Every year on June 9, Uganda commemorates Heroes day, where the country pays tribute to people who exemplified and defended the highest values of patriotism and sacrifice for the wellbeing of the country and its citizens.
This year’s celebrations will be held at Kasanje Town Council in Wakiso District under the theme; “Celebrating the Courageous Heroes that brought the peace and prosperity we are enjoying”
Heroes day comes with mixed reactions as there is still a huge debate on who deserves to be rewarded and who’s not.
Those opposing the criteria of choosing people that are honoured on this day argue that the NRM government uses this day to reward those that helped President Yoweri Museveni to capture power in 1986 instead of honouring heroes from all parts of the country who died during Civil Wars between 1962 and 1986.
On Wednesday, The Minister for Presidency Hon. Esther Mbayo said that the idea behind such a national gathering is to celebrate, preserve, protect and propagate the precious inheritance in the name of liberty our Heroes / Heroines left us.
She said that Ugandans should reflect deeply on the sacrifices these gallant sons and daughters of Uganda made and that let each Ugandan get committed by celebrating the courageous Heroes who brought the peace and prosperity we’re are enjoying.
“Besides, let these celebrations also rejuvenate our collective commitment as a country in consolidating the values laid down by our Heroes and the achievements registered; while at the same time, focusing our resolve to bravely face the new challenges into the future as we work to complete the NRM Government five year term and look ahead to the next term 2021 – 2026,” Esther Mbayo noted.
The Nile Post understands that one hundred different individuals who exhibited heroism in different capacities were confirmed to receive medals at this year’s Heroes Day celebrations and these will be awarded by President Museveni.
Many others who claim to have contributed in the NRM bush war have come out to express their disappointment on how the government has not considered them for a medal 33 years later despite their efforts in the struggle.
But Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo said that it’s not just about those fought but also other heroic values like proven integrity, patriotism and sacrifice, acts of bravery, setting a good example, truthfulness, and extraordinary love for others that qualifies one to get a medal.
Why Kasanje Town Council
Basing on facts related to the arms struggle, 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.
Prominent fighters of the UFM/FEDEMU include Maj. Gen. Kasirye Gwanga, late George Nkwanga, Brig Adda Hussein (rtd), Brig. Mark Kodili (rtd) Col. Kalyesubula (rtd), Capt. Kiwanuka, Maj. Rwamiti Nyago, Capt. Kamya Nkima, Capt. Paul Kavuma, Maj. Nsubuga, Lt. Nansera Lubega among others.
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.
In Mpigi District, hundreds of lives were lost to the whims of these 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.
Between 1980 and 1985, Kasanje was represented in Parliament by Hon. Dr. Paulo Kawanga Ssemogerere, President-General of the Democratic Party. 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.