The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and the Directorate of Doctrines has started constructing a Uganda National Military Museum at Katonga on the outskirts of Masaka city.
President Museveni, who commissioned the construction works yesterday (Tuesday), praised the army for the idea which he said was good for tourism and generating revenue for the forces.
“I want to thank the UPDF and the Directorate of Doctrines for finally seeing the obvious which is the history of NRA/NRM because it is unique and special. The Museum is a good idea and Katonga a better location for its business preposition,” said President Museveni shortly after laying a foundation stone for the construction of the as part of the activities to mark the 40th anniversary of Tarehesita.
The museum is seen as a tribute of the 1985-86 Katonga battles and other confrontations between the National Resistance Army (NRA) ﬁghters and the Tito Okello government forces.
Maj. Gen Pecos Kutesa in his book ‘Uganda’s Revolution, 1979-1986; How I saw it’ writes that in order to effectively control the area under NRA/NRM and in order to deny enemy reinforcements for the Mbarara and Masaka garrisons, they had to control all the access routes from Kampala to south-western Uganda.
“The Okello troops, with the help of former Uganda Army soldiers, made many attempts to cross that bridge. It offered us a good killing ground and a tantalising objective on the part of the enemy,” recalled Kutesa.
The heavy losses at Katonga on the part of government forces boosted the morale of the NRA, eventually leading to the fall of the UNLA government a few months later.
Meanwhile, the President Museveni later launched activities to mark the 40th Tarehe Sita anniversary at Rubanda Primary school grounds in Mpigi district.
This year celebrations will run under the theme; “Celebrating UPDF at 40; fruits of fulfilled partnership of maintaining and consolidating the people’s security, stability and prosperity”
The President revealed that most of the wars especially in Africa had somebody backing them like foreign backers, unlike the NRM which was supported and backed by the local people.
“Here, it is our people who backed us, so its good to capture the history of this struggle. Thank you for coming up to build this Museum,” the President Museveni said.
President Museveni said that if one follows the NRA/NRM line of caring for the people, they will not fail in leadership.
“Our line was and still is caring for the people and their needs, but now leaders have neglected the ordinary people and they are overtaxing them,” he said.
The President warned local leaders against overtaxing the ordinary people saying they should at least pay annual license but not monthly tax.
“Never take a thread or a even a needle from poor people without paying. That’s what made us succeed,” he said.
He said many Ugandans voluntarily pay taxes e.g. through buying beer for those who drink among other things.
President Museveni advised the UPDF to add portraits of the Late Muammar Ghadafi, Julius Nyerere and Samola Machelle at the site for their contribution during this struggle.
Responding to the local Chairperson’s concern of Rubanda Primary School not having ownership of the land the school is seating on, President Museveni directed that a land tittle in the names of the school should be processed.
The Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Adolf Mwesige said that Ugandans have all the reasons to celebrate with the UPDF for the 40 years of securing Uganda’s future and consolidating the total peace and stability in the country.
He commended the President for building the capacity of the UPDF for the last 40 years.
“Thank you for building the capacity of our force. This is a fundamental achievement,” said Minister Adolf Mwesige.
The Chief of Defense Forces Gen. David Muhoozi said that as the force celebrates Tarehe Sita, they also celebrate all those who contributed to the struggle.
He revealed that this year’s celebrations will take place in Greater Masaka.
The commander Directorate of Doctrines Lt. Gen. Pecos Kuteesa revealed that the construction of Uganda National Military Museum at Katonga will cost 110 billion and is projected to take 4 years.
“Katonga has many memories for me, the goal of the museum is to preserve and conserve the History of Uganda Military,” Lt. Gen. Pecos Kuteesa said.
Present at the Function were high ranking Military officers, Ministers and political leaders