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PRESS STATEMENT FOR THE CELEBRATIONS MARKING THE 29TH HEROES DAY CELEBRATIONS ON 9TH JUNE 2018.

1. Introduction
 
Fellow Ugandans and members of the Press, Uganda will on Saturday 9th June, 2018 hold National celebrations to mark the 29th Heroes’ Day Anniversary. This important Day, provides us an opportunity to collectively remember our heroes and heroines who have sacrificed their lives for this Country.   
 
Heroes’ Day therefore, is an occasion for all of us to re-assure those gallant sons and daughters of Uganda; that their labours, sweat, sacrifices and extraordinary efforts, will remain a cherished memory.  Looking back at their efforts, today, we are able to reflect upon the spirited journey this country has made over the last three decades to realize meaningful peace and dignity of all Ugandans. 
 
2. Background
 
On 1st June 1989 Cabinet received and discussed the proposal to H.E. the President by the people of Kikandwa in Luwero District, that the 9th June be declared a Heroes’ Day.  
 
During the discussions, it was agreed that it was appropriate for Uganda to set up a National Heroes’ Day in recognition of Ugandans who had sacrificed their lives in the struggle to achieve national Independence, peace and democracy.
 
June 9th therefore, is a Day to conduct an honest self-assessment of our collective effort in living for the aspirations which our compatriots dearly cherished. It is also a time to celebrate the successes and achievements registered towards transforming our motherland into a modern and prosperous Nation.  
 
Theme
 
The theme for the 29th Heroes’ Day Anniversary celebrations is: “Remembering our Heroes who kept the faith and fought the fight; the duty to enrich their gains is ours”.  It provides an opportunity for all Ugandans to look back at the aspirations of our heroes; and commit ourselves to working harder to achieve the transformational goals set out in the Vision 2040.  In this way, we shall have enriched their gains and put our mark on posterity.  
 
A comprehensive synopsis reflecting upon the afore-mentioned theme is being prepared and shall be circulated to all Resident District Commissioners, LCVs and CAOs to guide their publicity programmes.
 
3. Venue
 
The choice of Birembo sub-county in Kakumiro District, rests on the circumstances surrounding the third attack on Kabaamba.  On 8th January 1985, the NRA crossed Hoima-Kakumiro road at a place called Nkoondo.  So huge was the NRA column that vehicles had to be stopped until the entire force had crossed.  The force then marched and camped at Kasaambya for the night, linking up with Gen. Salim Saleh at Birembo on the 9th January 1985.  It was at Birembo, that the NRA successfully repulsed the UNLA infantry backed by 107 mm rocket launchers.  The primary aim of the UNLA was to attack and retrieve from the NRA an assortment of weapons which the former had lost.  
 
Although the UNLA failed to recapture the weapons, three of the NRA’s fighters in the Lumumba battalion were killed and two others fatally wounded.  Unfortunately, the two, also later died.  It was also during the battle at Birembo that, Rwiija, one of the escorts of the Commander –in-Chief was also wounded.
 
The battle at Biremebo was one of the key milestones that finally weakened the UNLA forces, leading to the final defeat of the enemy.   It is for this reason, that Ugandans will on 9th June 2018 join the people of Birembo, Kakumiro District, to mark the 29th Heroes’ Day.        
 
4.  Preparatory Arrangements: 
 
Preparatory arrangements for the anniversary celebrations commenced with weekly meetings of the NOC which started on 3rd May 2018.  Joint meetings of the NOC and the Kakumiro District Organizing Committee (DOC) have also been held for purposes of proper coordination, mobilization of the masses and harmonization of the planned activities. 
 
4.1 Officiating at the National and District Celebrations
 
H.E. the President is expected to preside over the national celebrations at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Parish, Birembo Primary School Grounds, Birembo Sub-County, Kakumiro District. The respective Resident District Commissioners shall officiate at the District celebrations. 
 
4.2    District Celebrations
 
As usual, District celebrations shall be held throughout the Country to commemorate this significant Day at the venues selected by the District leadership and shall be held either on 9th June 2018 or on a date after the national celebrations.  This is because some of the district leaders will attend the national celebrations at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Parish Birembo Primary School Grounds.
 
5.  Publicity Programmes
 
The publicity programme for the celebrations have commenced and will be concluded by a two day mobilization drive around Kagadi-Kakumiro and the surrounding areas.
 
5.1 Thanksgiving Prayers
 
According to tradition, Thanksgiving Prayers shall be held throughout the country to commemorate this significant day. The communities are encouraged to attend these prayers in their respective places of worship on the designated dates:
 
Friday 1st June, 2018 - Prayers in all Mosques
Saturday 2nd June, 2018 - Prayers in all Seventh Day 
Adventist Churches 
Sunday 3rd June, 2018 - Prayers in all the other Churches 
 
5.2 State Visitors
 
At this occasion, the country will be honoured to host the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E Abiy Ahamed Ali.  The two heads of State will be joined by government officials and other dignitaries.
 
H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will award a special medal (The Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa – The Grand Master) to his guest H.E Abiy Ahamed Ali.  This is the Highest Order that is awarded Heads of State and government.
 
5.3 Security
 
Security Agencies have put in place the necessary security measures to secure the venue of the celebrations.  The Police shall be augmented with Specialized Units like the Fire Brigade, Anti-Terrorism Unit, Traffic Police as well as the Special Forces Command (SFC). Police will secure the entire route to Kakumiro and beyond.  The programme for the traffic flow shall be communicated to you and the general public in due course.   
 
5.4 Programme
 
The programme highlighting core activities of the Day shall be detailed in an Official Programme Booklet which shall be distributed to the dignitaries.
 
5.5 Protocol Detail
 
I once again wish to remind you that the programme of the Day is made with due regard to protocol. VIPs and other invited guests are expected to arrive within their designated time and be seated at least 30 minutes before H.E the President.  Guests arriving after the Principal has taken his seat will not be allowed into the Presidential/Main tent. The program is expected to commence at 8.00a.m
 
5.6 Investiture Ceremony
 
About 250 medals of different categories will be awarded to both living and dead who exhibited heroism while defending or addressing the interest of Uganda and Africa at large.
 
In this journey all Ugandans are called upon to make a contribution.  By doing our part, we will certainly enrich the gains of our heroes/heroines if we all put our energies together.
 
I wish all Ugandans Happy Celebrations.
 
 
For God and My Country.
 
 
 
 
Hon. Esther M. Mbayo
MINISTER FOR THE PRESIDENCY