Kampala — Uganda is greatly indebted to Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and FRELIMO leader Samora Machel for their support to the country's liberation struggle from the early 70s, President Yoweri Museveni has said.
"This logistical support, training and ideological grounding is what laid a firm foundation for the development of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF)," said Museveni as the country marked the Tarehe Sita celebrations in Butaleja District.
Museveni said Ugandans should never forget the solidarity of the people of Tanzania and Mozambique, adding that "This strong force (UPDF) would not be in place if we did not have their support.
Tarehe Sita (February 6) Day is marked to commemorate the day in 1980 that the National Resistance Army attacked Kabamba barracks, marking the start of the bush war that ended with takover of government in 1986.
"The Kabamba attack was not the first attempt to liberate Uganda. We had tried in the 1970s with the help of Nyerere and Machel," said Museveni.
Museveni said Ugandans should know they have peace and nobody can disrupt it. "We defended the peace of Uganda when we were much weaker, there is nobody who can interfere with our peace today. "
The Butaleja celebration were held under the theme "Re-affirming the contribution of armed forces towards regional integration for strategic security, development and prosperity". The celebrations were also graced by representatives of other armies of the EAC countries.
The president saluted the East African Community for finding it fitting to work together as a regional force to defend and protect the region. He said this is the only way we can guarantee the region's strategic security and safety, independence and sovereignty.
"The African continent was colonised because it was not united. It is therefore important that we work to unite the continent in all aspects. In Rwanda last year, African leaders passed a resolution to create a Continental Free Trade Area and that is the way to go. "
Tarmacking Tororo, Nagongera to Butaleja road
The President thanked the people of Butaleja and the wider Bukedi for supporting and voting massively for the National Resistance Movement. "This has energized the struggle and makes each of you a freedom fighter," he said.
On development, he revealed that the government has plans to tarmarck the road from Tororo, Nagongera to Butaleja as well as the road from Nabumali through Kachonga to Butaleja and Namutumba.
"The public, however, should differentiate between development and wealth. Even if the government develops all infrastructure but the population does not utilise it to make wealth, progress will not happen," Museveni said.