MBARARA – President Yoweri Museveni was on Monday awarded the Katonga medal – the highest military decoration in Uganda.
Maj Gen George Igumba – the chancery to the Presidential awards committee said the honour, which is named after the battle that signified the final victory of the National Resistance Army – NRA’s liberation war, was given to the President in recognition of his immense contribution to Uganda’s struggle towards freedom.
Museveni became the third person and first Ugandan in the history of the UPDF to receive the award. The first recipient was former Libyan President, Col Muammar Quaddaffi who received the award on April 6, 2004 in honour of his contribution to the NRA-led Bush war.
The award was also awarded to former Tanzanian President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in 2007 in recognition of his assistance in liberating Africa from colonialism and Uganda, from Idi Amin’s rule. According to its citation, the award recognises extraordinary instances of heroism that involve voluntary acceptance of additional danger beyond the call of duty and risk of life.
Igumba noted that since 1970, President Museveni formed and led the Front for National Salvation -FRONASA in the anti-Amin struggle which rose to about 10,000 combatants that crossed River Kagera and defeated the Uganda army.
He added that President Museveni had over time struggled against the tyranny of the country until he formed and led the Uganda Patriotic Movement -UPM that sensitised Ugandans on clean leadership, peace and unity among other values.
The Maj Gen was speaking during celebrations to mark the 42nd Tarehe Sita Day, in commemoration of the NRA attack on Kabamba barracks in 1981. Read President Museveni’s Tarehe Sita Speech here;
He added that in the 1980s he formed and led the National Resistance Movement/Army in the war of resistance and national liberation from 1981-86 that has led to the current social-economic transformation.
Igumba said that raising the army from 100,000 men in the 1980s – Museveni had become a commander of the formidable UPDF that has professionalised and modernised from an ill-armed, ill-trained guerilla army in 1986 to be able to undertake all defence missions and contribute adequately to its regional and international obligations for peace and security.
During the awarding ceremony, the other 65 awardees were decorated with Medals.
The awards include the Order of Katonga Medal, the Kabalega medal, the Damu medal, and the Luweero medal. Others are the civilian or military decorations which are the national independence medal diamond jubilee, which has UPDF 10 medals, the Uganda police 10 awards and Uganda prisons 10 awardees
Bonny Tashobya Karushya, the Speaker of Mbarara City Council said President Museveni deserved the medal because the country had transformed not only in security but also the livelihoods of the people.