The 37th UPDF Tarehe Sita Anniversary and 1st East African Community (EAC) Armed Forces Week celebrations have been launched at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs General Headquarters, Mbuya hill, in Kampala.
The momentous occasion was officiated by Uganda’s 2nd Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs Rt Hon Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Defence in Charge of General Duties, Hon Col (Rtd) Charles Okello Engola and Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi.
Hon Kivejinja noted that UPDF is on the right track of regional integration evidenced by its acceptance to host the 1st ever EAC Armed Forces Week that will be conducted in Bukedi sub region.
He urged members of the EAC Partner States to identify, maintain and consolidate what their ancestors adored, and probably even move it to the next level.
“People should be fed with proper knowledge so that they are able to affirm themselves with knowledge that they are on the right track of representative democracy, patriotism, pan-Africanism and socio-economic transformation,” he said, adding that management of society must be based on the right ideology and must be shared.
“We need to be firm on ideology especially in the UPDF so as to consolidate and maintain the stability of our country and the region,” Hon Kivenjija emphasized.
The EAC Minister further explained that achieving full integration by all EAC Partner States will create a big market for EAC products and unite the people, our porous borders notwithstanding.
The Minister of State for Defence in Charge of General Duties, Hon Col Charles Okello Engola and also Member of Parliament for Oyam North, urged UPDF personnel to guide all fraternal EAC Partner States in organizing the event so as to have smooth celebrations.
Hon Engola implored all participants to expand on the achievements so far attained by the EAC integration process.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi, applauded UPDF upon hosting the 1st EAC Armed Forces Week and noted that the people are key in these celebrations since UPDF is pro-people army.
“We should resonate with the people as we share our journey for the development of our country,” said Gen Muhoozi.
This will be a unique celebration because it will incorporate our brothers from the armed forces of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Sudan, who will participate alongside the UPDF in the various civil military activities.
UPDF and other EAC Armed Forces will engage in minor engineering public works and other medical activities such as HIV testing and counselling, blood donations and minor surgeries at various health centres as part of this year’s 2018 Tarehe Sita Civil-Military activities in the districts of Pallisa, Kibuku, Tororo, Budaka, Busia and Butaleja as the host.
Also, in attendance were the Minister of State for Health, Hon Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Works, Gen Katumba Wamala, Minister of East African community, Hon. Julius Maganda, Minister of State for Local Government, Hon Jennifer Namuyangu, Defence Attaches/Advisors from Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Members of Parliament from Bukedi Sub region and those on the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee, as well as Senior and Junior Officers from the UPDF.