Uganda on Wednesday marked its 57th independence anniversary from British colonial rule with emphasis on transforming the country from a peasant to a modern economy.

President Yoweri Museveni, in an address telecast live from the eastern Ugandan district of Sironko, where the national celebrations were held, said under his 33 years of leadership, the country has been able to achieve minimum economic recovery and now in the process of development and addressing issues of social services.

The east African country aims to graduate to middle-income status by 2020 and first-class economy by 2040.

“This day is relevant not only to our efforts towards consolidating and defending our national independence but also the realization of our vision of transforming the Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country,” said Museveni.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe who arrived together with Museveni was the special guest at the colorful celebrations.

“I am here today on behalf of people of Zimbabwe. Congratulations upon your 57 years of independence and freedom. I am happy to be here to consolidate our relations,” said Mnangagwa who was invited by his host counterpart.

“Your independence inspired us. You are developing your country in peace and love. We aspire to follow your steps,” he said.

The visiting head of state said Zimbabwe has been under 20 years of sanctions, but it is the help of brotherly countries like Uganda that has made it to survive.

The colorful ceremony, which included a parade for the military, police, prisons and school children, was also attended by foreign envoys accredited to Uganda and legislators from neighboring Kenya.

Uganda gained independence from British colonial rule on October 9, 1962. Enditem

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