COVID sidelines 58th Independence day celebrations
For the first time in its history as a nation, Uganda will not publicly celebrate the 58 independence, due the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo announced that this year’s celebrations will be held quietly at State House Entebbe as opposed to the usual celebrations marked at Kololo that are usually characterised with a parade, awarding of medals and funfare.
Mbayo said: “There will be no traditional programmes and fanfare because as a country we are still observing the Ministry of Health Guidelines of the Standard Operating Procedures as we manage the Covid-19 pandemic, which is fully in our midst,” she said.
However, the Minister revealed that the day’s programme will be aired live on all television and radio channels across the country under the theme; ‘Celebrating Uganda’s steady progress towards economic take off and self-sustaining economic growth’.
Meanwhile, the minister noted that Uganda’s journey since independence has not been an easy one because it has been characterized by many ups and downs citing that it is partly linked to confusion and tricky unresolved political issues by the colonial masters.
“No words can sum it up better as we are all familiar with our colonial era journey and its ups and downs. Tribute goes to all those who have paid the supreme sacrifices in the cause of nation building,” Mbayo noted.
“To stand does not mean that you can’t or won’t fall, but to fall, rise, stand and move forward is what makes an undisputable achievement. Indeed since 9th October 1962 to date, Uganda has stumbled and even fallen, but we have taken it in our strides, risen, stood firmly and made fundamental steps forward,” she added
Mbayo partly attributed Uganda’s successes to the National Resistance Movement (NRM) regime which has been in power for over 30 years.
“Ugandans today live almost twice as long as the independence generation. This is thanks, in part, to recent programmes that make medical equipment available to parts of the country once under-served. Thanks, to the NRM administration’s free maternal care programme, so far infant and child mortality has been tremendously reduced giving hope to thousands of mothers, Referral Hospitals, Health Centre IVs, Health Centre IIIs and Health Centre IIs have been constructed across the country to further enhance universal health care in Uganda,” she said.
Mbayo further applauded the role of universal education which she says it’s a great opportunity that has greatly boasted the literacy levels of Ugandan citizens.
“We have over 10.78 million children in our primary schools, 1.95 million in secondary schools and these are supported by the government of Uganda,” she noted.
She further noted government’s efforts in averaging the country’s economic growth by 7 percent over the last 30 years and urged Ugandans to work strategically and harness more opportunities at hand.
“ Government will be implementing National Development Plan (NDP) III and focus on strategic objectives such as enhancing value addition to the productive sectors, which include agro-processing, mineral led industrialization, oil refinery among others,” said Mbayo.
The minister observed that agriculture remains the main thrust of Uganda’s economic growth with agriculture based products and that it employs over 70 percent of Ugandans citing that all efforts to uplift this sector are being put in place to achieve full mechanization in the sector.
“However, without risking to revert to the path of neo-mercantilism, the NRM Government is aware that, no meaningful national unity, security and prosperity can occur without lifting the 68% households in subsistence agriculture to the market economy especially in value addition and producing for export,” she revealed.