What you need to know:
- The retired General was speaking during the 42nd Tarehe Sita celebrations held at Kakyeka Stadium in Mbarara City on Monday.
President Museveni has warned the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) not to deviate from their original values that endeared them to Ugandans.
According to the President, the past national armies lost support of the citizens because of disregard for human rights through brutality.
“People were desperately fed up with the brutality and non-accountability of the old armies, the colonial army, Uganda Army and the other one UNLA, so UPDF must be very careful; you must never adopt the habits of these old armies,” he said.
He was speaking yesterday during celebrations to mark the 42nd Tarehe Sita anniversary at Kakyeka stadium in Mbarara City.
Mr Museveni, who is also the commander-in-chief of Defence Forces, said during and after the Bush War, Ugandans loved the UPDF because they were preaching patriotism rather than hatred.
“Brutality, corruption, if you do that, the people will hate you and that is what had happened; the people hated those armies,” he said.
Mr Museveni also said the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party in the 1980s did not respect democratic values and ran down the economy.
“UPC; that was the political party, which had grabbed power, blocking the democratic process of genuine and constructive debate that we warned them about many times but they never paid heed to,” he said.
He added: “The collapse of the economy, those who are old enough remember there were no consumer goods, no wealth production, there was what they were calling magendo (smuggling), Kibanda(foreign currency black market) and Kusamura (speculation).”
The President said his National Resistance Movement (NRM) government came with a clear ideology of patriotism and non-sectarian behaviour, which must be maintained.
“The correct ideology of the NRM comprised the four principles of patriotism, love Uganda do not concentrate on tribes and religious sectarianism, Uganda is more useful to us than the tribal groups or the religious sectarianism, love Africa (Pan Africanism) because we need Africa for prosperity for a wider market, social economic transformation; we must have modern Ugandans, we cannot have peasants producing other peasants; and democracy,” he said.
Mr Museveni said it’s the NRM ideology that built the UPDF.
“These were the four principles that we relied on but also a correct strategy for military struggle and tactics of the NRA/PRA. The correct principles of NRM united our people as never before, the Ugandans were united because we were telling them about loving Uganda, we were not telling them about tribalism and religious sectarianism, which were the problems in the past,” he said.
He added: “That is why the NRM always wins elections in the first round. Our constitution says if you do not get more than 50 percent, you must go for a re-run but we have never gone for a re-run, we always win in the first round why? Because the majority of the people are united around the principals of the NRM.
At the same function, President Museveni was awarded the Katonga Star Medal, the highest military decoration in the country.
Maj Gen George Igumba, the chancery to the Presidential Awards Committee, said Mr Museveni was given the ward for exhibiting heroism in the liberation struggle that has brought peace, security and social economic transformation of Uganda.
“This officer, Number 001 Gen Retired Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tubuhaburwa was born in 1944 and his heroism is unmeasurable as a nationalist, democratic, pan Africanism and statesman. He struggled for the liberation of this country through his school days in 1960s throughout 1970 when he formed Front for National Salvation (Fronasa),” he said.
He added: “President Museveni was engaged in other struggles towards peace and security of the country that included in 1979-80, forming the Uganda Patriotic movement as a platform for clean leadership, peace and among other values and also leading the NRA resistance struggle of between 1981 and 1986.”
President Museveni was also hailed for professionalising and modernising the UPDF, making it able to undertake regional and international peace and security missions.
The second highest award in the country, the Kabalega Star Medal, went to Gen Caleb Akandwanaho, alias Salim Saleh; Gen Ivan Koreta and Brig Gen Bosco Omure.
Gen Saleh was hailed for planning and commanding most of the battles of the Bush War and being involved in development programmes such as Operation Wealth Creation that are aimed at socio-economic transformation of Uganda.
There were 62 other people who were awarded medals in different categories such as Luwero triangle medal (28), the diamond medal, which went to 30 officers from police, army and prisons and the Damu medal, which was awarded to four officers.