Uganda Celebrates Liberation Day: Reflecting on Progress and Future Hopes

Ridelink Series

Written by Henry Senkungu on Jan. 25, 2024

Every year on January 26th, Uganda bursts into a vibrant celebration of National Liberation Day, also known as NRM Liberation Day. This day commemorates the overthrow of the Milton Obote government by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) led by Yoweri Museveni in 1986, marking the end of a five-year guerilla war and ushering in a new era for the nation.

What Does Liberation Mean to Uganda?

Liberation Day is more than just a historical marker; it's a symbol of hope, progress, and national identity. According to the Minister of Presidency, Mary Babirye Babalanda, the day "celebrates the fundamental change" brought about by the NRM in various aspects of Ugandan life.

Highlighting Achievements:

Minister Babalanda emphasized numerous achievements since 1986, showcasing the transformation Uganda has undergone:

Economic Growth: The Ugandan economy has witnessed remarkable growth, transitioning from a mere $3.9 billion in 1986 to a staggering $49.4 billion in 2023.

Historical evolution of GDP per capita (PPP) of Uganda during the period 1985-2040 (expressed in dollars)

Source: Maddison Historical Statistics Project 

Infrastructure Development: Electricity generation has skyrocketed from 150 megawatts in 1986 to a whopping 1300 megawatts in 2023. Furthermore, the road network has expanded exponentially, growing from 1000km in 1986 to an impressive 70,000km in 2023. Electricity generation has grown from 150 megawatts in 1986 to 1300 megawatts as of today.

Other forms of transport have been developed, that is Air, Water, and railway. The government has seen the development of 2 Airports, 13 airstrips, and even a new railway road cutting from Mombasa.

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Some of the infrastructural development done by the government over the years since 1986, Source: Google Images

Improved Access to Water: Both rural and urban areas have seen significant advancements in water coverage, reaching 68% and 72%, respectively, in 2023.

Improving Access to Safe, Clean Water in Rural Uganda - GOAL Global

Handover of the mini-pipe water system in Bugiri District. : Source

Looking Beyond Borders:

This year's Liberation Day celebrations were held in Jinja, marking a shift from the usual Kampala venue. However, the guest list reflects a broader international significance. Instead of inviting specific dignitaries, Uganda welcomed participants already present for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit 2024. You can read more about the NAM summit and its significance here

The posthumous recognition of the late Kyabazinga of Busoga, Henry Wako Muloki, was announced during the 38th National Resistance Movement (NRM) anniversary celebrations in Jinja. 

Alongside 51 other recipients, he was honored with the distinguished order of the Nile Medal for his significant contributions to Uganda's growth and development. 

The prestigious award acknowledges individuals who excel in various fields such as production, research, economic development, and cultural enterprises, contributing to the country's reputation globally. 

Eligibility criteria encompass achievements in public service, cultural, religious, academic, or scientific institutions, private sector involvement, traditional or community leadership, and distinguished representation of a distinct culture. 

The late Kyabazinga's recognition underscores his impactful role in promoting Uganda's interests through artistic, scientific, and cultural endeavors, leaving a lasting legacy in the nation's history.

Museveni praises Busoga on NRM struggle

Minister for Presidency Milly Babalanda dances during the event with some of the awarded individuals, Source: Nile Post

Logistics Industry Boom:

The logistics industry serves as a prime example of Uganda's post-liberation progress. Since 1986, the sector has witnessed tremendous growth, facilitating trade and economic activity across the nation.

As Uganda celebrates its liberation journey, citizens look towards the future with aspirations for continued progress.

Key areas of focus include:

  • Continued economic growth and development.
  • Improved healthcare and education systems
  • Enhanced human rights and democratic values
  • Greater inclusivity and participation in governance

In conclusion, Uganda's Liberation Day stands as a testament to the collective effort of the NRM government and its citizens to transform the nation.

While challenges remain, the day serves as a reminder of the progress achieved and fuels hope for a brighter future. As Minister Babalanda aptly stated, "We should use this day to renew our commitment to build a prosperous Uganda for all."

Let's celebrate the journey, acknowledge the contributions, and work together to build a brighter future for Uganda. May the spirit of liberation continue to guide the nation on its path towards peace, progress, and prosperity.


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