Uganda Peoples’ Defense Force (UPDF) has been praised 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 Deputy Speaker Jacob 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.
The nine presidents are; Edward Mutesa II, Milton Obote, General Idi Amin, Yusuf Lule, Godfrey Binaisa, Paulo Muwanga (1921–1991), Milton Obote II, General Bazilio Olara-Okello, General Tito Okello and Yoweri Museveni.
President Sir Edward Luwangula Walugembe Muteesa II ruled from 09 Oct 1963 – 02 Mar 1966 when he was deposed by Milton Obote in May 1966 after an armed attack upon the King’s palace.
President Apollo Milton Obote first ruled from 15 Apr 1966 – 25 Jan 1971 when he was overthrown by Idi Amin in a military coup.
President Idi Amin Dada (Field Marshall) ruled from 25 Jan 1971 – 11 Apr 1979 when he was deposed by Tanzanians and various exile groups.
President Yusuf Kironde Lule ruled from 13 Apr 1979 – 20 Jun 1979 when the National Consultative Commission (NCC) staged a coup, removing Lule and replacing him with Godfrey Binaisa.
President Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa ruled from 20 Jun 1979 – 12 May 1980. He lost the Presidency in May 1980 after 11 months as President.
President Apollo Milton Obote 11 took over from 17 Dec 1980 – 27 Jul 1985. He was overthrown by the Okello brothers Brigadier Bazilio Okello and Gen Tito Okello Lutwa on July 27th 1985.
President Tito Okello Lutwa (General) ruled from 29 Jul 1985 – 26 Jan 1986. On January 26, Tito Okello was overthrown by NRA soldiers under Gen Yoweri Museveni.
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.
The main events, to be held on the 6th of February, will have President Yoweri Museveni as Chief Guest.