Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba has praised the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and the government of Uganda for the sacrifice they offered to ensure peace and security in the country.
Nabakooba made the remarks on January 28 at St Gonzaga Primary School playground in Kagoma village, Buwenge sub-county in Jinja District during the launch of the 43rd birth of the army commonly known as Tarehe Sita and the Defence Forces Week.
“We hail UPDF for remaining steadfast in maintaining this character. It is gratifying to know that this pro-people principle has enabled UPDF to also become a regional stabilising force,” Nabakooba told the army officers.
The minister said the UPDF has stuck to the purpose of its fundamental role of preserving and defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uganda.
It also cooperates with civilian’s authority in emergency situations and in cases of natural disasters; fostering harmony and understanding between the Defence forces and civilians; and engaging in productive activities for the development of Uganda.
This year’s celebrations have been organized under the theme, “Celebrating the Peoples’ Struggle for Unity, Security and Peace for Socio-Economic Transformation.”
Nabakooba said the army officers working with wanainchi, defeated several groups of negative elements that were terrorising the northern part of Uganda including the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), West Nile Bank Front.
“This has enabled stability to prevail and you can now travel from Koboko to Kotido, Busia up to Kisoro doing business, in one day, without any physical or criminal disruption. As the President has noted, this is the first time in 500 years this has become possible,” Nabakooba said.
She added: “We wish to pay Special Gratitude to the revolutionaries and you, our defenders and strategic partners, the UPDF for the great contribution made by both of us during the years of the protracted struggle.”
Nabakooba also lauded President Yoweri Museveni, the Commander in Chief (C-I-C) of the UPDF for having chosen to reflect on a journey of fighting for freedom, spanning fifty years and beyond.
“We very well know that as a force, UPDF is nonpartisan, national in character, patriotic, professional, disciplined, productive and subordinate to the civilian authority as established under the constitution of Uganda.”
The function was also graced by Lt. Gen Charles Okidi, the Commander of the UPDF Air Forces, who represented Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, the Chief of Defence Forces.
Gen Okidi said the Tarehe Sita week is to curtail some radical groups that are trying to rear their heads in Busoga region. He noted that the UPDF officers are disciplined individuals who interact freely with the people and asked the public to run to them when they need help’
“The Ugandan army is the most disciplined army in Africa. The army has made Uganda to be recognised in all of Africa,” he said, urging parents to desist from allowing their children to be lured into joining terrorism activities.
For their commitment and hard work, Jinja District leaders want the UPDFs Engineers Brigade to take up the contract of completing the district headquarters that is currently under construction in Kagoma.
Loy Katali, the Jinja District Woman legislator said the previous contractors were very slow and they gave them a hard time to complete the first phase and they now want to write to the President to allow UPDF to take over.
The leaders asked the lands minister to convey their message of having the land in Busoga titled to the president to gain full ownership.
Hon Moses Walyomu Muwanika, the MP Kagoma West, said their locals cannot afford the money required to bring private surveyors on the ground to measure their land and have the land titled and asked the minister to intervene so that they are assisted through the government.
Nabakooba pledged to work with the land zonal office in Jinja City to have all land issues resolved and she is planning to send a team to teach people on the ground about the steps they should undertake to gain full ownership of their land.
About Tarehe Sita
Tarehe Sita is the time to reflect on what happened in the past when Uganda was grappling a range of unspeakable human rights abuses ranging from raping, looting, mass murder that caused massive dislocations and consequent impoverishment of the population.
A number of activities are going to be conducted in Busoga sub-region districts and one city in a way of the army giving back to the community. Some of the activities include building toilets for schools, health centres, conducting general cleaning, and health camps among others. The long week activities will end on February 6, in Bugweri District with a ceremony expected to be graced by President Yoweri Museveni.