Ugandan Opposition will officially not participate in the Heroes Day celebrations, despite acknowledging invitation from the government.
The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Wafula Oguttu, says they see no value in attending the celebrations which lack a national character and just perpetuate the NRM/NRA civil war issues.
“We have received invitation but we shall not attend because it is just not useful. How do you have heroes from struggles of Ugandans against Ugandans? Unless someone, for example, died trying to save others, then he/she can qualify to be a hero,” Mr Wafula said.
Mr Ofwono Opondo, the executive director Uganda Media Centre, said government has extended their hand and it is up to the Opposition to act responsibly.
“There is no compulsory attendance and the effect of the Opposition absence will have no effect on the credibility of the celebrations. We are used to an unproductive Opposition,” he said.
Mr Opondo said there will be no consequence on the celebrations because whether the Opposition is invited or not, they always have something to complain about.
Mr Okello Lucima, the Uganda Peoples Congress spokesperson, said they are not aware of any Heroes Day celebrations and wonders which heroes the government is commemorating.
“It is time we stopped celebrating days when we massacred and brutally suppressed a section of our society. The only national day for me to celebrate politically is Uhuru (Independence Day),” he said.
This year’s celebrations are scheduled to take place at Bukalagi Catholic Parish grounds, Kikandwa Sub-county in Mityana District under the theme “Celebrating the lives of our national heroes through dedicated service to our nation”.
President Museveni is expected to lay a wreath at a mass grave near the celebrations grounds before addressing the celebrants.
Heroes’ act passed
In 2001, an act was passed in the Parliament of Uganda which recognised June 9 as Heroes’ Day. The day is celebrated in memory of those who sacrificed their lives in order to restore peace and security to the country and to honour national heroes.