By Fred Kiva
All Chiefs of Defense Forces from the East African Community (EAC) member states have graced today’s Tarehe Sita and EAC Armed Forces Day celebrations in Butaleja District.
EAC member states include Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda.
Tarehe Sita, is a day that marks the birth of the National Resistance Army (NRA), which metamorphosed into the UPDF. On this day in 1981, 27 armed and a few unarmed patriots attacked Kabamba barracks, marking the start of the struggle by the Ugandans against the misrule that they had witnessed characterized by dictatorship, unconstitutional governance and state oppression and violation of human rights.
This year’s Tarehe Sita is being marked jointly with the East African Community Armed Forces Day, which is a collaboration of regional armed forces to serve civilians through civil military activities. EAC Armed Forces Day resonates with the decision of the EAC Defense Council last year to link the military cooperation with civilians as the region integrates.
The Joint celebrations are underway at Boma grounds in Butaleja district and Defense Deputy Spokesperson Lt Colonel Deo Akiiki says all is on course in Butaleja. The event also marks the climax of a week of civil military activities, carried out by armed forces from Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan together with the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
The preceding activities, among others included a medical camp, a blood donation drive and engineering works, throughout the Bukedi region districts of Butaleja, Kibuku, Palisa, Busia, Tororo and Budaka.
Lt Colonel Akiiki, has described the Tarehe Sita and EAC Armed Forces Week activities as successful, adding that the community turn up especially for the medical camp was overwhelming.
“Astronomical numbers of patients across Bukedi turned up today for free treatment. This has overwhelmed the supplies (drug supplies) beyond our expectations, but we are doing all possible to help,” Lt Colonel Akiiki said on Friday.
This year’s event is being held under the theme, “Reaffirming the contribution of the armed forces towards the integration for our strategic security, development and prosperity.”