On 6th February every year, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces celebrate the Tarehe Sita. Tarehe Sita is a Swahili word that means the ‘sixth day’, which in this context is the day of 6 February 1981 when the struggle to liberate our motherland Uganda began with an attack on Kabamba military barracks.
On this day in 1981, the People’s Resistance Army composed of 41 men with 27 guns launched a guerrilla war against Milton Obote with an attack on Kabamba military barracks in Masindi. This day marked the official five-year war that eventually brought the National Resistance Army to power in 1986.
Over the past 42 years, Tarehe Sita celebrations have been a way for the UPDF to give back to the community and build strong relationships with the people of Uganda. The activities include the provision of clean water, cleaning of urban centres, tree planting, construction services and medical camps.
This year, the main Tarehe Sita celebrations will be held in Mbarara City, fulfilling the FRONASA liberation circuit and consolidating the historical footprints of the liberation’s founders. The theme of the event is “Recognizing the sacrifice of the founders of the People’s revolution for social economic transformation”.
For the past years, celebrations have been held in different parts of the country. In 2018, Tarehe Sita celebrations were held in Butaleja District under the theme “Re-affirming the contribution of armed forces towards integration for strategic security, development and prosperity”.
In 2019, the celebrations were held in Kitgum District where the army offered voluntary services such as cleaning, planting trees and supplying mosquito nets. The theme of the event was “Consolidating the peace for sustainable development and Prosperity”.
In 2020, Tarehe Sita celebrations were held in greater Luweero at Butalangu grounds in Nakaseke District under the theme “Consolidating the UPDF strategic partnership with the people to guard gains of liberation”.
In 2021 celebrations were held in Masaka while in 2022, celebrations were held in Mbale under the theme “ Retracing the people’s struggle for peace and stability for a modern Uganda”.
Is Tarehe Sita a public holiday in Uganda?
Surprisingly, the answer is no. Over the years, this day has not been observed as a public holiday and this year is no different.
However, As the UPDF celebrates Tarehe Sita for the 42nd time, it is a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom and a modern Uganda. It is also a time to look ahead, as the UPDF continues to work towards ensuring peace and stability in the country and promoting social and economic transformation.
Regardless of your political inclination, it is important to have a deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by the people who fought to preserve and protect our great nation.