By Flavia Nassaka
The events around this year’s Independence Day celebration have been remarkable and unprecedented
To many all over the world, the month of October marks the commencement of plans for Christmas and other end of year festivities. For Uganda, this month is held in high regard because on the 9th in 1962, the country became independent of colonial leadership. This year, Uganda is holding her 52nd independence celebrations.
Themed, “unity, peace, security and regional integration: key pillars for true and sustainable independence”, the run-up to this year’s Independence Day celebration has, however, been remarkable and unprecedented. It has been marked by key independence themed conferences, commemorations, and festivities.
It is difficult to say what was the highlight of the Independence eve celebrations, but the Oct. 3 fete of the Uganda Police Force (UPF) marking its `Centenary-Plus’ was spectacular. The police was marking 100 years of existence to mark the move from a “colonial to community policing”. The celebration that attracted thousands was characterised by official medal awarding to those who have made outstanding contribution to the force. Among the awarded were current and former leaders of the force, including Gen. Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police and Internal Affairs Minister, Aronda Nyakairima.
At the ceremony, the police demonstrated impressive tactics they use in defending and protecting the community and country.
Before this, on Oct. 1, Kampala City Council Authority had opened a three day conference dubbed `Future Cities Forum’ in which mayors from all over the world convened to deliberate on how well cities can be planned to counter the consequences of the rapid rate of urbanisation.
The three day conference held at Speke resort Munyonyo was the first forum of its kind to be held in Africa under the World Future Council (WFC) umbrella. The forum is an annual international urban development event hosted on a revolving basis in different cities around the world.
Chaired by Jennifer Musisi and Dr. Ian Clarke, the mayor of Makindye occupying the seat of the Kampala Lord Mayor who for obvious reasons was unable to attend, the conference was attended by delegates from 27 countries including Canada, India, Netherlands, and Germany.
But even as the Future Cities Conference was on going, Oct. 2 the Ministry of Energy also hosted a two-day mineral wealth conference.
The two-day conference was appropriately held under the theme, «Uganda’s Transformation: A New Era in Mining» and was attended by members of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and delegates from several African countries and Europe.
During the event President Yoweri Museveni tipped investors in Uganda’s mining industry to prioritise value addition to the minerals extracted in order to build a strong base for the economy.
The President revealed that a Nigerian investor was set to build a gas pipeline from Kanungu to Hoima in western Uganda, describing the venture as God-sent as gas will substitute imported coal required for processing steel from the abundant iron ore deposits available in the region.
It’s on this same date that the 22nd trade show kicked off at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) grounds in Lugogo. This show usually held in October is a major promotion event for Uganda’s manufacturers and attracted over 1266 exhibitors out of whom 395 are foreigners from countries as far as Pakistan and China.
The following day on the 4th of October, Uganda joined the world to celebrate Eid al Adhuha also known as “Feast of the Sacrifice”. On this Eid, Muslims slaughter animals as a way of sacrificing to God. This is meant to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his only son to God. Meanwhile, some Muslims are on pilgrimage at Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Although Kampala had gone the whole week without slowing down, on Oct. 5 is when it really exploded into a true carnival. It was the Third Edition of the Kampala City Festival. It started in 2012 as part of Uganda at 50 years of Independence celebrations. Different from the previous two events, Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA), the organizer added more groove to the event as Christian and Muslim groups were included to give the festival a religious feel. Muslim and Christian entertainment engulfed Parliamentary Gardens and Sheraton hotel.
The now annual event was thronged by people from all walks of life dressed in different kinds of carnival attire, masks and painted faces, matching, dancing to music, eating, drinking and making merry. It was as if Christmas had come early, in this year’s October Independence Day celebrations.