Uganda and Israel on Tuesday 20 September signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on defence amid growing criticism in the country over Israel’s hacking software. The signing ceremony took place in the capital Kampala.
Uganda was represented by Rosette Byengoma, while Israel by Asaf Dvir. “On behalf of the Israel Ministry of Defense (ISMOD), we would like to transfer our appreciation to the government of Uganda, UPDF, for this process and also for the continued relationship in the future,” Dvir said. “Israel has helped us to strengthen our different branches of the military, more especially in the Air force and Air Defense,” Byengoma said.
Uganda and Israel have spotty diplomatic relations, however, state visits by both country’s head of states over the years have improved relations for both nations. In 1966, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol made a state visit to Uganda, while Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has visited Israel twice since coming to power in 1986; in 2003 and in 2011. In February 2020, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Uganda.
Uganda operates a number of Israeli systems including Cardom heavy mortar, and ATMOS 2000 self-propelled howitzer. The Ugandan People Defence Force is fielding the Israeli-made ELBIT SOLTAM SPEAR 120mm mortar system mounted on Plasan SandCat tactical 4×4 vehicle.
Uganda has also improved its relations with other countries in the Middle East like Egypt. In March last year, Uganda entered a defence and training agreement with Cairo, when Egypt’s Ambassador to Uganda H.E Ashraf Swelam accompanied by the Egyptian military attaché to Uganda Brigadier General Osama Selim, met with the Ugandian Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Hon. Adolf Mwesige and Chief of Staff of the UPDF Ground Forces Major General Leopold Eric Kyanda on Thursday 10 March.
Both parties discussed joint training programs, enhancing cooperation in the defense and security fields as well as combating terrorism.
The two sides emphasised on continued strengthening of the strong bond between the two countries and military and Defence support in busness through NEC, training, combating terrorism and medicine.