The minister for Presidency, Esther Mbayo, has called upon Ugandans to reflect “deeply and seriously” on sacrifices made by courageous people who brought peace and prosperity that the country enjoys today.
While announcing celebrations for this year’s 30th Heroes’ Day at the Uganda Media Centre today, Mbayo said there is, certainly, still much to be done but also much more to cause a celebratory mood.
“We owe a great debt to the sons and daughters of this country and all the other heroes who fought for Uganda to be free. The tree of our liberty was watered by their blood. It is a debt we can neither repay, nor ever forget,” Mbayo said.
On Sunday June 9, Ugandans will gather at Kasanje town council in Wakiso to celebrate both living and departed heroes under the theme: “Celebrating the courageous heroes that brought the peace and prosperity we are enjoying.” Mbayo said over 100 people will be awarded medals by President Yoweri Museveni.
Last year, the 29th celebrations were held in Birembo, Kakumiro district. Mbayo, also Luuka district MP, said that the idea behind such a national gathering is to celebrate, preserve, protect and propagate the precious inheritance in the name of liberty heroes/heroines left us.
“What is critical about Kasanje and Mpigi areas is that they suffered brutal arrests and death of the citizens especially after the botched attack on the Lubiri barracks by the UFM forces in early 1982,” she said.
In Mpigi district, hundreds of lives were lost to the whims of state agents of the ruling Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) government as they “assisted” the army in hunting down anti-government rebels.
Mpigi of the time encompassed today’s districts of Mpigi, Wakiso, Butambala and Gomba. Basing on facts related to the arms strangle, she explained that Kasanje was a fighting corridor against the fascist regime of UPC in 1980s and was at first dominated by the Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM) led by the late Dr. Andrew Kayiira before they joined hands with another fighting group FEDEMU of the late George Nkwanga.
These two later merged with the NRA en-route to liberating Uganda in 1986. She cited prominent fighters of the UFM/FEDEMU such as Maj. Gen. Kasirye Gwanga, the late George Nkwanga, Brig Adda Hussein (rtd), Brig. Mark Kodili (Rtd) Col. Kalyesubula, a one Captain Kiwanuka, Maj. Rwamiti Nyago, Captain Kamya Nkima, Captain Paul Kavuma, Maj. Nsubuga and Lieutenant Nansera Lubega.
Between 1980 and 1985, Kasanje was represented in Parliament by former DP president, Dr Paulo Kawanga Ssemogerere. The Uganda Freedom Movement rebels and later the Federal Democratic Movement (FEDEMU) considered this predominantly DP district a natural haven for their activities.
In reaction, the UPC government apparently condemned Mpigi as a rebel territory and unleashed state forces without mercy. According to Mbayo, such patriotic countrymen and women ought to be remembered with pride because they “did not die in vain.”
She, however, reiterated that the spirit of heroism can only be meaningful if “we uplift our motherland Uganda into a modern stable industrialized country that will make every citizen happy and proud to live in.” She believes this can only be realized with sustainable impressive economic growth, entrenched democratic values and jealously maintain peace and stability in the country.