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55Th Independence Day Celebrations Statement

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER FOR THE PRESIDENCY ON THE 55TH INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS FOR THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA, 4TH OCTOBER 2017 AT THE UGANDA MEDIA CENTRE - KAMPALA

Fellow Ugandans
Members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen

I welcome you all to this Press Briefing for the 55th Independence Anniversary of our Country. On Monday 9th October 2017, Ugandans will celebrate their 55th Independence Day or what is commonly referred to as self rule that was attained from the former colonial masters the British.

To give you a snapshot, Britain a nation renowned in arts and arms, had extended its dominion over considerable parts of every quarter of the globe. However, its grip on most colonies of the world came crumbling after the Second World War (1939-45) that not only weakened them economically but also empowered most African elites to vigorously and viciously demand for self-rule and the rest is history.

Our freedom reminds us of the sacrifice of our freedom fighters and their devotion to the cause of freedom through struggle and sacrifice. On this occasion, we remember those people who sacrificed most of their youthful years to force our colonial masters to give us self-rule.

The theme for this year’s independence is, “Uganda’s freedom must be anchored in the spirit of hard work, resilience and commitment”. As per government policy and commitment to regional balance, the deservedly celebrations will this year be held in Bushenyi District at the Municipal Grounds and the Guest Of Honour will be H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. We also expect His Highness Aga Khan to be our special guest who will receive a special honour because of the immense economic contributions he has made to our country and indeed the whole world. Other dignitaries both local and international are expected to attend.

On this day, I call upon all Ugandans from all walks of life to take off time to remind ourselves about the events and day when our Nation joined the family of nations that enjoyed full sovereignty and exercise self-determination.

Ugandans welcomed the dawn of nationhood with excitement and pride. Expectations were high as young and old looked forward to reaping the fruits.

Ugandans must be reminded that right from independence our leaders who inherited the mantle of leadership most of whom were in their 30s and mid 20s did not grasp the historic mission of building a truly democratic, peaceful and united country. Instead, ego took over; they attempted to outshine each other using crude, sectarian and unconstitutional methods. This ushered in state inspired violence and a vicious cycle of instability. Some milestones must be made clear to all as we commemorate 55 years.

Uganda which was then rightly called the “The Pearl of Africa” degenerated into political chaos that resulted into coup d’états and later on a string of civil wars, insurgencies and counter insurgencies.

However, every dark-cloud has a silver lining. From the doldrums of despair and disintegration, a breed of determined revolutionaries led by now General Yoweri Museveni emerged and took on the historic mission to transform Uganda into a truly democratic, free, peaceful, united and prosperous country. It must be recalled that 1981-6 marked a real renaissance among people that had almost lost hope. Since then, Uganda embarked on an irreversible political progressive trajectory.

This is when ordinary Ugandans were awakened and became masters of their destiny, first by realizing that power indeed belongs to them and secondly taking the bold decision of taking their lives and shedding blood to liberate themselves. This really calls for celebration of our independence, well aware that the country is firmly on the road to real emancipation and prosperity for all.

For once, the real benchmarks of a free and sovereign country are consciously being observed. In Uganda today, freedoms are no longer debatable, all Ugandans including children and hitherto trampled upon women, elderly among others are aware of their rights and freedoms; security of person and property is guaranteed; the cycle of violence that had become the country’s second name is in the past and Uganda is a powerhouse for Pan-Africanism as seen by our effective participation in regional and continental politics and peace.

The economy is now anchored on a very firm foundation, with all obstructive and ill-conceived policies erased. The new momentum is towards rapid transformation. With freedom and a liberalized environment, even the sky can never be the limit, especially for private initiatives and competitive foreign investment. Success in the social sector is for instance evidenced in the success of UPE, USE, and rapidly expanding tertiary education. The Prosperity for All revolution is for real.

On this day, we need to remember all the people who contributed to the building of our country. Political leaders, civil servants and ordinary men and women have in their daily lives contributed to the building of our country. Mounting pressure to the colonial administration, organizing through workers’ unions, militant agitations and other forms of demand for independence not until 9th October 1962 that the masters had to yield and grant the independence.
The list of these young elites that mounted pressure on the colonial masters that led to the eventual granting of independence is endless and forever we shall be indebted to each and every one in equal measure for their sacrifices.

At this time, we need to remind ourselves and fellow citizens out there about the threats to the beauty and natural heritage of our country. It is important for us to guide the young generation to guard our natural environment jealously. Encourage one another to have the spirit of hard work, resilience and commitment to our nation. We should effectively implement and emphasize strategies to deepen and widen regional integration and national coherence if we are to continue reaping the fruits of our independence.

As a country, we have since put our acts together. The road to full industrialization is on. Roads, electricity, railway lines, irrigation schemes, piped water, ICT, telephones etc have boasted the size of our economy.

Therefore, as we gather to celebrate this great day in Bushenyi it is imperative that all citizens of Uganda reflect on the nature of commitment of each and every individual can offer in transforming our Motherland to a Middle Income status by 2020.