Presided over the National Heroes Day celebrations today at Birembo in Kakumiro District. I thank the residents for turning up in big numbers to mark the occasion.
Excerpts from the President
I also thank the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali, who I decorated with the Pearl of Africa Grand Master Medal, for gracing our festivities.
The Prime Minister, who is here on my invitation, has also held bilateral discussions with our government on issues of trade, peace, among others.
We have agreed to build a road from Karamoja, through Kenya, if the Kenyan government gives us permission, to South Western Ethiopia so that we can do business with Ethiopia.
About Birembo, the venue of our celebration, its story began on 1st January 1985 when NRA, in a mission commanded by Salim Saleh, attacked Kabamba and made off with about 600 guns.
Our troops then walked all the way from Matugga to Birembo. On January 10th, this place became the scene of a big battle as the UNLA soldiers tried to get back the rifles we had taken from Kabamba.
The ground that hosted the celebration and part of the nearby plantation were our temporary defences. We lost three soldiers here and two others died on the way. But the enemy suffered heavy losses.
We have already built a technical school to celebrate the importance of Birembo in our liberation struggle. We are now going to build a secondary school in addition to the technical institution.
On the infrastructure front, the road from Buhimba through Kasambya to Kakumiro is going to be tarmacked as part of the oil roads.
I am happy that when I went to the mass grave, where we laid wreaths with His Excellency Abiy, I found our guard, who was one of our fighters, still keeping the place.
I am also glad that Matayo Byamunugo, the guard, has 700 mango trees on five acres of land which will fetch him Shs60m a year. I encourage other residents to pick a leaf and follow suit.
About the murders. First, our country has developed. We have many roads, cars, motorcycles etc. However, I have opposed the idea of erecting roadblocks as a deterrent to insecurity. They will inconvenience people.
I prefer that we use our intelligence to fight crime and I request the public to cooperate with our security agencies. Also, we might ask that all vehicles and motorcycles have tracking devices to help us locate them.
The NRM government does not want to disturb people’s peace. It is why we do not stop you from drinking at midnight like it is in other countries. However, criminals mistakenly think they will use that peace to disturb people.
These criminals think that they will kill people to fail and discredit the government. Rest assured we shall stop them. Whoever kills will pay with their own blood. My request to you the public is that you cooperate and collaborate with us.