By Edrine Benesa
The National Resistance Movement/Army ( NRM/ A) will Friday, January 26, celebrate 38 years since their record-breaking armed offensive against the Apollo Milton Obote II government that climaxed with the liberation of the country from the abyss of bad governance in 1986.
Running under the theme: “Building a Country we all cherish”, the Victory Day celebrations will be held in Jinja City at St. John SSS Wakitaka Play Grounds in Jinja Northern Division, Busoga Sub-Region.
The choice of the venue for this year’s celebration could have been more opportune with all eyes on the Busoga sub-region politically as a result of the upset by the opposition as a result of what many have always attributed to the negative propaganda techniques employed by political rivals to sway the tide in their favour.
Historically, Busoga had, until 2021, been in the best books of the ruling side under President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. In the process, many of the sons and daughters of the sub-region have enjoyed juicy positions in the NRM Government, notably; Rebecca Alitwaala Kadaga (20 years as Deputy Speaker and Speaker and now 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the East African Community, Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe (Former VP) Ali Kirunda Kivejinja (Internal Affairs, Presidency, Deputy Premier) Justine Kasule Lumumba (NRM Secretary General), Milly Babirye Babalanda (Presidency currently, Lukiah Isanga Nakadama (Third Deputy Prime Minister), among others.
No wonder, there had never been any election in which the opposition had won against a justifiably popular ruling side since 1996.
Addressing the press on the progress of the preparations for the day at Uganda Media Center on Monday, Presidency Minister Babalanda who is the official organiser of the event relived the old days, highlighting the tremendous transformation the economy of the country has been through, from 3.9 billion US dollars in 1986 to 49.4 billion US dollars in 2023.
“Electricity Generation expanded from 150 Mega Watts in 1986 to above 1,300 Mega Watts in 2023, Tarmac roads expanded from 1,000 kilometres in 1986 to over 7,000 kilometres in 2023 and Airports grew from 1 to 2 and airstrips from 5 to now 13, the water coverage in rural areas stands at 68% while in urban areas it is at 72% Whereas life expectancy extended from 43 years in 1986 to 63 years in 2023, while national referral hospitals are now 5 from 2; with regional referrals 17 and 5 specialized hospitals. Besides, the minister noted that there are now more than 163 district hospitals.
“The literacy rates reached 75%. The Universities expanded from 1 in 1986 to now 11. the technical colleges are 77; the secondary schools are 983 and the primary schools are 12,433 in number. In nearly all the sectors the NRM government has performed very well.”
The minister could have gone on and on, enumerating the achievements of her government only if time could allow. Misinformation, as President Museveni has always elaborated, greatly influenced voting patterns in the last general election, especially in Busoga and Buganda to favour the opposition. With remarkable strides in education where seed schools have been constructed in each of the eleven districts, Health Centre IVs, tarmac roads like the Bulanga to Busia through Nankoma, the Jinja Kamuli road, the Iganga-Kaliro, among others, the construction of the world-class source of the Nile bridge are just a few of the milestones for which the government deserves more discredit that is perhaps reported.
As the week draws towards its close, all eyes and eyes of all Ugandans will point towards Jinja where most certainly, speeches will be made by the different dignitaries about the far the country, and more speculative, Busoga has come from under this regime. Reference has to be made to the bad insecure days of the past regimes and names of people, both prominent and ordinary, whose lives today are just statistics of the many murders at the hands of those that reigned at the time.
The thriving opposition in the area should be told of how times weren’t as merry as they are now for those who stood against the governments of the day. That having views different from those in power was reason enough to win one a death condemnation. Names such as former Obote Minister, Shaban Nkuutu are a reference point.
Whereas understanding can not be compulsory, everyone must guide one another especially when they are headed in the direction of disaster. These last few days have exposed the nakedness of those we all think. This message has been talked about over and over and now should be a time to amplify it more, lest our people plead were not helped to demystify the poisonous propaganda.
Happy liberation day to all Ugandans, and another thank you to the plotters of these fruits of the sweat and blood of the fighters that made possible the liberation we are celebrating today.
The Writer is the Deputy RCC for Soroti East Division, Soroti City.
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