Kampala, Uganda — The Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, has praised the Uganda Peoples' Defense Force (UPDF) for its role in national and regional stability.
At an event to launch this year's Tarehe sita celebration activities at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs headquarters in Mbuya, Oulanyah said UPDF's transformation is inspirational.
"From a rag tag force, the NRA [National Resistance Army] transformed to the UPDF; a professional force which is an envy of the world," said Oulanyah.
This year's celebrations, announced Defence Minister, Adolf Mwesige, will be in Kitgum Municipality, with a series of activities where the UPDF will undertake Corporate Social Responsibility.
Tarehe sita, a Swahili phrase, means the 6th of February and is used to commemorate the first NRA attacks on Kabamba military barracks in 1981.
The day marks the formation of the then rebel outfit, which has since morphed into the national army.
Oulanyah said the military has salvaged the country from political brink.
"There was a time when this country was not like this, and let us not pretend... in 1986; we had seven coups and nine presidents but 33 years later, we have had one president and seven elections," he said.
MP Beatrice Anywar (IND, Kitgum Municipality) said it is northern Uganda that has a lot to celebrate.
"The peace you are talking about, we are the ones who are enjoying it," said Anywar, in reference to the wars that ravaged the northern part of the country for decades.
Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen David Muhoozi, said the army has distinguished itself from its predecessors.
"We have had armies in the past with lofty names; we had the Uganda Army, whose conduct was everything else except Uganda; the Uganda National Liberation Army, which conducted no liberation," said Gen Muhoozi.
Minister Mwesige said the UPDF's performance in the region is remarkable, and that his office is dealing with overflowing requests to have the army participate in international missions.
"The East African Standby Force is one of the best standby forces in Africa, and the UPDF's role there is well documented... we have a lot of demands and requests from the United Nations to be part of peace missions in the world," he said.
The main events, to be held on the 6th of February, will have President Yoweri Museveni as Chief Guest.