Army Explains Choice of Apac for Tarehe Sita Event

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In short
General David Muhoozi, Chief of Defence Forces explained that the army decided in good faith to celebrate the Defence Week in Lango sub region in recognition of the efforts by the people Lango in their struggles that led Uganda to Independence.

The Ugandan army has defended its decision to take this year's national celebrations for Tarehe Sita to Lango sub region.

This was in response to attacks by opposition politicians in the sub region who scoffed at government for scheduling the national celebrations in Apac, the home town of former President Apollo Milton Obote.

Tarehe Sita is celebrated every February 6th as the sitting NRM government remembers the day in 1981 when the then rebels of the National Resistance Army (NRA) launched their maiden attack against the government of Milton Obote.

It was this attack, carried out by 27 armed men led by Yoweri Museveni, that kicked off what would come to be known as the Luweero Bush War between 1981 and January 1986.

Today's celebration officiated by President Museveni at Apac Boma Grounds, rubbed the opposition in the area the wrong way.

All the opposition Members of Parliament and key opposition figures in Lango sub region boycotted the event arguing that it is in bad taste for the NRM government to celebrate the day in the home of Obote, whose government they ousted.

But General David Muhoozi, Chief of Defence Forces explained that the army decided in good faith to celebrate the Defence Week in Lango sub region in recognition of the efforts by the people Lango in their struggles that led Uganda to Independence.

Muhoozi explained that the army also wanted to recognise the outstanding roles and price paid by the people of Lango during the pre-independence and post-independence era for democracy, peace and stability.

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Obote was a key figure in Uganda's struggle for self-rule, going on to become the first prime minister of the Independent Uganda on October 9, 1962. 

Charles Okello Engola aka Mac Odwogo, the state Minister for defence in charge of General Duties attacked some politicians who are against celebrating the day in Lango.

He branded them anti-Lango. He particularity pointed fingers at some NRM members who openly criticised government for bringing this celebration in Lango arguing that some of them are fighting their own war.

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Engola's reaction seems to have been in response to attacks from Felix Okot Ogong, Chairman Lango Parliamentary Group who is among those who have criticised government for taking the event to Lango.

Okot earlier told URN that this day reminds him of the many lives and properties that were destroyed in the region.

''I have severally stated that we as Lango can cooperate with NRM in all ways except celebrating Tarehe Sita because that is the day Museveni launched the war against our own Dr Milton Obote,"Okot argued.

President Museveni decided to play cool and never reacted to the attacks.

The theme for this year's celebration was ''The People and their Security Forces: Celebrating a patriotic Partnership that guarantees Security for National Development.''

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.