President Yoweri Museveni has said that the 5-year liberation war that brought the National Resistance Movement and ushered in peace in Uganda, thumb was very costly especially in human life and therefore, advice Ugandans need to safeguard the peace jealously to ensure that Uganda never returns to a state of turmoil.
The President was presiding over celebrations marking the National Heroes’ Day held Friday afternoon in Zirobwe Town Council in Bamunanika County, pills Luweero district.
He told thousands of people who turned up for the occasion that 9th June was declared Heroes’ Day because on this particular day in 1981, Government soldiers attacked villages in Luweero and killed in cold blood and without trial, 9 freedom fighters led by one Lutamaguzi because they refused to reveal the whereabouts of the National Resistance Army (NRA) military camps. He said that the country lost over 300,000 people, most of whom non-combatants, killed because they were perceived collaborators of NRA. He said that this was a very heavy price of freedom that Ugandans should never pay again and appealed to them to safeguard the peace in the country.
“We buried 70,000 skulls in 33 mass graves but the total number of people that lost their lives was 300,000. This freedom was expensive in human terms and we shouldn’t play with it,” he said.
He saluted the people of Luweero Triangle and the entire Uganda for standing together as one and liberating their country, adding “let us celebrate our heroes and martyrs who lost their lives some of whom were killed even if they were not involved in the struggle.”
The President tasked the National Resistance Movement Secretariat, led by the Secretary General Ms. Kasule Lumumba to document and circulate the NRM history, ideals and literature right from the liberation struggle through the different development phases for the benefit of the future generations.
Mr. Museveni used the occasion to send a strong warning to all those that have continued to unlawfully evict Ugandans, especially the Bibanja holders, from their land that government will deal with them decisively because both the constitution and the land law of 1998 are clear on the matter.
“It is criminal and unlawful to evict a kibanja holder because they are lawful occupants and protected by the law. The government must even determine the Busulu that you levy. You can’t force a kibanja holder to own a tittle,” he clarified.
“I have appointed a Commission of Inquiry, led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, to dig out all land related matters and we shall act decisively on those taking the law in their hands because that’s what we fought for,” he said.
Turning to issues of development, President Museveni said that although the government has played most of its chores by making better transport, health, education, water related matters and will continue to improve them, the country is mainly faced with the two problems of household poverty and unemployment.
He said that to tackle household poverty, government launched Operation Wealth Creation Programme with instructions to all Officers overseeing the operation to promote commercial farming making the parish as a starting point. He said that for the Luweero area, people are advised to engage in the growing of coffee, fruits, zero grazing, poultry and piggery and in some areas, fish farming.
He informed wananchi that commercial agriculture serves two-pronged purposes for it eliminates poverty and also creates employment through employing people in commercial farms and in value addition activities in factories. He said that the government has played a leading role in the struggle for creating jobs because it has been attracting investors in the country. He added that in the Luweero Triangle, a number of industrial parks are being developed mainly in the districts of Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola for investors to start industries and create employment opportunities especially for the unemployed youth.
Earlier, President Museveni led senior government officials in paying tribute to fallen freedom fighters of Mwanga Unit, in Kiwanguzi who were killed by government army during the liberation struggle. 470 remains were buried in a mass grave at Zirobwe Sub-County headquarters after NRM took over power.
The Chairman of the Luweero Triangle Veterans Association, Hajji Badru Sedunga, hailed the fighters of Mwanga Unit, Kiwanguzi who paid the heaviest price in terms of life adding that their participation in the liberation struggle ushered into the country peace. He also commended the three commanders of the Unit, Major Kakooza Mutale, late Major Jero Bwende and late. Lt. Colonel Stanley Muhangi for the leadership of the Unit during the liberation struggle.
President Museveni awarded medals to 363 people – civilians, Army, Police and Prisons Officers – in recognition of their contributions to national development. He also launched a magazine for the Operation Wealth Creation campaign.