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Hold Parallel Independence Celebrations at Your Own Risk, Govt Warns Opposition

Presidency Minister Esther Mbayo

Opposition and civil society leaders planning to have parallel Independence Day celebrations will face the wrath of the law, government has warned.

This year’s national celebrations will be held in Bushenyi on Monday but some members of the civil society and Opposition leaders have vowed to boycott the government-organised celebrations and hold their own in protest against government’s handling of the anti-age limit protesters.

However, Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo says such celebrations are unlawful and the organisers must seek permission from the authorities.

“There is nobody who is supposed to stage any other celebrations apart from the celebrations which we are going to hold in Bushenyi. I urge all Ugandans to join us even those who are planning to stage counter celebration,” Mbayo told journalists.

The minister assured Ugandans that their security is guaranteed because independence is not for only one person or party but for all Ugandans including those in the Opposition.

“We should celebrate independence because there is peace in the country. Since the first independence, Ugandans have enjoyed freedom of speech, worship and expression, before there was no constitution but today the country is under rule of law,” Mbayo said.

The theme for this year’s independence is “Uganda’s freedom must be anchored in the spirit of hard work, resilience and commitment” and Mbayo said Uganda should reflect on the commitment of each and every individual in transforming the country to middle income status by 2020.

“The economy is now anchored on a very firm foundation, with all obstructive and ill-conceived policies erased. The new momentum is towards rapid transformation,” she said.

The minister said it is important for us to guide the young generation to guard the environment jealously.

“We should effectively implement and emphasise strategies to deepen and widen regional integration and national coherence to reap the fruits of our independence,” Ms Mbayo said.

The guest of honour will be President Museveni, and the Aga Khan will be his special guest.

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