The Uganda People’s Defence Forces will renovate houses and schools for locals in northern Uganda as part of the 38th Tarehe Sita celebrations set for next month.
Addressing journalists at the Ministry of Defence headquarters on Tuesday, the Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi said a number of activities that will last for a week will see UPDF personnel involved in both static and mobile activities.
The army will offer free dental and eye services, voluntary HIV/AIDS counselling and testing, safe male circumcision and fumigation services in selected areas within northern Uganda.
He also noted that UPDF Engineers will perform minor construction and rehabilitation works on a few selected schools, Out Patient Departments, Anti Retro-Viral Therapy clinics, among others adding that all is done as a sign of appreciation for the support rendered to the Ugandan army by locals from Northern Uganda for 38 years.
“The support to UPDF by the Acholi community in its bid to consolidate peace and security in Uganda explains the existence of our civil-military activities in Acholi sub-region,” said Gen Muhoozi.
“Therefore, our historic role in transforming Ugandan cannot be over emphasised without highlighting the contribution of the people throughout the protracted struggle.”
The Defence minister, Adolf Mwesige noted that the strategic guidance by President Museveni who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces has enabled UPDF to consolidate peace and security which has facilitated the transformation of Uganda.
“As a pro-people force, our strategic partnership with the civilians has made a huge contribution on the international globe, evidenced by UPDF component in AMISOM and East African Standby Force (EASF),” Mwesigye noted before commending other stakeholders who have enabled the army’s success.
The UPDF chief political commissar, Brig Henry Masiko said that the 38th Tarehe Sita celebrations in Acholi sub-region will mark the beginning of a new era of relationship with the people in the region.
He added that the civil-military activities that will be performed by both UPDF troops and civilians are a symbolic gesture stipulating the role played by the people in pacifying Uganda
“I thank the people of Acholi for their enduring support and choosing the side of peace,” Brig. Masiko noted.
The deputy speaker of parliament, Jacob Oulanyah asked Ugandans to help shape the direction for their country by avoiding divisions based on territory, tribe, religion, sex or geographical location.
“Let no mountains, rivers, lakes, or any other thing divide us because we are all united in blood. Divisions should not fault the foundations of our friendship since we know where we came from, where we are and where we ought to be,” Oulanyah said.
He advised Ugandans to use the past in shaping the future as a way of moving the country forward.
“Use the past as an instrument to build the nation and not to divide people. Remember that the many things we have achieved are worth celebrating.”
He observed that the existing peace in the country has facilitated the movement from bullets to ballots, from human wrong to human rights, from a rag-tag army to a professional army and that those formerly in exile are now in the diaspora as they increase the country’s GDP.
Oulanyah however, implored the UPDF to celebrate the transformation while keeping an eye on other challenges like youth unemployment, urban crime, corruption and poverty.
“As a people’s force, there is nothing wrong in Uganda that cannot be changed by the people. Together, our dream is to sustain the peace that has been ushered by the UPDF. If this dream is shared by all, then it will become reality and the process of transformation will be sustained.”
The 2019 Defence Forces Week to be held in the districts of Agago, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Lamwo, Nwoya, Omoro and Pader, will be celebrated under the theme: “UPDF and the People. Consolidating Peace for Sustainable Development and Prosperity.”
The annual and rotational defence forces week aims at recognising the birth of NRA/UPDF that fought to transform country’s history.