PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has honoured 20 civilians killed for supporting the NRA during the five-year bush war.
The President, at the Heroes Day anniversary yesterday, unveiled a monument built in honour of the 20 who died in the Luweero Triangle.
The Luweero Triangle, where Museveni started his guerrilla war in 1981, comprises Kiboga, Mityana, Mubende, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Wakiso and Mubende districts.
During the ceremony at Lake Mburo Secondary School in Kiruhura district, the President introduced the survivors of the family of Ernest Bujundira, one of those honoured, who was murdered by the UNLA soldiers, along with his two wives and seven children.
â€œThey gave us cattle to feed the army and the population from September 1983 to June 1984. They did reconnaissance and political work for us. We see them as symbols of resistance,â€ Museveni said.
The group was part of a larger community in Wakyato, Ngoma, Singo and parts of Masindi district that provided food to the NRA guerrillas and the internally displaced people at that time.
â€œThese people played a critical role in sustaining the war,â€ Museveni said.
â€œWe ate about 21,000 head of cattle and it sustained the army for at least nine months. I remember the final beef soup was delivered to me when we had just completed the battle of Hoima.â€
At the sub-county headquarters, the UPDF mounted a parade and a three-gun salute, and observed a minute of silence, in honour of the group.
During the unveiling of the monument, Gen. Elly Tumwine, who lost an eye during the bush war, said: â€œThey are 20 names but they are a symbol that the flame of patriotism should always burn.â€
Earlier, the President explained that at the height of the liberation struggle, they fought the UNLA forces to end their campaign of extermination.
â€œWe decided to encourage the local population to go away so as to lighten our burden of fighting and defending them,â€ he said.
â€œThe pigs thought they would exterminate these families. They did not know that people regenerate like plants. There was no need to kill non-combatants.â€
He recalled that the Baganda, Banyankole, Banyarwanda, Lugbara, Banyoro and Baruuli communities in the Luweero Triangle all supported the liberation struggle.
â€œThe Luweero experience discredits those who talk and practice sectarianism. They are enemies of Africa. You must be non-sectarian if you are to be of use to Africa.â€
On development in the region, the President announced a Government plan to extend piped water to Kanyaryeru, which will be pumped from Lake Kakyera.
He also told the youth in Kiruhura to avoid contracting HIV, which he said â€˜was worse than Oboteâ€™, and advised them to engage in sports and avoid alcoholism.
He noted that works had started to widen the Masaka-Mbarara Road up to the border with Rwanda, with the help of donors, while the Mbarara-Katuna stretch would be funded by the Government.
The Kiruhura RDC, Alinemary Kemerwa, said through sacrifice of lives, Ugandans today were empowered socio-economically and enjoyed good governance and women emancipation.
The minister in charge of the Luweero Triangle, Nyombi Thembo, announced that the Government had in the last three years provided about sh67b to the area under the NAADS programme.
Another sh100b had been provided under LGDP programmes, while sh54b had been spent on water.
The chairperson of the national veteransâ€™ association, Hajj Edirisa Ssendugga, lashed out at the illegal evictions in the country.
â€œBy the time the Land Bill is passed, over 30,000 people will have been unlawfully evicted from their land. Today, the judiciary quickly listens to court cases involving DP and NRM, but not land cases involving evictions.â€
In response, Museveni said he was confident that the Bill would be passed.
â€œWe have given everybody a chance to talk. In Parliament, the Bill is going to pass. The abuses will not stop us from passing the Land Bill.â€
Present were army and Police chiefs Aronda Nyakairima and Kale Kayihura, and deputy chief justice, Laeticia Kikonyogo.
Museveni honours 20 war supporters