Uganda National Heroes Day honors all those who sacrificed themselves to better the lives of the Ugandan people. Unfortunately, the holiday is one of the most divisive days in the Ugandan year. What constitutes a hero, and who specifically should be honored, are matters of debate in the country. Many of the heroes officially recognized by the government are fallen soldiers who died during Uganda’s civil war in the 1980s. But the scars of that war, and the memories of crimes committed by both sides against the Ugandan people, are still in evidence today. There is no widespread agreement as to which of that war’s fallen should be honored.
Some citizens have argued for remembering less controversial heroes, such as the Ugandan doctor Matthew Lukwiya who detected a deadly Ebola outbreak before it spread but died while treating the deadly virus patients.