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PRESS STATEMENT FOR THE 56TH INDEPENDENT ANNIVERSARY

Fellow countrymen and women, on 9th October 2018, Ugandans from all walks of life will take off time to remind themselves about the event and day when Uganda joined the family of nations that enjoy full sovereignty and exercise self-determination.

On this day in 1962, Uganda witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack and henceforth replaced with the Uganda Flag amidst ululation and joy across the country. Expectations were high as young and old looked forward to reaping the fruits of independence.

Independence is the possession of sovereignty by a nation, a country or even an individual to enable the beneficiaries to decide or shape, through democratic means, the fate of that particular nation, country or state. Independence enables the benefiting nations to build self-confidence, realize their full potential and lead a life of dignity and fulfillment, a life free from exploitation and or any social and political oppression.
Background
The origin of the struggle for Uganda’s Independence was the founding of Uganda’s first political party, Uganda National Congress which was started in 1952. This party was founded by Ignatius Kangave Musaazi, Abubakar Kakyama Mayanja, Stefano Abwangoto (Bugisu), Ben Okwerede (Teso), Yekosofati Engur (Lango), and S.B. Katembo (Tooro). Ignatius Kangave Musaazi was the founding president general, and Mayanja was the founding secretary general. The others were chairpersons in their respective regions. A host of other parties were later to be formed and were all pushing to one direction which was self-determination.  Indeed, in 1962 Uganda was granted independence.
Ugandans welcomed the dawn of nationhood with ecstatic pride. Expectations were high as young and old looked forward to reaping the fruits of independence. Indeed, for the last 56 years Ugandans have reaped big through self-determination.  

The period that followed Uganda’s independence in 1962 was marked by tribal and religious sectarianism, bigotry, and chauvinism, state abuse of power and human rights, state and economic collapse, intermittent conflicts including civil wars.
Subsequently, after close to 20 years of political malaise, a combination of measures was taken to engender national security, peace and stability, democracy as well as socio-economic transformation and no doubt Uganda is now on the right track. Many achievements have been registered but we must increase our collective vigilance in the fight against those vices that derail our road to full modernization. Vices like corruption in public offices, poor service delivery, all forms of sectarianism and tribalism for us to be able to promptly and efficiently achieve Vision 2040 of a “Transformed and Prosperous Uganda.”
Infrastructure:
We now have over 5200 Kms of tarmac roads. Several oil roads are being constructed, at the same time an airport at Kabale in the Albertine region is under construction to prepare the country to harness oil by 2020.  This will be supplemented by a USD 3.5bn Pipeline from Hoima to Tanga to ease export of the elude oil.  Expansion works at Entebbe International Airport to enable it handle the increased traffic are as well ongoing. Preparations for the commencement of works on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) are also in advanced stages.  When complete, the SGR will considerably lower the cost of Transport to and from Mombasa.
Much of this work has been done by the Uganda Government money. For instance, 58% of the funding for roads, has been done or is being done by the Government of Uganda money. This is one of the key achievements where both the ardent critics as well as the passionate supporters of the NRM may agree that this is an unprecedented feat in the history of Uganda!  It is therefore, cause for all of us to stand tall in celebration of such an infrastructural achievement.   

In terms of electricity coverage, all the District headquarters, except for Kaabong and Buvuma, have now been connected to the national grid. The generation capacity of Uganda will further increase, once Isimba, Karuma and many of the mini-hydro power stations are completed.

These developments are in line with the NDP II 2015/16 – 2019/20, which identifies frontloading of investment in infrastructure and power generation, among others, as a key factor to strengthen Uganda’s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and inclusive growth.  Indeed, the Centre for International Development at Harvard, in the USA, recently predicted that Uganda will be one of the fastest growing economies in the world by 2025 . For this rosy future, nothing should stop us from celebrating with pride, our 56th Independence anniversary.  

Agriculture:

During the FY 2017/18, the agriculture sector grew at 3.2%.  Among the four leading sectors namely: Industry (which grew at 6.2% per annum), services (at 7.3%) and ICT (at 7.9%); Agriculture registered the least growth in Uganda.  The slow growth in agriculture continues to be a cause of concern.  Fortunately, the Government has laid out the necessary boosters for agriculture.  These will be the use of irrigation and fertilizers by more Ugandan farmers than at present . Increased usage of irrigation, will put Ugandans in a better position to produce more food for both domestic and export needs.  

Innovations:

Achievements by Ugandan Scientists are also a major cause for us to stand tall and celebrate!  Making use of the Government Innovation Fund, a number of these Scientists have patents for industrial formulae.  

Regional Integration and markets:

The NRM, always looking ahead, has already negotiated and arranged with our brother and sister Africans to ensure the market integration of Africa (EAC, COMESA, and Africa Continental Free Trade Area).  These negotiations are aimed at providing capacity for the absorption of the greater supply of goods and services produced by the Ugandans wishing to take advantage of the huge collective market of Africa.  Besides the huge continental market Government has also negotiated for third party access to the USA, EU, Chinese, Japanese and Indian markets, in varying degrees.  The NRM has addressed and will continue addressing all the factors that are necessary to open the gates to Ugandans engaged in wealth and jobs creation. Let everybody, then, play his or her own part.

As we celebrate this auspicious day, we must increase our collective vigilance in the fight against those vices that derail our road to full modernization. Through combating vices like: corruption in public offices, land fragmentation, environmental degradation, poor service delivery, all forms of sectarianism and tribalism, we will be saying thank you to those who paid the ultimate price to win our independence.  At the same time, we will be placing a mark on our history by bequeathing to our posterity a “Transformed and Prosperous Uganda” as envisioned in the Vision 2040.

Our theme this year is: “STANDING TALL TO CELEBRATE 56 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE”. The venue is Kasasa Grounds on the Kyotera Mutukula highway, Kasasa sub county, Kyotera District. 100 people will receive medals on this day bestowed upon by President Yoweri Museveni who will be accompanied with many distinguished guests.

Wishing you Happy Celebrations.

For God and My Country.