KAMPALA – Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju has challenged the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) involvement in events to mark the Tarehe Sita, which he said offends the constitution.
Every 6th of February, the army celebrates the National Resistance Army’s raid on Kabamba Military Barracks, which launched the five-year struggle that brought the National Resistance Movement government to power, 36 years ago.
MP Ssemujju said that the UPDF came into being upon the promulgation of the 1995 constitution and therefore, should not be associated with the NRA. He said that the celebrations to mark the anniversary of the National Resistance Movement is not in tandem with the constitution saying the party came into being in 2005 upon the reinstatement of multiparty politics.
“This week there are festivities to remember the day a rebel group attacked a military barracks at Kabamba when the UPC [Uganda People’s Congress] was in power,” he said.
He added, “under articles 208, 209, 210, the makers of the constitution did not want to be reminded of that history and therefore, they created the UPDF; today, we have an army created by this constitution celebrating when an illegal militia raided a barracks…can the Attorney General and the Speaker guide this House.”
Deputy Speaker Anita Among, however, said MP Ssemujju’s assertions cannot stand, since the UPDF is a legal entity.
“They (UPDF) are celebrating their origin, just like everyone else. They are celebrating their birthday and you know the celebrations did not start today, it has started before [in previous Parliaments],” she said.
The UPDF leads preparations to mark Tarehe Sita, which is a culmination of a week-long series of activities in which the army engages in social corporate responsibility to enhance civil-military cooperation.
Ssemujju is also unhappy about the celebrations to mark the 36 years of NRM, which he argues was registered in 2005.