment of the UPDF Act to cater for the needs of veterans.
“I’m pushing for the UPDF and Veterans’ Bill 2017 that will cater for the needs of veterans, more so in terms of compensation, rehabilitation of causalities, who are forced to retire and also mandatory skilling of veterans,” Rwamirama said.