By Nasser Kasozi
The commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni calls for Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), to work towards guaranteeing peace and stability maintain, uphold the discipline and the good relationship that the Army has cultivated with wananchi and fight any element that is trying to contaminate the army and the society under the guise of disrupting peace.
Presiding over the 39th Tarehe Sita celebrations in Butalangu grounds Nakaseke District in the Great Luweero Triangle that comprises the districts of Nakaseke, Nakasongola and Luweero on 6th February 2020, President Museveni awarded medals to a number of outstanding UPDF Officers and civilians in appreciation of their services to for serving the country well. The awards were in the categories of; the Luweero Triangle, Golden Jubilee and the Nalubaale awards. Keynote awardee of the ceremony was First Lady, Janet Kataha who received the Nalubaale civilian award medal on behalf of the late John Wycliff Kazora who played a vital role for ensuring the NRA receives enough supplies from the western allies.
“The 39th Tarehe Sita was celebrated under the theme for this year is a good one because it is about consolidating. This is a historical one since it aims at maintaining and deepening the discipline as well as serving the people.I am glad we have finally succeeded in building the Army from the people and for the people. However, as usual, when you put milk in the container and you leave it there, flies can contaminate it if it is not well covered. If a fly falls in the milk, you cannot take it. Therefore, UPDF must guard against contamination because all good things can be contaminated,” the President cautioned.
Running under the theme ‘Consolidating the UPDF Strategic Partnership with the People to Guard Gains of Liberation,’ today’s occasion sought to celebrate the sacrifices made by the men and women who took their country at heart and fought for its liberation.
According to the organizers, Greater Luweero Triangle was chosen to host the celebrations because of the historical significance that the area bears towards the NRM struggle such as being the source of food for NRA fighters, the centre for staging operations and providing political intelligence for the NRA operations in all the districts of the Greater Luweero Triangle.
This main celebration follows a range of civil-military activities carried out by the UPDF that started from January 18th 2020 such as cleaning urban centres, engineering works and medical camps, aimed at fostering harmony and cooperation between the forces and civilians.
President Museveni informed the people that turned up at Butalangu in general and UPDF in particular that ‘Tarehe Sita’ is not only celebrating 39 years because the creation of the Army began during the era of Amin’s regime in 1971 to 1979.
“We are now celebrating 39 years of the new effort to get the country out of bad leadership. We are not new people here. We have been here for millions of years. We had traditional leaders like the kings who were cruel and were defeated by the colonialists. With independence, there was an attempt to make the former colonial Army into the new national Army but it did not work and that is how the attempt to build the national Army began. We have since been able to guarantee peace for a long time,” said.
President Museveni noted that while the Army had brought about peace, it must now seek to be an agent of social transformation that would entail encouraging the civilians to participate in commercial agriculture as opposed to subsistence farming.
“I am appealing to you today, the biggest enemy we have are people who have big land but carry out subsistence farming. The campaign must be about food security and to remove people out of poverty. We must also add factories that can help process the agricultural products and then add services, ICT,” Museveni said.
Commenting on the role of the UPDF in effectively carrying out government projects like Operation Wealth Creation, President Museveni noted that it was in Luweero Triangle where the first Army Officers were deployed to supply the veterans with agriculture inputs.
Museveni reiterated that this was because the National Advisory and Agricultural Services (NAADS) Officers had failed to connect with the civilians.
Museveni further noted with gratitude that he is happy to see UPDF transforming from a small army to a peoples professional productive Force that is involved in not only keeping peace and regional stability but also engaged in the production of goods and services.
Museveni said UPDF engagement in operation wealth creation has tremendously impacted the lives of many Ugandans and now optimistic that the army will be a driving force not only for stability but also a vehicle for national prosperity, through engaging in innovative economic development activities.
Museveni said the government has succeeded in building the army from people but also for the people and it will maintain that pro people character and this must be a driver for guaranteeing national stability and prosperity of our people. He said.
“As we celebrate peace brought by UPDF we must change the society by providing professional services that promotes economic development and prosperity”. Museveni said.