The President and the Commander-in-Chief of UPDF,
The Ministers present here,
Chief of Defence Forces, the Army leaders present here,
The General officers who are retiring, or retired,
All the invited guests, leaders of UPDF of different capacities, rather levels.
Ladies and gentlemen, spouses too, this is a special day which the Lord has chosen. We thank the Lord for this day.
My children and grandchildren now, there is a nursery rhyme, I think they sing which goes like; this is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in him. This is the day, the Lord has made.
Mr. President Sir, and comrades, as you know, it wouldn’t be me standing here to represent this batch of officers. It would be our departed comrade, Gen Elly Tumwine who left this world.
By our hierarchy of the High Command, he came before me and General Salim Saleh. But like I wrote earlier in his memory, when I quoted Prophet Isaiah, who wrote: “My plans aren’t your plans nor are your ways my ways” Isaiah 55: 8-9.
But Gen Elly Tumwine lives on, through his revolutionary works and achievements at a personal level, in our country and beyond in the region. We salute you. May the Almighty God receive him and keep his family safe.
Your Excellency, I stand here in the name of these Generals who are retiring and I wish to pay tribute to you personally. Today I intend to speak as an army officer and a member of the high command, a member of the family of UPDF not as a politician so relax, relax.
I stand here your Excellency and commander-in-chief, to pay tribute to you personally as our war leader under command of UPDF in which we have all served in various capacities for several decades, 40, 50 years and so on. We thank you, we thank the Army leadership. We thank the people of Uganda. May the Lord bless you all.
As is normally the case many may wonder, the General Sejusa who has had run-ins in with the system and so on. How does he now represent these gallant officers? The answer is simple. It’s because he belongs to family and the family never breaks no matter the disagreements.
There are four types of family which I may maybe summarize, the human family, one of Adam and Eve and us, and the African family and the Uganda family and then the biological family under which all of us fall. The UPDF-NRA family falls under the Uganda family.
The essence of family as a unit is for the survival of a species or that subject or object. And for that family to survive, it must have the capacity to manage, and withstand the disagreements and contradictions within, no matter how fundamental they may be, or may appear to be.
Hence, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and partook of the fruit as you remember, which was quite a fundamental breach, they remained members of God’s family and the human race. He did not banish them to create another Adam and another Eve, or change them into goats, or snakes, or Buffaloes. Therefore, the capacity of a family to manage this contradiction, points, or shows which family has the resilience to survive, grow and develop or perish.
My presence here therefore shows that NRA UPDF leadership had the ideological depth and patriotic presence to manage these contradictions in this country, and then lay foundation for the management of the African Affairs. And I thank you Mr. President.
And just like the biological family which is founded on blood brotherhood, the revolutionary brotherhood which defines the NRA UPDF family is steeped deep in the shedding of blood, for fellow man, and woman that we all find ourselves to die for our country, binds us together forever. That’s the reason I’m here and representing.
Freedom fighting is not a simple, smooth enterprise where the lion may lie with the alarm and the Bible says it’s a terrain that can be bumpy, sunny, deadly, meandering and dangerous. That’s why the leaders who take on the role of fighting for the African people need ideological grounding to navigate this difficult terrain.
Mr. President, I thank you for the years we have been in these wars and nation building to see the strides which have been made. The African survival will depend on the leadership who acquire capacity to manage the difficult bottlenecks and contradictions facing our continent. Mr. President, these are our countries and the region. I’m proud to belong to NRA UPDF which has made incredible strides in this effort, though a lot remains to be done.
At this juncture I want to talk about the people.
Your Excellency, Dear Generals and Honorable Ministers. I want to take this opportunity on behalf of all of us. UPDF officers here, the Generals and those officers and who retired yesterday, the combatants of UPDF NRA to thank the people of Uganda, the people of Luwero, Nakasongola, Singo, Bulemeezi, Nakasongola, Bunyoro, Kasese, Tooro, Ankole, Kampala, even the greater North Your Excellency for the sacrifices, the bloodshed, the property lost the homelessness the families endured.
Each region has had a fair share of turmoil of contribution to what Uganda is today. We thank you. Uganda has passed through so much. So much blood has been spilled. And we have lost so much. May the Lord heal and reward all of you.
We all know there was a phase in our struggle when the civilian population were the vanguard, when they were our eyes, our ears, they were our protectors. They fed us. This phase, which we called the strategic defense of concealment phase, took a bigger part of 1981. These civilians settled us. They put us in their houses in their forests. They gathered intelligence. They carried out reconnaissance missions for us to acquire small arms and so on. If we did not have the population on our side, then there would be no NRA UPDF and certainly no NRM. Let us therefore thank our people who paid the ultimate price, like Lutamaguzi and those who sheltered us, and became our guides through the Luwero jungles.
Mr. President allow me when they told me late yesterday that I’ll be speaking so this morning I was joking about and I tried to remember some of our people who helped us, civilian contacts, and so on, I couldn’t remember all of them. But Mr. President allowed me to remember some of them.
They are many, in Singo we had Mzee Karuna, Mzee Kisitu, Hajji Twakiri of Kaburamuliro, Bomboca, Kyamuhangire, Kagyezi, I see Kagyezi here, Kagyezi was a civilian, Abdu Bahiti, Peter kelimu’s brothers in Nkokonjeru, In Bulemeezi we had Sempa, Mama Nansamba and his son Kyakuwa, Tofa in Katende, Senkayi, Kaddu, kakaya and his sons, he had two sons, Mama Richard, Kawuma, Kibirige, Kateregga in Bunyoro, Rwamukaaga and so on. We thank all of them, and pray that the Almighty God blesses them and sustain their families.
Now, Mr. President, I want to take this opportunity to thank the leadership of NRA UPDF. Your Excellency leaders served and provide the purpose for the struggle, the direction and motivation for the troops. But in war like we had in Luwero they make very critical conditions in the fog of war, what others have called high pressure situations with very consequential risks. NRA was a unique war Mr. President, the only of its kind on the African continent, and perhaps even elsewhere. This is not known to very many people. This was a war where we had no borders with any foreign country where we could get assistance, arms and supplies. Our headquarters we are just 26 kilometres from Kampala at Migadde, Migadde is just 26 kilometers. How are these achieved? It was through leadership, even the support of the population cannot be taken for granted. If the leadership is not equal to the task, to harness it, and handled it correctly. They will disintegrate and the war will fail.
I wish to thank the leadership who have since held this country together. It’s not easy. For Africa, for African countries to remain peaceful for 40 years, it’s not easy. So it should not be lost anyway, despite our disagreements. As times change and political differences crop up, we get many revisionists, history must never be altered or rewritten. And absolutely no revisionist myself, the National Resistance Army leadership, the chairman of the high command, Yoweri Museveni who led that war, and the commanders who served under him, achieved the unimaginable. It was not easily even imaginable. We mastered what is usually not taught in many military academies, military colleges. But as an army, once total allied with a population, and the force is imbued with patriotism, discipline, commitment to face and endure great pain. No enemy, however strong can defeat that. And that’s why we couldn’t be defeated.
Therefore, on behalf of these generals assembled here, I take this opportunity to thank you, comrade Yoweri K Museveni, the chairman of the high command NRA, and the head of the resistance war for executing that war successfully.
I congratulate you Generals, and those who are not here, who have since departed, all the officers and combatants of NRA and UPDF, all the political leaders of this organization, and the people of Uganda for the great sacrifices and the services donation. Thanks to the family.
Your Excellency. When I was at Kimaka senior Command and Staff College, I wrote a short paper titled, ‘How a soldier’s family impacts a soldier’s combat readiness’. Simply put, good soldierly starts at home. Our families, spouses, our children, just to know you’re our Uncle, you are the foundation of our success. And of course, even failures. Sometimes. You provide social, psychological and emotional support, as well as physical support. A healthy and happy family, create a more ready soldier who can focus on the mission. And many times you do all that even when you are not well provided for in areas of welfare and so on. Just to know our dear wives, and our children, we have achieved all this together. Our victories are your victories. Thank you so much for loving us and making.
Those still serving the UPDF. The mission to liberate Africa has never been greater and more urgent. So much has been achieved. And a lot is yet to be achieved. We have like is the case everywhere, new challenges, some are existential. I pray that the leadership, God gives it wisdom to navigate these hardships. Therefore continue training. Take, and use the opportunities being provided. Make sure that you deepen your ideological horizons. But above all, love your nation and honor the people of Uganda always, they are a special people.
Conclusion Mr. President, Sir, Your Excellency and dear comrades, there is no greater honor than to serve the people. Those who choose to die in service of fellow men and women to sacrifice for the higher goals and ideals and in effect to the service of God, for God is his people. I salute you. I thank God for this day for enabling us to travel this road together for the victories and achievements we have registered and for the moments we have shared in happiness and in grief. For it has not always been laughter like when we have lost so many in battles. We have shared a lot. But we have served Uganda and I’m sure Uganda will prosper.
Thank you and May God protect everyone for God and my country.