The Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has saluted the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) for committing itself to selflessly serve the nation and the entire African continent.
“UPDF has constantly defended us from external enemies. It has not only been an asset to Uganda but to the African people as well. Somalia is secure today because of UPDF’s contribution,” Rugunda said.
He said UPDF was formed to provide a logical solution to the challenges the country was facing and tasked that the bond between UPDF and the people be consolidated and strengthened.
“The emergency of UPDF in Uganda was of great benefit to Ugandans. People ran to UPDF for protection and defence since they saw it rightly as their own army,” the Prime Minister said.
The Premier made the remarks at the launch of the 38th Regional Tarehe Sita Army Week activities in Kitgum on Thursday, organized ahead of the 38th Tarehe Sita anniversary celebrations which will be held on 6th February in the District.
The Tarehe Sita Day is celebrated annually on 6 February in Uganda to mark the birth of the National Resistance Army which later on transformed into Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces.
During the Regional Tarehe Sita Army Week, UPDF will engage in Corporate Social Responsibility activities aimed at giving back to the community. This year’s regional activities will be based in the Acholi sub region with focus on the areas of construction for selected schools and health centers, provision of medical services through health camps and sports.
Rugunda commended UPDF for organizing the Tarehe Sita activities in different areas noting that it is an acknowledgement gesture of the role played by the people in supporting the army and enhancing peace and security in the country.
He also applauded the people of Acholi sub- region for building confidence and trust in UPDF especially during the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgence.
“We couldn’t have had a better place to celebrate this year’s Tarehe Sita than Kitgum. Kitgum has benefited from the work and service of UPDF in dealing with negative forces. Thank you people of Acholi for exhibiting confidence and trust in UPDF, since you didn’t run to exile but sought after UPDF for protection,” the Prime Minister said.
Dr. Rugunda also thanked President Museveni, the founder of NRA for his correct analysis, vision and leadership in the formation and growth of UPDF.
The Minister of State for Veteran Affairs, Bright Rwamirama said it was important to celebrate Tarehe Sita day and its related activities because it marks the country’s journey for peace, unity and transformation.
He added that it is the day when not only gallant women and men in uniforms are celebrated but also the civilians for their enormous support they rendered to the army till the end of the struggle.
“We always remember and acknowledge the military people during the struggle to bring and restore peace in the country. We however, can’t undermine the contribution of the people. Their support, love and logistics among others made it worthwhile,” Rwamirama said, adding that it is the reason UPDF hosts Tarehe Sita in different areas to show gratitude and provide social services that people need.
The Minister also said the regional Tarehe Sita army week activities offers an opportunity for the military to interact with civilians through the different corporate social responsibility events organized.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. David Muhoozi said UPDF is working with the political leaders to ensure that the CSR activities provided by the Army during the week are beneficial to the community.
Regarding the Apaa land conflict, Muhoozi said a battalion is yet to be deployed in the area with the intent of maintaining the status quo until the conflict is settled by government.
The Woman Member of Parliament for Kitgum District, Beatrice Anywar thanked UPDF for choosing to host the Tarehe Sita celebrations in her constituency and for committing itself to serve the people of Uganda.
‘Gone are the days when citizens used to run away from people in uniform, now when we see them, we dance with them,” Anywar said.
She urged the community to work with UPDF to identify those engaging in law-breaking activities in the district for security purposes, adding that such criminals tarnish the image and reputation of government.
Anywar pledged to work with the Acholi community to sustain the peace prevailing in the area.
The launch was also attended by the Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Eng. Hilary Onek, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Okello Oryem, political leaders, religious leaders, government officials and UPDF staff among others.
BY DOREEN NASASIRA
Friday, February 01, 2019