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National Heroes Day of Uganda – June 9, 2023

National Heroes Day of Uganda takes place on June 9 every year to commemorate the brave people who laid down their lives during the Ugandan Bush War that took place between 1981 and 1986. It is estimated that around 100,000 to 500,000 people, which includes both combatants and civilians, died across Uganda as a result of the Ugandan Bush War. The war destroyed several villages and devastated people’s lives so badly that the current government is still working to rebuild the toppled infrastructures and the economy. Take this day to pay your respects to the ones who gave up their lives for the war.

History of National Heroes Day of Uganda

The Ugandan Bush War, also called the Luwero War, the Ugandan Civil War, or the Resistance War, was a civil war fought between the official Ugandan government’s armed wing the Uganda National Liberation Army (U.N.L.A.), and several rebel groups, but mainly the National Resistance Army (N.R.A.).

In 1971, the unpopular President of Uganda, Apollo Milton Obote, was overthrown in a coup d’état by General Idi Amin, who then established a military dictatorship. Amin was overthrown in 1979 after the Uganda-Tanzania War and Obote was elected as President of Uganda. Amin’s loyalists started the Bush War and launched an insurgency in the West Nile region in 1980. Elections held later saw Obote return to power in a U.N.L.A.-led government. But many opposition groups claimed that the elections were rigged, which led to Yoweri Museveni forming the N.R.A. This was the start of an armed uprising against Obote’s government on February 6, 1981.

On June 9, 1981, at the start of the Ugandan Bush War, Edidian Mukiibi Luttamaguzi made the ultimate sacrifice by refusing to reveal the hiding place of Museveni and the soldiers of the N.R.A. and was killed by the U.N.L.A for it. The war ended with victory for the N.R.A. on January 25, 1986, with Yoweri Museveni becoming president. He is still the president to this day.

In 2001, an act was passed in the Parliament of Uganda, which recognized June 9 as National Heroes Day to remember the brave lives who contributed to the liberation struggle that ushered in the National Resistance Movement government on January 26, 1986.

National Heroes Day of Uganda timeline

1979
Milton Obote Becomes President

Obote is elected President of Uganda after the overthrow of Idi Amin.

1981
The Ugandan Bush War Begins

The war begins and Edidian Mukiibi Luttamaguzi is killed.

1989
The War Ends

The war ends with the N.R.A. winning and Yoweri Museveni becoming President.

2001
The Day is Recognized

An act is passed in the Parliament recognizing June 9 as National Heroes Day.

National Heroes Day of Uganda FAQs

What is Uganda famous for?

Uganda is home to a vast number of wildlife species and national parks. This includes a number of mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, gorillas and golden monkeys in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park as well as hippos in the Murchison Falls National Park.

Are there still child soldiers in Uganda?

Child soldiers in Uganda are usually members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group that has been abducting young people since 1987 to increase their numbers. Children and young adults (both boys and girls) are sometimes violently abducted from their homes.

Is Uganda safe to visit?

Yes, Uganda is safe to travel to and is among the friendliest nations in Africa. It has beautiful, unique scenery as it has lush rolling hills, forests, waterfalls, lakes, snow-capped mountains, rivers, and vast tracks of the Savannah grasslands.

How to Observe National Heroes Day of Uganda

  1. Honor the fallen

    Pay your respect to the soldiers who had to lay down their lives to liberate Uganda. Also, take a moment to remember the many civilians whose lives were upended by the war and who continue to be affected by it even today.

  2. Visit Uganda

    Book a trip to Uganda to immerse yourself in the unique culture the country has to offer and learn more about its history. Visit its many national parks, rural areas, mountains, and waterfalls, and explore the cities.

  3. Share information

    Raise awareness about the Ugandan Bush War that destroyed the country’s infrastructure, lives, and economy and about how it continues to have an impact on the nation today. Share information on your social media and tell your friends and family members.

5 Facts About Uganda That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. It’s the second-largest landlocked country

    Uganda is the world’s second-largest landlocked nation in terms of population, after Ethiopia.

  2. It houses rare wildlife

    It’s one of the few places where you can still see the endangered mountain gorilla, with half of them living in Uganda.

  3. It has Africa’s largest lake

    Africa’s largest lake and the world’s second-largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria, is in Uganda.

  4. Most people are very young

    Uganda is the world’s second youngest nation, with nearly half the population being below 15 years of age.

  5. It hosts many refugees

    Uganda hosts more refugees than any other country in Africa, mainly from South Sudan and the D.R.C., despite being a poor nation itself.

Why National Heroes Day of Uganda is Important

  1. It pays respect to the dead

    The day reminds us to remember not to take our freedoms and liberties for granted. It tells us to honor those people without whom Uganda might have been a very different nation.

  2. It raises awareness

    The U.N.L.A. often targeted and abused civilians and forcibly removed around 750,000 civilians from the area of the then Luwero District. The N.R.A. also committed atrocities including using landmines against civilians and keeping child soldiers in its ranks, a practice that continued even after the N.R.A. had become the regular Ugandan army. Today teaches us about these atrocities, spreading awareness.

  3. We celebrate Uganda’s progress

    Even though its poverty rate is declining, Uganda continues to be one of the poorest nations in the world. In recent years, it has developed considerably — especially in the industries and services sectors.

National Heroes Day of Uganda dates

YearDateDay
2023June 9Friday
2024June 9Sunday
2025June 9Monday
2026June 9Tuesday
2027June 9Wednesday

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