Notes On Concealment Of Genocide In Uganda
Genocide has been and still reigns even as I write; Entire villages have been and continue to be destroyed by soldiers of the regime as legitimate and proper action against "rebels"
[Global News: Africa]
Black Star Editor's Note: Whatever people felt about Apollo Milton Obote, Uganda's late president, he was a good writer and historian.
In his masterpiece essays below, he documents the genocide unfolding in Uganda. It was written in 1990 while he was exiled in Zambia.
The document is exhaustively footnoted withreference sources for the reader to make her or his own determination. The document
is available on the website of the political party he helped found, the Uganda People's Congress, on www.upcparty.net/obote/genocide.htm
By A. Milton Obote
In 1971, there was a military coup in Uganda. The International Media called Idi Amin, the leader of the coup, "a gentle and harmless giant" for about two years, when, in fact, Amin's reign of murder and terror began on the first day of the coup. The international community and the Human Rights Organization took the cue from the media and, with the exception of Tanzania and Zambia, also saw nothing wrong with Amin's murder and terror. Amin's crimes were therefore effectively concealed for two years. Today, Uganda, under Museveni's militarist regime, has had a state of genocide since 1986. However, Africa and the rest of the world speak a language which Ugandans, who have been and are in the throes of massacres, find it difficult to accept as human language; the language which cleanses Museveni and his militarist regime. The objectives of these Notes are to place on record the evidence of the concealment of the genocide by the international community, media and Human Rights Organizations.
On 28th February, 1990, an academic from Oxford University and I exchanged views on some agonizing and distressing events which have been and are still the lot of Ugandans as well as on the attitude of the international community, media and the Human Rights Organizations. During our conversation, I learned of the International Symposium on Uganda due in May 1990, at Queen's University, Ontario, Canada, and that the sponsors were World University Services of Canada -Queens Local Committee. Ten days later, a Ugandan living in Zambia brought to me the Prospectus of the Symposium.
It is to be hoped that the organizers of the Symposium will succeed in their aim: "The Search for Peace in Uganda" and that they would be able to confirm or reject, to quote the Prospectus, "the myth that with the departure of Idi Amin and Milton Obote everything in Uganda is now fine". The organizers have an uphill task: Africa and the entire International Community, since January 1986, have been saturated with propaganda, biased reportage, and down-right disregard of the facts of the situation in Museveni's militarist Uganda. The International Media and Human Rights Organizations such as Amnesty International, Minority Rights Group and International Alert have painted and continue to paint Museveni and his regime in glowing colors that to them there is no myth. According to them, Uganda, under Museveni, is rapidly recovering from the agonies of the past and there is much improvement.
These Notes present the opposite view that Uganda, under Museveni's regime, is a Police State where:
Genocide has been and still reigns even as I write;
Entire villages have been and continue to be destroyed by soldiers of the regime as legitimate and proper action against "rebels";
Foodstuffs in the fields and in granaries in the so-called "war-zones" have been and continue to be uprooted, burnt or destroyed allegedly to deny succor to "rebels";
Water wells and boreholes in the "war-zones" have been either poisoned or dismantled;
The entire livestock in several Districts have been looted by the National Resistance Army (NRA), the soldiery of the Museveni regime;
In the Districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Lira, Soroti, Kumi, a large part of Tororo and now Kasese - (population 2.8 million 1979 census) - where the NRA soldiers have wrought their greatest havoc, those not massacred, arrested or detained are forced by the soldiers to go to Concentration Camps where many die on various accounts of torture, and from lack of food, water, medication and protection against inclement weather;
Women in the Concentration camps and in the "war-zones" are at the mercy of the NRA soldiery to abuse as they fancy;
Soldiers known to be infected with contagious diseases including the deadly HIV are posted to these Concentration camps where they are free to mix and abuse the female inmates. The Concentration camps are in fact cauldrons of genocide where the vulnerable groups (the children, pregnant women and the elderly) are taken to die. The list in not exhaustive.
I am acutely aware of the venomous attacks which befalls anyone who dares to point out and provide evidence that under Museveni, Uganda is a Police State. In 1987, for instance, I wrote a Paper entitled "Massacres and the Reign of Terror in Uganda". I pointed out that Museveni and his army were engaged in "orgies of carnage and destruction which traverse the whole country, from East to West and from North to South". The evidence I presented was not even given a cursory examination by those who speak loudest about human rights. On the contrary, it was twisted and turned round to heap attacks on me. The wars in the North and East were totally disregarded and I was called to account for the Luwero war as if the past and not the present must always be the issue. In other words, the present day massacres must not be exposed or discussed at all.
My 1987 Paper is now a "prohibited document" in Uganda and Kagenda Atwoki, the Administrative Secretary of the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) is now on trial for being in possession of it. Atwoki had been reported by the BBC as having said that Museveni's well known wars were wars by the regime against the people. He was arrested and detained but was later charged with "being in possession of a prohibited document" despite the fact that the Paper had never, to date, been gazetted as "prohibited" in accordance with the Uganda law of sedition. Atwoki remains charged illegally but the real reason for his suffering is because he dared to expose Museveni's massacres.
The detention of Serra Muwanga, an erstwhile friend of Museveni's and Chairman of the Uganda Human Rights Activists, is another case in point. Muwanga had given an interview to African Concord which the Magazine published. Museveni was bitterly irritated that Muwanga had expressed concern on gross violations of human rights by the National Resistance Army (NRA) - Museveni's personal army which now rules the country. Muwanga was detained and placed under hardship regimen. On release, and in poor health, Muwanga was warned by a senior officer in the NRA that the NRA does not arrest a person twice; the meaning of the warning was that the sentence for a second arrest is death. He took the advice and left the country. Museveni has justified Serra Muwanga's arrest, detention and flight by saying that Muwanga had "criticized the army" - his number one instrument and rule of genocide.
Museveni has promulgated a law which prohibits not only the pointing out of the shortcomings of or crimes committed by the NRA but also the publication, in whatever form, of the identity or existence of any NRA regiment in any particular area. To dare to point out any shortcoming or crimes of the NRA is to "criticize the NRA" and that in itself is a serious and greater crime than, say, if the NRA had buried people alive or herded them in houses and then burnt the houses which genocidal practices are quite common in the so-called war zones. The walls of protection which the international media and Human Rights Organizations have erected to protect the regime are such that Museveni, like the mythical James Bond, is thereby licensed to kill and to do whatever he likes with the lives of the citizens of Uganda.
Chapter three of the Constitution of Uganda, has provisions for the "Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual". Although he has not suspended this Chapter, Museveni rules as if the provisions of the chapter do not exist and his regime and army have no obligations whatsoever to observe or attempt to observe those provisions. War of aggression is Museveni's chosen method of gross violations of human rights. Under cover of war which he himself instigated, the NRA has massacred Ugandans on a megascale. Under cover of wars, political activities have been banned and comments on the deeds of the NRA are not permitted. In an interview with the BBC in July 1989, Museveni said: -
..."unfortunately for the BBC the war has ended, so you will not have much to report - it is ended". (Focus on Africa - BBC Magazine 1989). Yet in the month of February, this year, his own Propaganda Newspaper, New Vision, edited by his friend and accomplice William Pike, was reporting the forceful uprooting of 80,000 people from their homes in Kasese District in the far West to concentration camps in order to leave the villages free for artillery bombardment and strafing and thereby destroy homes and foodstuff allegedly to deny succor to rebels.
In March 1990, Museveni moved physically to Kumi District in the East and remained there for 18 days where he took command of his army against "rebels". The war, which according to him, had ended was being prosecuted by him, some nine months later, with the greatest brutalities. The entire population of Kumi District or whatever number remained alive from previous massacres, have now been forced into concentration camps and Museveni is personally commanding his army in the destruction of homes and property. Considering that the population of Kumi (1979 census) was, in round figures 350,000, the number of the entire population of the District which has not (1990) been herded in camps is extremely ominous. The number being given is 150,000; that certainly can not be the entire population of Kumi. The missing 200,000 and more appear to be of no interest or concern to those who have created walls to protect Museveni and conceal his genocide. Kumi is the District where on several previous occasions, the NRA rounded young men and had them burnt, gassed or starved to death in Railway wagons. The latest such deed was in July 1989. Museveni and his army have been engaged in the orgies of killings in this District like others in the North and East since 1986. Kumi like its Northern neighbors of Soroti and Lira was a cattle area. This time as the people went to concentration camps, there was no cattle at all in the villages; the animals in Kumi are to be found in the NRA barracks; which is also the case in the Districts of Soroti, Lira, Apac, Kitgum and Gulu.
The fiendishly cruel massacres in the so-called war zones continue unquestionably, despite propaganda to the contrary, to be the main characteristic of Museveni's rule. The massacres and the expanding wars are not freely discussed in any forum in Uganda. During the second UPC administration, the leaders and members of the Democratic Party (DP), for instance, had the freedom and by various means followed the course of the Luwero war, assessed the situation and expressed publicly and in Parliament their findings and views. In the case of Museveni's wars in the North and East and now in Kasese in the West, the DP leaders have been totally mute. Their apparent and ostensible excuse is that political activities are banned but the Executive Council of the DP, despite the ban, continues to meet from time to time and to issue statements. In every such statement, nothing was said about the massacres and each statement has always unfailingly included praises of Museveni's rule (see Appendix Two). The only and ever constant complaint which the DP leaders lodge is that Museveni has not permitted their Party to govern the country. Leading members of the DP including the President of the Party are in Museveni's Cabinet. A section of the Executive Council of the DP has been campaigning for the DP members to resign from Museveni's regime; but the campaign is not against Museveni's obsession with wars, massacres and destruction. The campaign is about Museveni's unwillingness to surrender power to the DP.
The ban on political activities applies only to the UPC. The definitive political target of Museveni's National Resistance Movement (NRM) and its armed core the NRA is the "Removal of UPC/Obote's dictatorship by force of arms" (see Appendix One). The document was issued in 1987. Having observed the DP leaders at close quarters throughout 1986 as members of his Cabinet, I have confirmed that the NRM/NRA and the DP had one common target: the destruction of the UPC, not by the ballot but by force. Having found that the DP was, so to speak, a toothless bulldog, Museveni ordered the production of Appendix One in 1987. The destruction of the DP is in Paragraph 3.3 of that document but even that fact has not diminished the attachment of the DP leaders to Museveni's regime.
The DP leaders have often made it known that before the DP members accepted to serve in Museveni's militarist regime, they held discussions with Museveni in early 1986 and agreed to the DP and the NRM/NRA being the kernel in a "broad-based government". The UPC leaders never had any such discussion with Museveni. The few members of the UPC who are in Museveni's regime are voluntarists to whom Party principles are of less importance than their being left alone to seize any opportunity to better their lot. The UPC has left them alone and this is the first public criticism of their joining the NRM/NRA and the DP in the heinous conspiracy to project Uganda as peaceful when thousands and thousands of their fellow citizens have been and continue to be slaughtered by the NRA.
It is most inconceivable that those who claim or propagate that Museveni's Uganda is peaceful or that there are no gross violations of human rights have not heard of Museveni's wars in the North and East and now in the West in Kasese District. What of the arrests of hundreds of Ugandans now in jails accused of treason? Some 150 people from Buganda alone and some desperate groups are presently in jails awaiting trial on that charge. There have been killings and arrests by the NRA in Busoga (Jinja, Iganga, Kamuli Districts) since June 1989; 43 people from Busoga have recently been charged with treason and I have the names of 187 people killed by the NRA in the still ongoing massacres. There are unknown number of people in Mbale jail on the same charge - treason. Museveni's Uganda must be a very special country to "enjoy peace" in the face of wars in three out of four Regions (Provinces) and where desperate groups in each of the four Regions have sought year after year to remove the regime by force of arms. In the latter part of 1989, the NRA units in Bunyoro - Masindi District - went on a rampage, terrorized villages and arrested leading persons therefrom only to return their bodies to the relatives to bury. Such is the nature of "peace" which is said to exist in Uganda.
In Uganda of today, it is a treasonable act to exercise the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association. What Museveni fully guarantees and rewards handsomely is servile flattery and praises (sychophancy), of his greatness, alleged intrepidity, invincibility and as the only person alive who has all the answers to all the problems (some of them created by him) which afflict Uganda. Thus his wars for all intents and purposes are wars to banish freedom of thought in every brain and home throughout Uganda; and wherever and to whoever submission is humiliation beneath the dignity of a citizen, scorched-earth retribution and massacres are brought into play. That is the meaning of Paragraph 1.2 of Appendix One - "The establishment, by force if necessary of a one Party "popular democracy" in Uganda under the NRM". I hope to show in another part of these Notes the extent and nature of force which Museveni used in Luwero for the establishment of his idea of grassroot "popular democracy". Better brains, than mine, trained in the science and practices of democracy, can not fail to find it odd that a person who claims to be extremely popular, as Museveni does, should resort to force, as Museveni is doing and has been doing throughout his adult life, as the most appropriate means to establish democracy. No amount of propaganda in such a situation can bury the fact that the claim must be a blatant lie and that Museveni's objective is not democracy but some form of governance where the citizen must be suppressed and forced to obey the ruler and never to question neither the policy nor the deeds of the ruler. The classic situation of a Police State.>
Museveni's determination to consolidate his Police State is clearly observable in he origins and the prosecution of his wars against citizens of Uganda. The current wars in Acholi, Lango and Teso, and North Bukedi are all extensions of Museveni's war in Luwero. The objective origin and the extent and nature of the force used in each case are the same; only rationalization for the purposes of tactics, as publicly stated have differed. Luwero was rationalized as a war launched because the 1980 elections were allegedly rigged in favor of the UPC. Museveni chose war and not the constitutional course to redress the matter through the law Courts. The war in Acholi (Gulu and Kitgum Districts) was rationalized, by Museveni, as quelling rebellion by the remnants of the Okello and Okello forces. However, when we come to the wars in Lango and Teso, North Bukedi, Kasese and the NRA assaults and sorties in Bukedi, Bugisu, Busoga and Karamoja, Bunyoro and elsewhere, attempts for rationalization have defied his dissembling mind. Instead he has variously described them and interchangeably as wars, assaults and sorties against rebels, cattle rustlers, gangsters, robbers and bandits, without stating which is what. It is my task to unravel Museveni's deliberate ambiguity.
The fact is that Luwero afforded Museveni a classic ideal situation and ground for putting into effect his design to divide and rule Uganda. In the prosecution of the war in Luwero, he presented the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) founded at the Moshi Conference by the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF) as "Obote's Northern Soldiers". As will be seen later herein, Museveni terrorized and brutalized the people of Luwero and in order to win the sympathies of the Baganda, he made such terror and violence to appear as having been wholly the misdeeds of the UNLA. Failure by the international community to grasp Museveni's atrocities in Luwero at the time is at the root of today's concealment of the genocide. Museveni tried very hard to expand his Luwero terror to other parts of Buganda but was contained within the Luwero Triangle. If he had succeeded to expand, it is doubtful that a significant number of Baganda would be found today who would have any sympathy with the North and East and other parts of Uganda, in their current ordeal.
Having got public opinion in Buganda to his side and against the Northerners, Museveni then set out to plan for all out war with the Northerners but he had first to win the Luwero war. The all out war against the Northerners was to be launched irrespective of any provocation on the part of the Northerners. The important considerations were to conceal NRA atrocities in Luwero, retain the goodwill of the Baganda and be seen (in Buganda) as punishing the "criminal Northerners". The irony is that it was the UNLA officers (Tito Okello, Bazilio Okello, etc.), who opened the floodgate of the ongoing bloodshed in the North and East. Why and how the Okellos did so, is discussed in Part two of these Notes. Meanwhile, it suffices to say that when Museveni "stormed" into Kampala with the fire-power of his artillery, tanks, katysha howitzers and Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), the Okello Junta, soldiery and two allies simply fled. The UNLA had no artillery in the Western Region which the Junta had, way back in August 1985, allocated to Museveni to govern and there were no battle worthy tanks or APCs anywhere in Uganda. How and where Museveni was able to get the artillery pieces, tanks, katysha howitzers and APCs are officially still secret.
The Junta's rule of six months was never popular anywhere in Uganda; not least in the North including Acholi from whence the Okellos came. The fall of the Okello Junta was seen as poetic justice throughout Uganda except in Buganda where the DP organized a big rally to welcome the start of Museveni's rule and for overthrowing a Junta in whose Cabinet the three top DP leaders - President, Secretary General and Treasurer - were members. No such rallies were organized either by the DP or the NRM in the West, East or North. The only consolation for the Okellos was another poetic justice when Museveni arrested and detained in 1987 the DP treasurer, Evaristo Nyanzi, who was the leader of the welcome rally for Museveni. Nyanzi was later charged with and prosecuted for treason but was acquitted by the High Court. He is now one of those in the divided National Executive Council of the DP, campaigning for resignation of all DP members from Museveni's regime.
After he had overthrown the Okello Junta, Museveni wasted no time in ordering an onslaught onto members of the UPC throughout Uganda especially in the Eastern Region. As an excuse to kill, arrest and beat, terrorize and brutalize UPC members in Busoga, Bukedi, Bugisu, and Sebei, Museveni's functionaries invented what they called "Force Obote Back Again" (FOBA) Movement. No such movement ever existed but thousands of UPC members were killed, arrested and detained, terrorized and brutalized for allegedly belonging to it. It is a sad commentary that the DP leaders and members not only gleefully welcomed but also assisted the NRA in the persecution of UPC members. Today, the ordeal covers and affects all in the East and North irrespective of Party affiliations; and as their members groan and die together, of course with UPC members, Ssemogerere and other leaders of the DP see nothing untoward with Museveni's regime. Being a Minister in Museveni's regime would appear to them to be of greater importance than the groans and deaths of thousands upon thousands of fellow citizens.
The ongoing genocide in Acholi, Lango, Teso and Bukedi began in total secrecy, in March 1986. No public pronouncements were made of any resistance to the NRA rule by the remnants of the Okello forces; of any rebellion or insurgency or gangsterism or banditry. Young men and former soldiers were simply picked up by the NRA and could not be found by relatives in Police Stations or military barracks. The NRA denied any knowledge of the young men and former soldiers having been picked up, even when they have been picked in the presence of witnesses, by the NRA. Such persons have not been seen to date. This exercise or operation went on from March to the beginning of August 1986, when Museveni, for the first time since seizing power in January, issued an urgent order which required all former soldiers, throughout Uganda, to surrender firearms in their possessions within ten days to NRA units.
While we may accept that the order was appropriate, it would be remiss not to see and appreciate the effect which that order had in the minds of former soldiers in Acholi whose comrades had been picked up and had disappeared and therefore the likely consequence of their surrendering their only means of defense in the then ongoing operation. It is pertinent also to examine and appreciate what those former soldiers from Acholi knew and felt about the cause or causes for non-implementation of the Nairobi Peace Accord, the fall of the Okello Junta and where else in Uganda former soldiers had appreciable stock of arms.
It was common knowledge that Museveni chose not to be a party in the formation of an UNLA/NRA regime to which he had agreed as per the Nairobi Accord. Instead he increased the velocity and the vulgarity of his attacks on the Junta and the UNLA and left no doubt whatsoever that his mission was not only to overthrow the Junta but also thereafter to "punish" the soldiery of the Junta. The said soldiery of the Junta had amongst them officers who had good education and above average understanding of the political and military situation then. They can not be expected not to have known that the Junta, in order to woe Museveni and gain his support, had surrendered intact to Museveni all the military and Police armories in the Western Region way back in August 1985. They also knew that the military and Police armories in the Eastern Region had not been disturbed, leave alone ransacked, when Okello and Okello stated their rebellion in July 1985. They also knew that in January 1986, it was they alone who carried arms except for the heavy one from military and Police armories in the East to their homeland. They further knew that they left in armories in Kampala not only considerable stocks of arms but also thousands of arms in the hands of their former allies in the Junta namely, Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM), and Federal Democratic Movement of Uganda (FEDEMU), had joined the NRA and were also engaged in the kidnappings in Acholiland. Lastly, they knew that their former allies, Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF) and Former Uganda Army (FUNA) had also joined the NRA.
The remnants of the Okello soldiery must have concluded that the ultimatum to surrender arms within ten days was a prelude for their wholesale arrest and murder. The danger, real or imaginary, led them to follow many of their numbers - who were already in Sudan but quite close to the border. In Sudan, Bazilio Okello, very much dazed in his stupidity of July 1985, took the decision to invade Uganda. His plan, as I came to learn later, was to destroy quickly the NRA and allies in Acholi and then march to Kampala. What happened deserves no comment except to point out that Bazilio Okello at that time was extremely unpopular and was detested throughout Acholiland and that whether Okello knew it or not, he gave Museveni the excuse he (Museveni) wanted in order to launch and put into effect a heinous scheme he had long harbored to exterminate the Northerners who, he is fond of referring to, as "backward and primitive people".
The invasion force did not take any NRA position nor even border posts. The force withdrew into Sudan within twenty four hours when the invasion petered out. To Museveni, however, the invasion had not petered out but a serious and an all out war had broken. This war, total war, was to be launched in Acholi and later to spread into Lango, Teso and North Bukedi with sorties throughout Bukedi, Bugisu and Busoga. This is a zone wherein the people detested Bazilio Okello and his force intensively - and wherein the UPC had massive support. In the first week, the NRA and allies (in fact mixed units) launched attacks on villages and homesteads throughout Kitgum District and in North Gulu District (Acholiland). It was then that Museveni used words which even Idi Amin or Jean Bedel Bokassa never used: "We massacred those backward chaps"! That phrase contains all the essential elements of Museveni's policy for the prosecution of his wars against the people. Massacres in Kitgum District and part of Gulu District forced many civilians to flee to Sudan whence they returned, armed, to defend lives and property against the outrages of a rapacious and gangster army - the NRA. REBEL, the ominous word around which Museveni justifies his massacres and earns the praises of the International Community, Media and Human Rights Organizations began in Museveni's regime in the manner described. Okello's invasion which was confined to and collapsed at a few border areas could not and can not be said to have been rebellion. In Museveni's eyes, it was a rebellion despite the fact that the people (Acholi) in the Districts invaded were overwhelmingly antagonistic to Bazilio Okello and his invasion force. To Museveni, however, the common factors which constituted rebellion were Okello being Acholi, invasion force was composed of Acholi or overwhelmingly Acholi and the territory attacked was Acholiland. To him, therefore, the Acholi, as a people, were in rebellion to his rule.
Museveni's common factors are, to put it mildly but succinctly, red-herrings. Bazilio Okello did not invade the other war zones - Lango, Teso and North Bukedi; neither did the people of those zones sympathized with Okello or the objective of the Okello invasion. There were also no organized groups or nuclei of rebels in those zones. The same goes for Museveni's other zones of aggression; Busoga, the rest of Bukedi, Bugisu and Bunyoro. A common factor is always important in any equation. Okello and his invasion force do not constitute a common factor in the wars which have devastated zones outside Acholiland; indeed not even Acholiland or zones of the NRA sorties. In the Luwero war, Museveni named his bogeyman, the sole agent of massacres, as "Northern soldiers", specifically Acholi and Langi soldiers or as "Obote's soldiers". There have been no "Northern soldiers" or "Obote's soldiers", in Museveni's wars in the East and North and now in Kasese District in the West. Such soldiers, therefore, whether they existed or not or did what was heaped wholesale onto them can not be said to have been the common factor in the Luwero war and also in the wars in the North and East. Whatever force fought the NRA in Luwero has not appeared in the ongoing wars but the NRA does. The Luwero war, therefore, becomes the key in finding a common factor, and for the identification of which force, in the Luwero war, had the obsession as in the on-going wars. That common factor can only be Museveni and his NRA. They were in the Luwero war and have been in the wars in the North and East. They started the Luwero war and also the wars in the North and East. The nature of the devastation is the same; and the tactics of showering blame onto opponents of the NRA are also the same in all the wars from Luwero to date.
The perceived wisdom is that Museveni and his NRA were, during the Luwero war, disciplined democrats who had taken up arms against a government they believed was illegitimate. The devastation and atrocities by the NRA in Luwero and later in the North and East show that the perceived wisdom missed the essence of Museveni's wars by a very wide margin: The subjugation of Uganda through extreme terror and violence in order to create a situation of total docility by the people to his will and whims. Through a combination of terror, violence and dissemblance, Museveni created such a situation in Luwero (about which more later) - but Luwero was a very narrow base - under 600,000 people (1979 census). Since January 1986, Museveni has been working to expand that base; thus the saturated dissembling propaganda in the "South" and outside Uganda about peace having returned to Uganda while at the same time wars rage in the North and East to expand areas of docility. There can be no doubt that after the subjugation of the North and East, the war of subjugation will be launched in the "South". There are already signs to that effect. The time for the "South" to come out of the topor - induced by Museveni - is now.
Meanwhile, opinion leaders in the so-called "South" sleep and remain totally mute on the matters of massacres in the North and East as if those Regions are not part and parcel of Uganda - one single body of sovereign people. Opinion leaders from the North and East are also silent presumably for fear of being branded "rebels"with dire consequences but there is no doubt that amongst them as well as in the "South" there are avaricious opportunists to whom even crumbs from Museveni's high table are more than enough to seal their mouths. In the frightening and terrifying situation where death is stalking every village and homestead; where foodstocks are destroyed and sources of drinking water are poisoned by marauding gangs of the NRA; where women are raped in the presence of their husbands, sons, daughters; and daughters raped in the presence of parents and brothers; where people are uprooted from their homes and taken to captivity and called "Lodgers" for simply being residents of the so-called war zones; where entire residents of villages are forced into Concentration camps, etc; and where opinion leaders are silent, what choice remains for the masses! The masses chose the only honorable course: To defend themselves against the repression of the Police State.
The people of Uganda started their struggle in 1986 against a rapacious, oppressive and massacring regime led by a demented man. They did so in their various localities. Museveni's pet and mocking song is that the uprisings had no cause! Defense against or opposition to this massacres are, to him, not valid. He has had the advantage because the uprisings were not organized and started simultaneously without prior preparations and were not coordinated. Be that as it may, the point I emphasize here is that the people of Uganda in the North and East - millions of them - rose against being massacred but the rest of the world has shown an excessive zeal to side with the megaslaughterer, and to underplay the scale of his atrocities! Late last year, the Romanians, starting in Timisoara also rose against their oppressive regime. The West led the world in encouraging Romanians to overthrow the regime and when that happened the world went wild with hilarity, precisely at the time when repression and massacres in Uganda had reached a megascale. In Romania, the head demon was killed while in Uganda he lives to kill and kill and kill. It is a most ghastly lesson the world is forcing Ugandans to learn. The task to regain freedom is for Ugandans. I am convinced that however long it may take and whatever protection the world affords to the oppressors, freedom shall be won and that the Pearl of Africa shall Rise and Shine Again.
PROFILE OF A DEMENTED MIND
The Sayings of Yoweri Museveni
The Sayings included herein are not exhaustive and were not uttered once but several times and continue to be Museveni's stock-in-trade. It defeats the imagination that whoever is not incorrigibly biased or simply indifferent, be they Ugandans or not, would disregard the meanings of these Sayings. The Sayings are given without comment. It makes no sense for Museveni's well-wishers abroad to project him as an educated man, which he is, who knows what he says and wants to do and at the same time to hold that when Museveni speaks of "massacres" he does not mean it or means well. The groans of Museveni's target victims directed to the world at large is this: - It may be in your interest that we be massacred; but how can it be in our interest that we be massacred.
"The rebels attacked us (NRA soldiers) at a place called Corner Kilak 20 miles South of Kitgum (Town). They came in while singing and shouting; our people (NRA) massacred those chaps. They approached our troops frontally. This gave us a very good chance because they exposed themselves; so on Sunday (January 24, 1987) we surrounded them and massacred them. We massacred them very badly. (Standard - Nairobi - January 21, 1987)
"Our role is to wipe out insecurity ... if we have to eliminate those chaps by force, we will do it". (Daily Nation - Nairobi - January 26, 1987)
"I don't know about torture. I have educated myself on many things but on torture I have not known the boundary between what is torture and what isn't torture. I know the NRA tie these people (rebels, etc.) when they catch them. They tie their hands backwards. I am now being told that is torture. It is the traditional method. (Daily Nation - Nairobi - January 26, 1987)
"I don't think we are destroying people's crops. We are destroying rebel crops and stores." (Daily Nation - Nairobi - January 26, 1987)
"The soldiers feel that the Police are not serious with the criminal elements and that they are corrupt. The army had to come in and insist that criminals must be punished. It happens in all countries, there is a time when the army assumes the duty of internal security". (Daily Nation - Nairobi - January 26, 1987)
"What is the Geneva Convention on wars! I have never read it". (TV Panorama Programme of the BBC, March 1986)
"In the areas which have been disturbed people are living cordially with the Security Forces. In areas like Gulu people are living peacefully. There is scrupulous respect of human rights". (Daily Nation - Nairobi - January 26, 1987)
"You see when you give them (civil population in the North and East) a good beating then those who are using them will no longer use them. Since the month of January (1987), we have given them much beating especially in Lira and Kitgum Districts. And in fact the week I left (for Yugoslavia) we had given them a good blow in Gulu District. So it is going to settle down". (New Vision - Official Daily of Museveni regime - January 19, 1987)
People have criticized what they called, "the scorched-earth policy", that is, civilians were moved from areas of rebel sanctuaries to population centers, and then the burning of houses and granaries, etc. to deny rebels food. Is this policy still in force?
That is a misnomer. There was no policy of scorched earth. There was a policy of destroying foodstuff being used by the rebels. The population was warned in advance through the dropping of leaflets by helicopters written in vernacular. I repeat this: There was no policy of scorched earth. There has never been such a policy. What there was was a policy to destroy food stocks that were assisting the rebels to continue disturbing the peace of the ordinary people. This was done after due notice was given to the population through dropping of leaflets in the disturbed areas of Gulu District well in advance, by the helicopters. These leaflets in vernacular were telling people to evacuate the fire areas where the security forces would clash with rebels, to safe zones. It was only food found in such areas that were destroyed. But not food belonging to wananchi.
Now, whether that policy is still continuing or not is no longer a major issue because we have already - even in some of the Counties in Gulu District, the rebels have been cleared and the population have gone back like Omoro County and Atiak, areas like Pabo and Amuro. We hear the population have already gone back, the operation was over. It is only in Nwoya County, that is Anaka, Olwio and the Park - that where they are still operational.
And in those areas, there isn't any food anymore. So there is nothing more to destroy. That is one of the reasons why the rebels are desperate. And that is why they are waylaying people on the road because they have nothing to eat and that is why they are surrendering in big numbers now because they have nothing to eat really.
Allegations of violation of human rights by the NRA appears to have made the civilians quite emotional. The last time we met, you said the human rights record of the NRA must be assessed in light of whether the mechanism for detecting these violations are in place, effective punishment of culprits and their code of conduct. The civilians there are not satisfied that these are being very effective in the sense that the culprits who could have been involved in violations in the war areas have not really been brought to book. Cases of indiscipline have been shown to have been from the more peaceful areas. There have been cases of murder, rape, followed up. There have been executions but not really in operational areas. As far as cases of atrocities are concerned, it has not been easy to identify the culprits in the war areas.
Whereas it has been much easier probably for the undisciplined ones in other areas to be identified. There is dissatisfaction and discontentment that these people have not been brought to book and the mechanism of identification has not been very effective.
Well...but my sister, that is the whole point. That is why we are saying and that is why we insisted that civilians should be evacuated from combat zones so that they are not mixed up in the fire between the rebels and the government forces. It is because we were aware of the difficulty of identifying who has done what in combat zone that we were insisting on this.
It is, of course, not easy. When people are fighting, it is not easy to know who has done what. Therefore, civilians were moved from these zones. Maybe crime committed in places that were peaceful were easier to unearth than those committed in combat zones. It is precisely because of that we insisted on this separation of law abiding citizens from those who happened to be bandits.
Therefore, people who were opposing us on this issue were actually murderers of civilians. Because they wanted civilians to be killed.
The Real Museveni
Museveni has a thirst for power in its most naked form. He believes intensely in violence as a means of governance and for holding power. He is an accomplished liar and a total stranger to truth. His method of conducting public affairs or his political Party, the UPM, and now his NRM/NRA is a combination of violence and lies. Museveni is an extremely poor, indeed inept, civil administrator. He seeks nor accepts advice from anybody on any matter and detests the conduct of public affairs through discussion, debate or competing ideas; his own ideas must be accepted as the only valid ones and all others are "bankrupt ideas". Yet he is not averse to steal ideas from others and claim to have been the originator, but often without clear understanding of how to implement the stolen ideas.
Museveni prefers militarist (violent) approach in the resolution of problems and issues but would also, at times, put forward a dissembling scheme,while preparing a military solution. Both on personal and public Affairs, there is no ethic, moral values or law which he would not either discard, flout or bend in order for him to achieve his designs. Museveni's propensity for bloodshed did not start in Luwero. The UPC government contained this mass killer within the Luwero Triangle. The Okello and Okello Junta facilitated the killer and now he brutalizes the whole country. Ugandans, who, for whatever reason, have not seen Museveni as a killer or think that they would be safe because they are close to him are in for a rude shock. Museveni kills not only those he sees or regards as his enemies but also those closest to him. I cite some examples:
In Tanzania in the early 1970s, a number of Ugandans who were very close to Museveni disappeared and have not been seen again. They included Mwesiga Black, Raiti Omongin, Miss V. Rwaheru (Museveni's housekeeper) and Martin Mwesiga (brother of Frank Mwine of the Uganda Commercial Bank). In the case of Martin Mwesiga, his sister Margaret, who was living and working in Arusha, personally told me in 1974 in Dar es Salaam the murky story about the disappearance of her brother. The gist of Margaret's story is that on several occasions in 1973, she asked Museveni about the whereabouts of her brother, who until he disappeared, was always with Museveni. Margaret told me and others that on each such occasion, Museveni gave her a different version of where Mwesiga was, ranging from Mwesiga being alive and well but on a mission abroad to Mwesiga undergoing a secret course. Late in 1973, Margaret said, Museveni told her that her brother had died in a battle in Mbale in February 1973. One of those present when Margaret gave this account was Enoka Muntuyera, the father of the present Commander of the NRA, Major General Muntu. Enoka and another Ugandan told Margaret that they had stayed in the same hotel as Museveni and Mwesiga in Tabora, Tanzania, in April 1973. Margaret had travelled to Dar es Salaam with another brother, Magara, to enlist my help for Magara to get a place in the University of Dar es Salaam. Magara who after his graduation joined the UNLA, defected and joined the NRA in 1981. In 1983, when he was on an NRA mission in a Kampala suburb, someone rang the Police to say that Museveni was in a house in the suburb. The house was surrounded and its occupants were asked to come out without their arms but instead the occupants opened fire. Magara died in the shoot-out. Two of Magara's NRA colleagues were taken alive; they were wounded. The two told the Police that as far as they knew, the mission was known only to Museveni, the house was safe and they got there at night as they had done previously. Margaret and Frank, Sister and Brother of Mwesiga and Magara are now in very lucrative positions.
In early 1979 after the capture of Ankole by the Tanzanian troops, Museveni organized hooligans, mostly from the two Refugee Camps, Rusinga and Nakivale, and led them in attacks and massacres of Muslims. He led the hooligans to the Kakoba Coffee Factory and burnt it down. He also organized an assault to burn down his former school, Ntare, but this was frustrated when patriotic Ugandans appealed to the Tanzanian troops to restrain Museveni which they did. In Mbarara Town, Museveni, the son of an itinerant immigrant, lived in Omugabe's Palace. His reasoning for the massacres of the Muslims, the burning of the coffee Factory, etc. was that in so doing the "wrath" of the "wananchi" (citizens) was being expressed against the Amin regime. It was immaterial to Museveni that the hooligans he was leading were not citizens and that the victims were citizens. What was of greatest importance was to show in the most unmistaken form that he was the new ruler in Ankole and that terror including massacres were to be instruments of his rule.
Museveni entered Uganda in early January 1979 in the company of the Tanzanian troops. Contrary to propaganda, he had no army which he left behind either in Tanzania or Mozambique and had no such army anywhere in Uganda. When his hooligans were restrained from attacking Ntare School and after they had dynamited Public Buildings in Mbarara Town, he began to raise an army. In the second part of February 1979, he returned to Dar-es-salaam where, at a meeting with me, President Nyerere determined that Museveni would henceforth lead the Ugandan component of forces then fighting against Amin. From Dar es Salaam Museveni, now the Supreme Commissar, went to Rakai and Masaka Districts where, again, in order to show the "wrath" of the citizens, much destruction was wrought. Houses of the affluent were dynamited as were Public Buildings, including Tropic Inn (Hotel). From there Museveni proceeded to Fort Portal which had fallen to the Tanzanian troops. In Fort Portal, like in Mbarara, Museveni stayed in the Omukama's Palace which was intact and furnished. In 1987 Elizabeth Bagaya, then Museveni's friend and Ambassador to the USA, in a tele-cin video, charged that "Obote's soldiers" destroyed in the 1960s her father's Palace; the same Palace in which Bagaya and Amin once stayed when she was Amin's Foreign Minister and in which Museveni stayed in 1979 when Obote was in Tanzania and had no soldiers in Fort Portal. It is known that Museveni ordered the destruction of the Palace when on April 11, 1979, David Oyite Ojok announced over Radio Uganda the fall of Kampala. The Supreme Commissar was said to have been very furious that someone else and not him had announced the fall of Amin.
With the approval of Tanzania, I sent in January 1979, two Teams to Western and Buganda Regions. Each Team had a medical doctor. The role of the Teams was the mobilization of the people in liberated areas so as to ensure good order, public health, rural production and trade, cooperation with the Anti-Amin forces and collection of arms abandoned by Amin's soldiers and surrendering such arms to the anti-Amin forces. Central to the mobilization exercise, was the establishment of Committees from the village to District levels. The 1970 UPC Party election regulations, for lack of a better form, were to be used with amendments in the establishment of the Committees. This meant that the residents of a village would assemble irrespective of Party affiliations at one place on the appointed day and elect a Committee and officials such as Chairman, Secretary, etc. and also the village delegates to the next Committee above the village level. Elections were to be in the form of the electors filing behind candidates for the various offices. Delegates elected from the villages would form the next Committee in the tier but at that level to the District level delegates were free to decide on whether or not to elect officials by filing behind candidates or by show of hands. Museveni vehemently opposed the very idea of these Committees. His position was that Uganda was in a revolutionary situation in which the barrel of the gun alone should and must be allowed to give birth to the new order. Chris Rwakasisi and Edward Rurangaranga were the leaders of the Team which went to the West and Samwiri Mugwisa led the Team which went to Buganda. After he became the Supreme Commissar, the two Teams were forced out of Uganda. They returned to Dar es Salaam and the exercise was thereby killed. Today, however, Museveni is credited with having been the originator of the so-called "grassroot democracy". The great difference between the original system and Museveni's, is that the latter is part and parcel of Museveni's instrument of control and oppression whereas the former was Peoples' non-partisan instructions. I do not believe that on account of the NRM Committees, Museveni can be said to have moved from being a Saul to being a Saint Paul on the matter of democracy.
There was also another Team which I sent to Uganda with the approval of Tanzania in February 1979. This Team was composed of agriculturists, veterinarians and economists. I should mention, in passing, that at that time, it was not certain that Tanzania would fight Amin to the bitter end. It was, therefore, imperative to assess the economic situation in Rakai, Masaka and Ankole which had been liberated with a view of presenting to Tanzania proposals designed to sustain the economic well-being of those areas in the event of such areas and Kigezi being cut-off from the rest of Uganda.
Museveni attacked this Team for allegedly interfering with the prosecution of the war. No wonder, therefore, that Museveni's pre-occupation with militarist approach to the exclusion of every other consideration destroyed the economies of Luwero, North and East. The Economic Team of 1979 like the Mobilization Teams were also forced out of Uganda.
The sting in the tail is that Milton Obote, whose ideas are described by Museveni as "bankrupt", was the originator of Museveni's so-called NRM grassroot democracy and the man who presided over a Cabinet which, after the 1980 elections, put together for the first time since the 1960s, bankable projects in a Rehabilitation and Recovery Program which Museveni now claims to be his work. That the implementations of the borrowed ideas have been difficult for Museveni can be ascribed to two reasons. First, his pre-occupation with militarist approach. Second, in the Uganda Saying (adage) that a woman who knows not what she is cooking will burn in vain her entire stock of firewood. Museveni does not believe in democracy and loathes the very heart of civil administration - discussion and competing ideas. He can not, therefore, implement the good ideas and programmes he has borrowed despite claiming them to be his own simply because his nature and temperament are diametrically opposed to those ideas and programs but which are useful to him only for propaganda purposes.
I return to 1979. There was a meeting in Mwanza, Tanzania, on June 8 and 9, 1979, between Presidents Nyerere and Lule and their advisors. I was at the meeting as an Observer and on the invitation of the host President. The meeting, as I gathered at the proceedings, was called to resolve a serious political and constitutional issue which had developed between President Yusuf Lule and his supporters on the one hand, and on the other Edward Rugumayo, the Chairman of the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF) and also the Chairman of the Interim-Parliament and his supporters.
Museveni at that time was Lule's Minister of State for Defence and was at the Mwanza meeting. I gathered from the speeches of the participants that the problem at issue was whether the Moshi Decision took precedent over the 1967 Constitution or vice-versa. Lule held that Chapter IV - (the Presidency) - in particular and indeed the Constitution as a whole, took precedence and that any Moshi Decisions which was at variance with the provisions of the Constitution was ultra vires the Constitution and therefore null and void. Rugumayo on the other hand, argued that the Moshi Conference was a constitutional making body, had on that basis spelt out its rules (Constitution) under which Uganda was to be governed on the fall of the Amin regime and that the 1967 Constitution was never specifically nor generally alluded to or referred to in the Moshi Conference.
The situation had been complicated and confused by several events which took place at and after the Moshi Conference. First, Semi Nyanzi, the Chairman of the Conference (before the election of Rugumayo to the office of the Chairman of the UNLF), had his sets of Minutes of the Conference decisions. Nyanzi was in the Lule camp. Another set of Minutes was from Omwony Ojwok (Rugumayo camp), the Secretary of UNLF and who published his Minutes (Moshi Decisions) in a pamphlet whereas Nyanzi's Minutes were cyclostyled and distributed or furnished only to whoever was in the Lule camp or whoever would advance the political fortune of the camp. The existence of the two sets of Minutes which disagreed with each other on vital issues on decisions taken at a Conference which each set purported to record, is a measure of how unstable and freak the foundation was for the new UNLF democratic beginning.
The second confusing event was that Lule was actually elected at Moshi, as the President of the UNLF and even the Omwony Ojwok's Minutes showed that the President of the UNLF would assume the office of the President of Uganda, on the fall of Amin. The late David Oyite-Ojok announced soon after midday, on April 11, 1979, on Radio Uganda the fall of Kampala. I must disclose, for the first time, that he rang me before the broadcast to ask for what to say. Telephones from Uganda and to Uganda had been cut. David went to a patriotic Ugandan Engineer and put him on the job, at dawn on that day, to open the lines. The engineer and David assembled the technicians as the battle for Kampala raged and bullets and mortar bombs whizzed over them and their paths to the Radio Station. I was naturally elated to hear his voice and to know that he was alive and in Kampala. My first question to him was whether he had phoned President Nyerere. When he answered "NO", I told him to ring the President before making any pronouncement on the Radio and he did. David asked me what to say. I dictated a short message which he told me he was writing on the back of an envelope. The message, as no one can deny, was a nationalist and a uniting message and was delivered in the name of the UNLF.
That evening Lule made a broadcast from Radio Tanzania which was also connected to Radio Uganda. Lule announced his Cabinet and promoted and appointed Military Officers that included David Oyite as Chief of Staff of the (Moshi) Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). At Mwanza, Lule agreed that the appointments and promotions he made and announced on April 11 were not vetted and approved before he made them public. Rugumayo's response was that Lule had acted contrary to the Moshi decisions and that since the Minutes had not been produced when the appointments and promotions were made by Lule (alone), they had been accepted in good faith but were not to be repeated. According to the Moshi decisions, Rugumayo said, all Presidential appointments and promotions had to receive the approval of the National Consultative Council (NCC) of the UNLF.
The situation was an inappropriate and a short sighted scheme very much as it is today in Museveni's NRM, where an organ of a political entity was deliberately institutionalized as national and designed to direct and control two different and distinct aspects of the body politics of the country. The National Consultative Council (NCC), like Museveni's National Resistance Council (NRC), was not only the supreme body of the UNLF, which in the UPC's case would correlate to our National Council and in the case of Museveni's National Resistance Council, the National Consultative Council, like the NRC, was also the Interim Parliament. Making the supreme organ of a political entity, be it Party, Movement or Front, to be also a national, non-partisan institution, is always a dicey matter in a situation where all political entities had not willingly given their consent. Lule, whose political affiliation hovered and swung rapidly between his membership of Kabaka Yekka (KY) and the DP and whose adherence or commitment to democracy at the very least was highly questionable, was "elected" to lead Uganda at a very trying and testing time. He was, however, not a fool. He saw clearly what he later called the "Moshi fraud" but whose central plank he never was able to discern despite the existence of plenty of evidence being readily in sight. Thus, Lule rejected the role of the National Consultative Council (NCC), the supreme organ of the Uganda National Liberation front (UNLF), itself a loose political entity, to require him, the President of Uganda, to submit to it his decisions on appointments and could find no such provision in the 1967 Constitution.
The issue had been compounded in April 1979. On April 13, 1979, Lule, the new President of Uganda, was sworn by Justice Sam Wambuzi on the 1963 Oath - the "Sovereign State of Uganda" and not on the 1967 Oath, the "Republic of Uganda". Within days, George Kanyeihamba, Lule's Attorney General and Minister of Justice, produced Proclamation No. I of 1979 (New Constitution) and Lule signed it. The National Consultative Council (NCC) was not consulted. In the Kanyeihamba/Lule Proclamation, certain chapters of the 1967 Constitution were left intact, others were amended but Chapter IV - the Executive; i.e., the Presidency was completely deleted. The effect was that by the Proclamation, Lule ceased to be the President of Uganda. This ludicrous situation arose because way back in 1971, Kanyeihamba had been fascinated by the Amin coup and wrote a piece in the Transition Magazine about how Amin came with a "Bang". In 1979, Kanyeihamba simply copied Proclamation No. I of 1971 but failed to notice that, as a populist ploy, Amin had in that Proclamation pretended to abolish the Office of the President which he later reinstituted. A new Proclamation was hurriedly issued to restore Lule's Presidency but Lule had taken the same Oath as Sir Edward Mutesa had taken and was therefore ipso facto a constitutional and not an Executive President. Edward Rugumayo and the Personnel of the UNLF Secretariat, particularly those who came to be known as the "Gang of Four" were also no fools. They knew that Lule was in a corner and they pressed their advantage. That forced Lule to go to the Interim-Parliament and to announce that from thence onwards governance would be on the basis of the 1967 Constitution, the very Constitution which was anathema to him on April 13, only weeks back.
The Mwanza meeting of June 8 and 9, 1979 was held to resolve the crisis within the UNLF. I have given at length the essential elements of the crisis, a political and constitutional crisis which was of great import, to show what part Museveni played in it. At Mwanza, Museveni was indifferent when the crisis was under discussion. He became alive and highly animated in the afternoon of the second day when new arrangements were discussed for the deployment of Tanzanian troops following the collapse of the Amin forces on June 3. Museveni told the meeting that with the assistance of Tanzanian Commanders, he had raised from within Western Uganda and trained more than ten thousand troops, three thousand of whom were in the West Nile and more would be sent there if the situation warranted and Tanzanian troops could therefore be withdrawn from the West Nile zone. As for the Kampala zone, Museveni said that he had seen a proposal that the UNLA, under the command of Tito Okello and Oyite Ojok, be deployed there but he did not approve that proposal.
He charged that the UNLA Officers were lax on discipline and had a fixation with legal niceties including Court-Martial. He then threw a bombshell when he told the meeting that in his army, he had ordered many executions without "colonial legal niceties". Today, friends of Museveni's cite cases of Courts-Martial as evidence of proper and legal conduct of the affairs of wayward soldiers. I will show that Museveni's Courts-Martial are a sham and illegal and that they are essentially summary executions.
Museveni was the Minister of State for Defense in the 1979 post-Amin Government. He was also the Vice-Chairman of the Military Commission of the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF) founded at Moshi, Tanzania, in March 1979, in a Conference of some then Ugandan exiles. In both capacities, Museveni wielded considerable powers. Although President Lule, and later President Binaisa assumed the office of the minister of Defense, it was Museveni who ran the Ministry and administered it as he wished. The Military Commission was moribund until it seized power in May 1980. Museveni remained Vice-President of the Commission until the General Elections held in December 1980.
Museveni's period as Minister of State for Defense was noted on three counts: -
He embarked on a large scale recruitment of a private army outside the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) which was founded at the Moshi Conference. This was without the approval of the Lule/Binaisa Cabinet or of the then Interim-Parliament.
At the fall of Lule, voted out by the National Consultative Council (NCC) of the UNLF, Lule supporters staged peaceful demonstrations in Kampala. Museveni personally led a contingent of troops in indiscriminate shooting of the demonstrators. This was in the third week of June 1979. In July and August of the same year, 15 (fifteen) highly qualified professionals were gunned down in their houses in Kampala. In three known cases, Museveni reached the scenes of crime within minutes of the shootings, allegedly to "console", mark the word "console", the widows!
The Ugandan contingent which together fought with the Tanzanian soldiers numbered around 1,300 men. I was their political leader. Museveni entered Western Uganda from Tanzania alone, of course in the company of Tanzanian troops. That was in January 1979. He immediately embarked on the recruitment of Banyarwanda (Tutsi) refugees who were in Refugee Settlements close to Tanzania border. The men were trained and armed by Tanzanian troops. It was, like the NRA, Museveni's personal army. It was this army which went with Tanzanian troops, to the West Nile Districts (Nebbi, Arua and Moyo) in May 1979. The Tanzanian troops withdrew from the West Nile in September. Museveni visited his army that month. Following the visit, a campaign of massacres, terror and destruction was launched. President Binaisa was pressed by many in the UNLF to remove Museveni from the Ministry of Defense which he did.
During the rule of the Military Commission, there was no Minister of Defense. The Commission as a Collegiate, handled all military matters. Thus Paulo Muwanga, David Oyite-Ojok, Zed Maruru and William Omaria curbed with some difficulties, Museveni's senseless killings. At the beginning of its rule, the Military Commission, with one dissenting voice - Museveni's - pledged and committed itself to holding multi-Party General Elections within the period the Moshi Conference had appointed. The period appointed was "within eighteen months after the total liberation of Uganda". Amin's forces were defeated and driven out of Uganda on June 3, 1979. It is a credit to the members of the Military Commission (minus Museveni) that they kept the pledge. In meetings of the Commission and of the Interim Parliament, Museveni was vehemently opposed to elections. His pet point was that Uganda was in a revolution and election was not necessary. Museveni even went to Tanzania and Mozambique where he appealed, in vain, to Presidents Nyerere and Samora Machel to stop the elections.
Museveni is very corrupt and presides over a regime which is equally very corrupt. In fact the nature of Museveni's corruption is some kind of mania. As already stated, he is acutely uncomfortable with his lowly background, a matter which to a normal person would be of pride. But the mania which he exemplified in 1979 by living at the Palaces of former rulers, has now led him to build with public funds, his own Palace in Mbarara District. The Palace was built and completed within three years. Some of the materials for building it were imported as were the furniture, fittings, carpets, etc. The Palace stands on a huge farm with hundreds of exotic cattle imported from abroad. The cattle, farm implements and tractors and vehicles were all bought with public funds. Workers at the farm are paid by the Office of the President and Museveni is, of course, the President.
In Museveni's regime, public funds are Museveni's private incomes and he uses public funds and resources as his mania directs him. Whenever he travels abroad he takes with him, as if he fears to return, huge amounts of US dollars in cash. His parents live in a government house in Kampala and all their expenses and requirements are fully met by the State. In addition, the State also pays them monthly subvention. His friends and those he calls "allies" in the regime or those whose mouths must be sealed are free to loot Uganda as they please. Samwiri Karugire, the Commissioner of Customs, and his wife have ten vehicles in Kampala; six for Karugire and four for his wife; Karugire and Museveni have been allies for many years.
Museveni's friends and protectors will not accept this real, corrupt Museveni. Appendix Three contains Museveni's own words where he admits corruption but like when he admits massacring Ugandans, his friends and protectors simply ignore the admissions. They also do not find it inconceivable that Museveni has large sums in banks in Europe. One of the conduits through which the peasants' hard earned dollars is being salted abroad is a Company by the name of ANL TRADING LIMITED, PO Box 4762, Nicosia, Cyprus.
FOOTSTEPS TO GENOCIDE
The Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) alone amongst Uganda's political Parties, Movements or Fronts has always been consistent in treating every election in Uganda strictly as constitutional and legal matters of great national importance. Where it was possible to go to Court and seek redress for alleged election malpractice, the UPC did so. There have, however, been elections where politics or political situations did not or were designed not to allow the electorate to freely express their will. In such situations the UPC worked, politically, to diffuse such situations and designs. I cite concrete cases.
The first ever direct elections were held, on a near adult franchise, in 1958 for the Legislative Council (LEGICO). The Colonial Government had decreed that the elections were to be held only in those "Districts which wanted them". This meant that each District Council was to opt for or against the elections. In the event, some District Councils decided against elections and the elections were therefore not held in those Districts. Buganda Lukiiko also decided against the elections and with the same result. The Congress took this as a political campaign and program, in favor of elections. By the time of the 1961 elections, the whole country, except Buganda, was for elections.
The 1961 elections in Buganda was a farce. The boycott of the elections ordered by the Buganda Lukiiko was overwhelmingly obeyed. I quote from the Report of the Supervisor of Elections - a British Officer:
"The number of people who registered in the electoral districts (Constituencies) outside Buganda totalled 1,300,433 out of the estimated 1,500,000 - 1,750,000. This represents a registration of between 75 percent and 85 per cent of those enfranchised".
In the 24 electoral districts (Constituencies) in Buganda where, due to the attitude of the Kabaka's government, only 36,006 registered as voters - a "4 to 5 per cent registration resulted". The political and constitutional problems which that "4 to 5 per cent registration" presented, on the eve of Independence, if Independence was to be attained soon and resting not least on an elected National Assembly in which the whole country had confidence were serious and demanding. The boycott edict did not stop at registration; it went on up to the polling day and the poll was derisory.
The two main Parties, the UPC and the DP, took opposite views on the political meaning and effect of such a low and derisory registration and poll in Buganda. Both Parties had campaigned against the boycott, urged its members to register and to vote and filed candidates. On that ground, therefore, both Parties were at one in accepting the constitutionality or legality of the registration and poll. I had since 1959, through the good offices of Mrs. Pumla Kissonsonkole who, like me, was a member of Legico, been in contact (often accompanied by Abu Mayanja) with the Kabaka, Sir Edward Mutesa, and with his knowledge also with his Prime Minister and other Ministers. By means of those contacts, we put to Mengo authorities a strong case in favor of elections and for Buganda, like the rest of the country, to have effective representation in the National Assembly. Mayanja later became a Minister at Mengo and dropped out from the UPC Program.
The DP on the other hand regarded the facts of the registration and poll in Buganda as defeat for Mengo and totally disregarded and ignored the stark political reality which had prevented the overwhelming majority of the electorate in Buganda to register and to vote. In the elections (1961) where the Buganda boycott edict did not apply and where the elections were "free and fair" the UPC defeated the DP - 34 seats to 24 seats. There was a successful petition to the High Court and in the ensuing by election, the UPC won and increased its seats to 35 thus reducing the DP seats to 23. However, the DP was more successful than the UPC in getting their supporters in Buganda to register and vote and the DP won in that Region, gaining 20 seats to one seat won by the UPC. The derisory nature of the poll and indeed the farce of the election in Buganda, may be seen in the fact that in nine Constituencies, contested by eighteen candidates, less than 1,000 votes were cast in each for all the candidates. In the Constituency of the current President of the DP, Paul Ssemogerere, for instance, a total of 358 votes were cast; i.e., only 358 people voted for Ssemogerere and his opponent. In no Constituency in Buganda did the total votes cast reach 2,000 but voters in Ssemogerere's Constituency did better than in two other constituencies which the DP also won on a total votes of 132 and 133 cast in each respectively for all the candidates.
That is the sad story of the 1961 elections which the DP leaders have always and continue to sing as having been "free and fair". The UPC disagreed then and still disagrees. The effective boycott made the elections not only unfair to the electorate outside Buganda but was also patently not free in Buganda in that a very, very large number of the electorate were politically hindered from participating. Unlike the DP, the UPC could neither disregard nor ignore the serious political situation which the boycott had imposed on national unity and on the institution of Parliament as well as on governance by the ballot freely cast by the electorate. There were three possible ways to tackle the problem. The first - which I have already stated, was the one the DP took but which the UPC rejected namely, that Mengo had been defeated and that the evidence was the twenty one members in the national Assembly representing the Constituencies in Buganda. The second was increased political campaign to get more and more people in Buganda to defy Mengo and to opt for elections at some future date. This was the original position of the UPC. It soon became clear that the confrontational course was fraught with considerable dangers to lives and property. Campaigners and activists for the Mengo stand launched a reign of terror against supporters of political Parties alleging that such supporters were undermining the authority of the Kabaka. The real issue which had existed for years, however, was the position of the Kabaka and therefore Buganda in an independent Uganda.
The more Mengo articulated that issue, the more the UPC pressed Mengo to call off the campaign of terror so as to create a political climate for the discussion of the issue. That was the third course for the UPC. Mengo did call off the campaign of terror and the Colonial Government appointed what was called Relations Commission. Mengo at first did not want to have anything to do with the Commission just as it did in the case of the Constitutional Committee in 1959. This time, the UPC succeeded in persuading Mengo to present its case to the Commission and the Commission's Report recommended that Buganda should have a form of Federal status in the united Uganda.
The matter of the elections of the 21 members of the National Assembly from Buganda being elected indirectly by the Lukiiko did not originate from the UPC or as I came to learn later from Mengo either.
The first time I heard about it was when the UPC evidence was being presented to the Relations Commission. Members of the Commission asked what would be the position of the UPC should Mengo agree to the 21 members being elected by the Lukiiko and argued that in that way the impasse which the boycott of elections which the Lukiiko had imposed would be broken. We asked for time to consider the matter and took the opportunity to gauge Mengo's view on it. I found that the idea had been put to Mengo by the Commission and that Mengo had neither accepted nor rejected it. I also gathered that provided Mengo's main concern, Federal Status for Buganda, could be settled, the issue of the Lukiiko's resolution against elections would be rescinded.
In a subsequent meeting with the Commission, the UPC delegation urged for direct elections. The Commission, in its Report, recommended that a directly elected Lukiiko should decide whether the 21 seats in Buganda should be filled by directly or indirectly elected members. When I discussed this recommendation with the Mengo authorities, I found that they were in some kind of a quandary. They were not sure of whether or not to accept it and the reason for that uncertainty laid in dissolving the Lukiiko and the election of a new one on adult universal franchise and in secret. The Lukiiko had some very vocal members who wanted nothing to do with the National Assembly; in December 1959 those vocal members had made the Lukiiko to pass a resolution which purported to excise Buganda from Uganda-secession. The Mengo Ministers, particularly the Katikiro (Prime Minister), Michael Kintu, were fearful that accepting the Commission's recommendation could lead to the fall of the Mengo government. Kintu told me that right from the 1900 Buganda Agreement, Buganda recognized only British Protectorate authority as being above that of the Lukiiko and that the British were in collusion with the political Parties to impose onto Buganda and above the Lukiiko another authority, the National Assembly and an Uganda Government. Left to Michael Kintu, there was no way of resolving the impasse. I, therefore, took the matter to the Kabaka Sir Edward Mutesa and the impasse was resolved.
The decision I later reached with Michael Kintu was precisely what the Relations Commission had recommended; namely, Buganda's Federal Status - the content of which was still to be negotiated by Mengo and the rest of the country including political Parties - and I reserved the position of UPC on a new elected Lukiiko to decide on the mode of the elections of members of the National Assembly to represent the 21 Constituencies in Buganda. I reported this to the UPC Parliamentary Group and to the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the UPC. Michael Kintu had, however, urged me not to make public the decision we had reached and the UPC never did. That then was the situation when the first Constitutional Conference was opened in London in late September 1961. The UPC had, through patient negotiations with Mengo, advanced progress to the unity of Uganda whereby Mengo had accepted the desirability of the National Assembly and for Buganda to be represented in it. It is a matter of record that the leaders of the DP never sought to approach Mengo. To the DP leaders at that time, all that was important was their being in power, in fact sharing it with the British and their demand that the British hand over full powers to them. The farcical 1961 elections in Buganda were to them free and fair and the derisory poll in Buganda was a full mandate for the DP to govern Uganda. History is now repeating itself. The present leaders of the DP say that they are in power, sharing it with Museveni and his NRA and the DP's only demand today is that Museveni should hand over full powers to the DP. Museveni's massacres are of no concern to the DP leaders.
Before the London Conference, I was directed by the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the UPC to endeavor to persuade Mengo to agree to Buganda's 21 seats in the National Assembly to be filled through direct elections and not indirectly, through the Lukiiko. All that I could get from Mengo was that despite the understanding I and Kintu had reached, the matter and indeed the whole issue of Buganda's relations with the rest of the country would be decided by the Lukiiko after the Conference. The Central Executive Committee of the UPC also, therefore, decided that the matter of direct or indirect elections for Buganda members of the National Assembly be decided by the National Council (Parliament) of the Party after the London Conference if, at the Conference, Mengo had opted for indirect elections. In London, at the Conference, Mengo delegation, in a separate (side meeting) with the British side opted for indirect elections. I soon learnt that the British had something for each of the main participating delegations. To the Mengo delegation, it was the indirect elections. To the DP delegation, it was Benedicto Kiwanuka, the Chief Minister, becoming Prime Minister on March 1, 1962. To the UPC delegation, it was fresh elections to be held in April 1962. There was no disagreement amongst the delegations to the content of Buganda's federal status but there were reservations as to whether the same contents should be extended to Bunyoro, Toro, Ankole and Busoga.
It is illuminating that in London, the DP and the UPC agreed to fresh elections as did Mengo and to Buganda representatives in the National Assembly being elected indirectly by the Lukiiko. At the end of the Conference on October 9, 1961, Kiwanuka, the leader of the DP and Chief Minister and I both publicly stated that the Conference was a success. Independence was agreed for October 9, 1962; Kiwanuka and I were happy with that. As already stated, Kiwanuka was also happy that he would be Prime Minister on 1st March, 1962 and I was happy that fresh elections would be held in April 1962. In London or back in Uganda neither of us expressly condemned the indirect election for the Buganda members of the National Assembly.
After the London Conference, the meeting of the UPC National Council decided against the UPC putting up candidates for the Lukiiko elections. It was not a boycott and contrary to what has been written and said, there was no alliance or anything of the kind when that decision was made. The reasons for the decision were two. The first was that the UPC had inherited from its parent, the UNC, a political mission for direct elections as a form of governance and that although participation in the Lukiiko elections was on consonance with the promotion of that mission, the Lukiiko being an electoral College for a quarter of the members of the legislature of Uganda, was not. The 1958 experience was recalled. The District Councils which in 1958 decided against direct elections had each a majority of the two main Parties combined but despite the Parties' stand for direct elections, other forces worked to ensure decisions for indirect elections. The National Council saw nothing which would or could hinder Mengo from ensuring that the new elected Lukiiko would decide for indirect elections and, therefore, decided against participation in the Lukiiko elections.
The second reason was taken in the light of the tense political situation, particularly between the DP leaders and Mengo and also on account of the unresolved issues which included the contents of the federal status of Bunyoro, Toro, Ankole and Busoga. There were also other matters such as the "Lost Counties" and whether Mbale Town was in Bugisu or Bukedi District. On account of such matters the National Council decided that the UPC should work for the promotion and realization of a National Coalition government to be formed after the elections due to April 1962 and I was mandated to propose and discuss the decision with the DP and Mengo. I decided to approach the DP first. I approached Ben Kiwanuka in Parliament Buildings, Kampala, at Tea time and told him that I wanted a meeting with him to discuss the desirability of a National Coalition government after the forthcoming elections.
I would write, I said, formally if he could indicate to me that the idea was worth pursuing. He told me that he would be in contact later. He never did and I kept on reminding him until he one day told me that he was not interested. As Kiwanuka kept dithering, I approached Mengo. By then Kabaka Yekka had been founded. It was founded during the London Conference and the UPC had nothing to do with how it came into being.
At first Mengo readily accepted the idea of a national coalition government. That was the beginning of what later came to be known as UPC/KY alliance. However, when it became clear that the DP was using its position as the government, seeking to restrict new registration of voters in Buganda and to have the 1962 elections held virtually on the electoral Registers of 1960, which had less than 40,000 electors, Mengo and KY - the difference was the same - urged the exclusion of the DP from the Coalition. The scheme of the DP to curb the registration of new voters in Buganda was resolved when the conduct of the elections was taken away by the British Governor from the Chief Minister's portfolio and became the responsibility of the Governor. As a result, a total of 805,647 people registered as voters in Buganda compared to the derisory 36,006 who were on the register for the 1961 elections. The UPC has never been given credit for persuading Mengo to agree to surrender the power of the ballot to some three quarters of a million people in Buganda. Instead the UPC has been condemned and continues to be condemned ad nauseam for accepting the voice of 805,647 electors as more nearer to the voice of Buganda then than the voice of 36,006 electors.
That is the nut of the opprobrium which is hurled against and onto the UPC by the leaders of the DP, other Ugandan political shell-groupings, biased or uninformed journalists and academics, militarists, the ignoramuses of the UPC's political plank and mission or agents of imperialism, colonialism and big businesses who hate and oppose that plank and mission. Even now, in 1990, the DP leaders, for instance, unashamedly assert that in 1961 at the London Conference, the British, UPC and Mengo colluded in a dirty scheme to overthrow the then "democratically elected DP Government". The same has been said about an alleged collusion between the British and the UPC (or Obote in particular) to frustrate and then overthrow the "UNLF democratic administrations". Such assertions, claims, propaganda and self deception may and can have roots abroad; i.e., outside Uganda but in Uganda, they have no currency and are treated with utmost contempt. The facts as known in Uganda speak for themselves.
There was never any collusion between the UPC, the British and Mengo to oust the 1961 DP government and replace it by the UPC/KY alliance. In 1961, the UPC decided to get Mengo to lift the boycott of the National Assembly and elections to it; KY was not even in being. The UPC also did not urge Mengo to change its stance and demand for immediate dissolution of the National Assembly to be followed by elections. Some detractors have also argued that it was opportunistic and filthy for the leftist UPC to go to a right wing and reactionary traditionalists and in 1962 to form a coalition government with them. The truth of the matter is that Mengo had locked up and detained thousands upon thousands of votes and it was Mengo alone who had the key to unlock and release those votes; i.e., whether they were for Mengo, the DP, the UPC or any other. The important consideration was that Mengo, reactionary or traditionalist, was an integral part of Uganda and so were the votes locked up and detained by Mengo. As a national political Party, it would have been grossly remiss of the UPC to disregard reactionaries, and traditionalists as not part of Uganda and to ignore their concern, real or imaginary or the power they had exhibited in frustrating the 1961 elections in Buganda.
Let me digress a little. In 1979 at Moshi and under the Lule, Binaisa and Military Commission administrations of the UNLF, reactionaries and traditionalists were the most sought after single group. They were seen by those who were the rulers to be the strongest bulwark against the UPC. How else can one explain the sudden emergence of Yusuf Lule in the Moshi Conference from no known anti-Amin grouping and the shameful maneuvers at Moshi where the Presidency of the UNLF was reserved for Lule. Paulo Muwanga was rejected and Lule, a reactionary to boot, was declared "elected unanimously". Today, and since 1986, in Museveni's regime, the reactionaries are everywhere and in key positions and their job is to shout loudest as Bagaya did in 1987 that there was peace in Uganda. In the 1980 elections, the DP filed as candidates a large number of reactionaries. It would follow, therefore, that it is only the UPC which must have no dealings with the reactionaries even if it is for the promotion and the realization of the ends of democracy or national unity. This outlandish attitude where anything done by the UPC is or must be wrong and where the same, if done by opponents of the UPC, is and must be proper, is one of the root causes of Uganda's agonies. The UPC is, unlike several of its opponents, a very big Party with massive support which has been proved again and again in all the elections which have been held in Uganda.
The political understandings reached between the UPC and Mengo were not against the unity of Uganda and had no opportunist element whatsoever either for the UPC or for Mengo. The matter of the indirect election of Buganda's representatives in the National Assembly, properly seen was, in fact more of a challenge to the political Parties than a victory for Mengo. The challenge was contained in the facts that Buganda was to be divided into 68 (sixty eight) Lukiiko Constituencies; that universal adult franchise was to apply and did apply in the registration of voters; that elections were to be in secret; that political Parties and independents were free to contest the elections and that only those 68 elected members of the Lukiiko plus six Mengo Ministers and six nominees of the Kabaka were to decide on whether or not the Buganda Members of Parliament should be directly elected. The challenge to the political Parties was to win in 41 (forty one) of the 68 Constituencies and thereby have a pro-direct election majority in the Lukiiko. The DP leaders believed at the time that their Party could get the majority. They got only three seats and Kabaka Yekka (KY) won 65 seats.
After the Lukiiko elections in February 1962, and before it met, the UPC had meetings with the Mengo authority at which Mengo was urged to opt for direct elections. The UPC argued that the electorate would not swing appreciably from the results just declared and that through direct elections, the 21 representatives would have direct attachments with their Constituencies and constituents rather than be just posted thereto by the Lukiiko. Mengo's response was that all KY candidates had campaigned on the programme of indirect elections and that the KY votes were for indirect elections. The Lukiiko subsequently met and duly voted for indirect elections. Some of the Lukiiko members who voted so were, like I.K. Musazi and E.M.K. Mulira, stalwarts in the Uganda nationalist cause. It is difficult and hypocritic to accept that they joined the KY to promote national unity and at the same time to say that UPC did wrong to form a Coalition Government with the same KY. Because the Lukiiko opted for Buganda's 21 members of the National Assembly to be elected indirectly, Parliamentary elections were, therefore, not held in Buganda in 1962.
What came out of the 1961 and 1962 elections had shown itself in the 1958 Legico elections and was to rear its ugly head in every subsequent elections of all kinds. We have seen how Mengo accepted universal adult suffrage for the 1962 Lukiiko elections but manoeuvred to get the 65 KY Members of the Lukiiko to decide for indirect election for the Buganda members of the National Assembly.
Mengo did it constitutionally just as the DP had won the 1961 elections constitutionally. In both cases, the UPC accepted the constitutionality of the election results but saw that much political work remained to be done to remove hindrances which distort the will of the electorate. However, in the rest of the country, outside Buganda, the 1962 was virtually a repeat of the 1961 elections. The DP was again beaten by the UPC - 24 seats to 37 seats which after a successful petition to the High Court and a bye-election was reduced to 23 to 38 seats for the UPC. The DP accepted the constitutionality of the 1958 and 1961 elections but not of the 1962 and 1980 elections. In the case of the 1980 elections, they could easily have proved their case if they had it in the High Court but did not do so and instead resorted to baseless propaganda and consorting with gunmen.
In the 1961, 1962 and 1980 elections, other Parties abroad provided for the DP considerable resources; money, vehicles, public address systems and even foreign advisers. In 1984, those masters of the DP met in a conference in Kampala and Ssemogerere invited me to address them which I accepted. I told them that what they were doing to Uganda could be likened to a man who goes to the home of a poor couple and proceeds to woo the wife with gifts. Ssemogerere asked "who is the wife" and I said "you and the DP" and added that it was not natural for a seducer to woo the husband. The Uganda elections of 1961, 1962 and 1980 were, therefore, in those circumstances heavily influenced from abroad and it was only the strength of the UPC which stopped them from being travesties of the will of the electorate. This is a matter on which I hold a very strong opinion to the extent of even at times, throwing away diplomacy in dealing with it. The consequences have been serious. During the second UPC administration, for instance, I wrote a letter to a Head of Government in which I implored him to discontinue financing of the DP by his Party and affiliates. I never received a reply but economic assistance from that country to Uganda was immediately discontinued and the excuse floated was that my Government's human rights record was bad. Today, with massacres, burnt down villages, homesteads, granaries, etc, and with the DP in the regime, the human rights record of the Museveni regime is very good and aid is available but can not be used fully because of the wars which are Museveni's excuse for genocide.
It is perhaps not known by many that in the 1980 elections, the DP and indeed the UPM and the CP did not issue election Manifestos and that it was the UPC alone which did. The problems in which Uganda was engulfed were daunting, intricate and myriad; some were also very sensitive. It is therefore possible that the leaders of the other three Parties chose silence as the best policy and yet by doing so they made it impossible for the electorate to choose between competing ideas and programs. Be that as it may, I am also of the view that at least for the DP leaders, their friends abroad must have advised them not to commit themselves on any matter in respect of the future. That was the advice which those friends gave to the DP leaders for the 1961 and 1962 elections; in fact the advice given was accepted and published in the only Manifesto which the DP ever produced in April 1960. In that Manifesto, the DP leaders did not, for instance, recognize the existence of Liberation Movements, they were not mentioned at all. The UPC, on the other hand, in its policy statement issued in march 1960, pledged to "establish fraternal relations with and offer support to all Nationalist Movements on the Continent of Africa". The implementation of the pledge was to cause, in 1963, ill feelings between the first UPC administration and former Colonial Rulers. I give how the ill feelings came about and on a matter which I thought was innocuous but which London and NATO countries saw otherwise.
It began when I was in London in 1962. Uganda was not yet independent. Mrs. Pumla Kissonsonkole was also in London on a mission unconnected with my being in London. Pumla came to my hotel without appointment one afternoon and told me of the presence in London, of certain people from South Africa whom she knew and thought I should meet. What she said was to my heart and an article of faith to the UPC. Pumla and I decided to go and meet those "certain people" very much in the same way as she had come to my hotel; i.e., without appointment. That was when I met Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and four other leaders of the Africa National Congress (ANC). The ANC leaders asked for Uganda Passports for their cadres and for the Passports to be endorsed for travel to "all countries". At that time, before Independence, Uganda Passports were endorsed for all countries except "Communist (ruled) countries". I readily agreed to the ANC request and after Independence redeemed my promise, I hope, to their satisfaction.
Soon after independence, the endorsement in the Uganda passport was changed to all countries "except South Africa, Portugal and Portuguese Colonial Territories". Looked at today, it seems totally nothing, but in 1963, such a policy and posture by a neo-colonialist State was regarded seriously by NATO countries as evidence of communist control of the neo-colonialist government. Thus that simple change, in the endorsement of the Uganda passport and the issuing of the same to the ANC, confirmed to the NATO countries that the UPC was communist controlled. Obviously other African countries such as Ghana and Tanzania must have made similar changes in their passports. It can not, therefore, be argued convincingly, that the UPC administration was singled out as unfriendly to NATO countries on the matter of passports. The circumstances were, however, deeper than that.
In Uganda, before Independence, the most important question which was put to an applicant for a passport was whether the applicant had been to a "communist country"; an affirmative answer or a lie meant the automatic denial of a passport to the applicant. But the UPC had done worse things in the eyes of the NATO countries. The Party had sent "secretly" students to the Warsaw Pact Countries and to China and some of those students were from Tanzania and Kenya; the Party also had an office in Cairo and had forged a very close relationship with the Afro Asian Solidarity Committee whose Headquarters was in Cairo. I, as the leader of my Party, had visited East Germany, the Soviet Union and China in 1960. The visit became known and the British Governor later, on my return, threatened to deprive me of my passport. The Party's Administrative Secretary, Otema Allimadi, did also go to those countries. I do not know whether Africa's illustrious leaders such as Kwameh Nkrumah or Julius Nyerere had, before independence, visited Warsaw Pact Countries and China or sent students there. In our case, the matter became a very hot political issue in the 1961 and 1962 elections. The DP branded the UPC as communist and the rich Parties in Western Europe poured resources to help the DP to defeat the communists. It is in that context that I have always treated the request by the ANC leaders for Uganda passports, simple as it now appears, as a test case when the UPC government disregarded the wishes of the NATO countries and the reactionary opinion at home against Warsaw Pact Countries and China. I do also believe that had the DP been in government at independence, the DP government would not have given any concrete support either to the ANC or any Liberation Movement and would have also continued with the colonial policy which forbade Ugandans from travelling to Warsaw Pact countries and China. The silence of the DP leaders in 1980 on big and small issues was, in my view, not only on advice from their friends abroad but also designed as the basis for misrepresenting UPC policies in the event of the UPC winning the 1980 elections which became the case.
There are a whole range of matters and issues which the first UPC Government faced but resolved in favor of the interest of Uganda and African revolution. The NATO countries disclaim that they have no strategic interests in Uganda but who does not know that Uganda lies between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans or that Uganda is the under-belly of the Arab world and, therefore, that the Arab/Israeli conflict is quite close to Uganda. The Frontline States of today originally had three members, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda. Despite the above disclaimer, the first UPC Government was forced against its desire not to have the Embassy of East Germany in Uganda and was threatened with dire consequences, if it arranged with the Soviet Union for geologists from there to determine the quantity of wolframite and, therefore, the commercial value of Tungsten known to exist in Uganda. And how come that the Brussels based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) chose to build a College in Uganda, on the eve of Independence, when at the time and of the three East African countries, Uganda had the least number of workers and the weakest trade unions. It is not necessary to serialize issues, matters or decisions on which the UPC and the British or for that matter NATO and WARSAW Pact counties were in conflict. On the other hand, no one can produce any concrete evidence of any conflict between the DP or the UNLF and those other countries collectively or individually. Yet it is politicians from those groupings who hide their lack of popular support by claiming that they were frustrated by the capitalist countries or by the communist countries. Events have proved all such deceptive stratagems to be hollow on two broad fronts; at home and on the international plane.
In the first place, soon after Amin's coup, Ugandans who today shout loudest and present themselves as socialists and progressives sided with Amin. At a series of meetings at Makerere, some of these socialists and progressives urged the students to support Amin on two grounds. First, that Amin be encouraged to appoint more and more progressives to import posts and in time, the progressives would overthrow Amin. The second ground was that Amin was "not against the progressives and was only killing Obote's people"! Imagine such words coming from the brains and mouths of people claiming to be progressive. The so-called "Obote's people" as was well known, were Langi, Acholi and UPC leaders. To the so-called Ugandan socialists and progressives, the killings of the Langi, Acholi and UPC members was a most important socialist reconstruction of Uganda. They got the jobs but later fell out with Amin.
On the international plane, the stratagems were also shown to be hollow when both WARSAW Pact and NATO countries found Amin a man with whom to do business. Uganda immediately became a "free market" where East Germany and North Korea opened their Embassies with the approval of all. The Ugandan so-called socialists and progressives could not understand what was happening because they did not know that the interests of a country, West or East, is of higher importance than the promotion of ideology.
In March 1979, the progressives and the reactionaries were permitted by Tanzania to organize and convene what became to be known as "Moshi Unity Conference". It was, despite the name, a farce. The majority of the 22 or so individual "organizations" which composed the conference never existed before the conference and naturally have never been heard of since the conference; they were "founded" at the conference for a specific purpose and when that purpose was realized at the conference they ceased to exist. The UPC and the DP were represented at the conference. The conveners had written to me as Milton Obote, inviting me to the conference and I was to lead a delegation of five. I did not go to the conference on verbal and written advice by the President of Tanzania but sent a delegation which was promptly locked out. Uganda students in Scandinavia, the University of Zambia and Dar se Salaam University whose organizations had been in existence long before the conference also sent delegations but were all locked out from attending "Unity Conference". The Dar es Salaam University students had members on the frontline and their two delegates had been in the war with Amin's forces in Tororo. The women whose husbands were engaging Amin's forces in Masaka had their own delegation formed in 1973 in Tanzania; their delegation was locked out. In the end, three times as many Ugandans as those in the Unity Conference were locked out. Had that been done by the UPC and not against the UPC, the detractors of the Party and the international media would have condemned it savagely. However, since it was against the UPC, it was democracy at work.
It has been argued by the conveners of the Moshi Conference that it was important to ensure that the conference was not flooded by what they called "Oboteists". It is a most illuminating admission carrying the inescapable meaning that the unity of Uganda depends on the humiliation and the locking out of "Oboteists" from discussing and forging that unity. The corollary is that "Oboteists" must be suffered if necessary to have only a limited voice even if or where they deserve, on account of their numbers, a great voice. Moshi was hailed as a democratic and a most successful "Unity Conference". The point is who said so; certainly not the people of Uganda.
After Moshi, the leaders of the UNLF purported to hold democratic elections for the expansion of the membership of the Interim-Parliament. The method they chose was indirect election by nominated members of the District Councils. Candidates were vetoed and anyone not approved could not stand. That was the measure of confidence the UNLF leaders had in the electorate and also the nature of their belief in democracy. One young Ugandan academic, supporter of the DP and very much opposed to the UPC, I.C. Ovonji of the Faculty of Law, University of Lesotho, has asserted that those "elections resulted in a DP victory". How the DP could have gained such a victory when officially neither the DP nor the UPC were allowed to put up candidates is an example of the acceptance of any farce, provided it can be shown to be against the UPC, as genuine democratic act. The leaders of the UNLF saw their 1979 election farce as democratic and so did the leaders of the DP. The UPC regarded the Moshi Conference and the UNLF elections and indeed the UNLF administration, as concrete political situations brought about not by the will of the electorate. The UPC accepted the reality of the situation but argued for direct elections and the Party thereby earned the wrath of the UNLF leaders.
It is of significance that although the UNLF was a "Front", a coalition of various organizations of which the UPC was one, the leaders of the UNLF never consulted me, the leader of the UPC, on any matter. Indeed the UNLF leaders at Moshi and later at home, sought to make it appear that the UPC had ceased to exist or was too unpopular in Uganda as not to merit giving it any consideration. Such attitude energized the UPC even more to call for direct elections but the detractors of the UPC seemed, inexplicably, to hold that I and the UPC were so unpopular that it was their duty to protect me and the UPC from humiliation at the polls! It was indeed amazing that opponents of the UPC should take such a position while continuing to propagate, as they still do, that the UPC was working to wreck the pillars of democracy they claimed to have been erecting. One such pillar was to do away with political Parties and was initially to start with holding elections under what was called "UNLF Umbrella" where individual Parties were not to put up candidates. No one discussed this important matter with me or separately with the UPC members who were in the Interim-Parliament. The matter was simply announced. The UPC could not simply disregard the locking out of delegations at Moshi allegedly for being "Oboteist"; i.e., UPC or the vesting of candidates which happened only a few months back. The UPC decided that it had a higher responsibility to the nation and to its members than to the un-elected UNLF.
I returned to Uganda on May 27, 1980, after over nine years in exile and after a little longer than a year and a month since the fall of Amin. It was the UPC alone, after the fall of Amin, which organized a mammoth rally to welcome its leader home. Leaders of other political Parties or fractions had simply slipped into Uganda as if their arrivals were embarrassing to them. On return home, I embarked on gruelling tours of the whole country. I addressed huge rallies everywhere I went, visited schools, hospitals, homes and villages, talked to the old and the young, etc., etc. Paul Ssemogerere who, as the leader of DP, had returned to Uganda well over a year before me, had done no such thing. I was in Busoga during one of those tours when another election farce arose; this time within the DP alone. A delegates Conference had been called to elect DP leaders and discuss the Party's policy for the Parliamentary elections due then in September 1980. Yusuf Lule flew from London to Nairobi where he announced his intention to proceed to Uganda and contest the election for the Presidency of the DP. However, the DP Headquarters, in Kampala, issued a statement to the effect that Lule was not a delegate to the DP Conference and was not even a member of the Party. Later Lule was to claim that President Nyerere and I prevented him from becoming the President of the DP. At the DP conference, the known supporters of Lule were denied accreditation and Paulo Ssemogerere was elected unopposed as leader of the DP.
The lengthy account of the various elections since 1958 and prior to 1980 may appear not to have connections with Museveni's massacres. I have done so in order to give a complete historical perspective; namely that the UPC has always stood for direct and fair elections; accepted defeat in 1961 when it could easily have gone in the opposite way and on a very strong ground; promoted national unity through working for all parts of the country to be effectively represented in the National Assembly; accepted Moshi and the UNLF administrations but refused to be garrotted either by the dictator Amin, or by the regimes of the UNLF and Museveni. The DP leaders and Museveni have been in authority since 1986 but have not, after four years, brought into the open the evidence that the 1980 elections were rigged in favor of the UPC, the one most important reason which Museveni claims to have been the cause of the war he first launched in Luwero in 1981. Does the evidence exist or not? I say firmly that it does not and that it never existed. After the fall of the second UPC administration in 1985, Paul Ssemogerere and Robert Kitariko, President and Secretary General of the DP respectively, became the most important and highly valued Ministers. Kitariko's Portfolio covered the matter of elections and the documents of the 1980 elections were available in the offices of the Electoral Commission.
No attempt was made for an independent body to examine those documents against the allegations by the DP and Museveni that the elections had been rigged or that the DP and the UPC were simply allocated seats by Paulo Muwanga.
The first allegation against the UPC in relation to the 1980 elections was made by Yusuf Lule soon after the Electoral Commission had published the number of Constituencies. Lule asserted that the Commission had demarcated more Constituencies in the North than in Buganda! The fact was that Buganda (including Kampala) had 34 and the North 26 Constituencies. Lule's allegation showed his and other people's ignorance in the baseless claims that the UPC support was concentrated in the North. It should also be noted that this allegation was made long before the poll and, therefore, suggesting that to people like Lule, the idea of the national and Uganda wide elections in which national Parties were to compete was secondary to ethnic or Regional considerations.
The so called North/South divide which Lule used had never been known in any previous elections. My coming from the North, for instance, did not make the UPC a Northern Party just like Ssemogerere a Muganda, did not make the DP either a Ganda or a "South" Party. The politics of the North/South divide was introduced by Museveni; but like most of Museveni's schemes of divide and rule, it had glaring flaws. At the caucus meeting at which the UPM was founded Museveni, who was the convener and Chairman, told the meeting that the UPM had to have a leader who was neither from the North nor from Buganda; because those Regions already had three leaders heading other Parties. He also told the meeting that the leader of the UPM must be someone who had an army. The caucus without debate made Museveni the leader of the UPM. That was and remains Museveni's form of forging unity and democracy and the basic reason why he hated, disapproved and waged a war in Luwero against the ballot.
The 1980 elections were not affairs for the Ugandans alone. The Commonwealth of Nations sent a Team of Observers to monitor and report on the various aspects of the elections. Many who derided the victory of the UPC also find it painful to accept the Report of that Independent Team. However, for the record, it is pertinent to quote from the Team's Report. This is what the Team said in their Interim Report:
"It is unique in the annals of democracy for a sovereign nation to invite an international group to observe its national elections and report whether they were free and fair. Our role, which was endorsed by all four political Parties, is without precedent. The response of the people of Uganda to our presence has been heartwarming.
No assessment of this election would be valid which did not take full account of the prevailing situation in Uganda and its recent history. A general election makes large demands on a country's financial, administrative and manpower resources, as well as accentuating strains within the body politic. To conduct such an exercise against the background of a shattered economy, an enfeebled and disrupted administrative infrastructure, continuing security problems and the social fabric stretched to the limits of endurance by eight years of brutal oppression and incalculable human tragedy would be a daunting enterprise for any country. Uganda's dilemma has been whether to wait for better and more settled times before holding an election or to hold an election as an essential step towards national rehabilitation. Its choice has been an act of faith deserving of the world's sympathy and understanding."
In Paragraph 20 of the same Report, the Team wrote:
"The Group as a whole is continuing to monitor the count and our final view must be contingent on how it is conducted and how ballot boxes were stored overnight. At this stage, however, despite the imperfections and deficiencies to which we have drawn attention, and subject to the concern expressed on the question of nominations and unopposed returns, we believe this has been a valid electoral exercise which should broadly reflect the freely expressed choice of the people of Uganda."
The DP, as is well known, claimed that the elections were rigged in favor of the UPC. At mid-day on 11th December, 1980, the DP Headquarters actually issued a Statement claiming victory and giving the number of seats the DP had allegedly won. The International media, representatives of which were all gathered in Kampala, took the lie and broadcast it far and wide and have not, to date, ceased from spreading the lie.
The lie was exposed by the fact that when the DP statement was made more than half of the 109 Constituencies which were contested had either not even started voting or the votes were still being counted. The Commonwealth Observer Group had this to say about the DP claims in their Final Report in Paragraphs 142 and 143:
142. The first results were announced over the radio Uganda shortly after 2:00 PM on December 12. We were present in the Communication center at this time and while results were coming to hand.
143. Earlier in the day we had debriefed all our assistants who had returned to Kampala from various parts of the country and it had become apparent to us from the reports of their observations both during the poll and at the count that the DP was publicly claiming to have won seats which it had almost certainly lost. For instance, the claim was even made of a success in Gulu, where we knew that the UPC was taking over 90 per cent of the vote. At no stage did we lend credence to claims made by the DP that they had won a clear majority. Rather we contacted the DP to advise it of the position as we understood it to be, and subsequently the DP confirmed to us that some of its information from outlying Districts had been incorrect.
The declaration by the DP that "some of its information from outlying Districts had been incorrect" was itself a lie. In the 1979 war, telecommunications system in the entire Western and Northern Regions were destroyed; no such systems existed in the Eastern Region except in Jinja and Iganga in Busoga. The systems were not working by the election day December 10, 1980. The DP Headquarters in Kampala could not, therefore, have received any information, correct or incorrect, from Districts in the North and West and much of the Eastern Region by mid-day on December 11, 1980. The Electoral Commission used the Police Communications to receive the elections results from the "outlying Districts". It is inconceivable that the Police in those Districts fed the DP Headquarters with "incorrect" results, a matter which would amount to saying that there was in the DP Headquarters some means by which Police message could be received there.
Despite owning to the Observer Group as above stated, the DP leaders actually stepped up their lies. In that way the DP leaders wittingly gave moral support to Museveni who had publicly made clear his resorting to the gun if his Party lost the elections. One month and three weeks after the 2nd UPC Government took office, Museveni begun his war in Luwero District.
There was a legal way for the DP leaders to prove that their allegations were based on fact. This was filing of Petitions to the High Court which had the constitutional power to redress the very matters which were being alleged. The DP, indeed, filed 24 Petitions but were singularly reluctant to prosecute them! The UPC filed 26 Petitions and vigorously prosecuted the majority of them. Some UPC petitions were not prosecuted because the "elected" DP candidates joined the UPC. Such Petitions were therefore abandoned.
Although the DP claimed that the elections were rigged in favor of the UPC, that claim did not, in their view include the thirty four seats in Buganda and Kampala except one which they lost. In other words, according to the DP, whoever rigged the elections, left Buganda and Kampala alone but concentrated the misdeed in the other Regions! The more plausible reason is that the DP can not stomach losing an election. If indeed the DP had won as claimed, such a situation would have propelled the DP to prosecute their Petitions with much vigor.
There were two reasons why the DP were reluctant to prosecute their Petitions. The first and most important was that they feared to lose again in the High Court. The second was that amongst Petitions filed by the UPC, in the case of a Constituency in Buganda, one was heard and pronounced upon early by the High Court. The Court found that the DP candidate elected in December 1980 "had not been elected in accordance with the law". The Court ordered for a fresh election which the UPC won easily. The finding by the Court of rigging in a Constituency in Buganda, demoralized and exposed leaders of the DP as dishonest. For various reasons which had nothing to do with the impartiality of the High Court, the UPC lost in Court fifteen Petitions. The DP prosecuted only one out of their 24 Petitions. That is the nature of the vigor with which a Party which had claimed to have won elections sought to redress their grievance in the High Court.
Neither the DP leaders nor Museveni nor their friends abroad could or can even now produce a scintilla of proof that the 1980 elections were rigged in favor of the UPC. The lies by the leaders of the DP, as already indicated, gave Museveni a convenient cover to conceal his belief in arbitrary, tyrannical and militarist rule. Museveni's quest for that type of governance and the support given to him by the DP leaders, have cost Uganda most dearly first in Luwero and now in the Northern and Eastern Regions and Kasese District in the West.
The nature of the support which the DP leaders gave to Museveni was disclosed by the Party's Secretary General, Robert Kitariko, on October 6, 1989. The Citizen, the Mouthpiece of the DP, in its edition Vol. 6, No. 13 for the week ending October 18, 1989, said:
"During Obote II, DP gave support, food, guidance and international publicity, Kitariko revealed and ask them (the gathering) who did not fight"?
The UPC Government knew that the DP leaders were giving support to Museveni in Luwero but could not prove it legally. Paul Ssemogerere, the President General of the DP was tackled by me and other members of the Government on the matter throughout the four and one-half years. He flatly denied any DP involvement in the Luwero war on the side of Museveni. Now that the Secretary General has "revealed" the "truth" which is the DP motto, Ssemogerere has the choice of continuing lying or accepting what Kitariko has disclosed. In either way, the UPC will take this crucial issue of Parliamentary democratic rule versus rule of the gun to the electorate and expose the DP for supporting the gun at the expense of the lives of our fellow citizens. Expose the DP leaders for their rapacity to continue to support Museveni in return for offices from whence they eat crumbs from Museveni's high table.
The "international publicity" which Kitariko disclosed is now silent in the face of genocide in the North and East. It was a concentrated propaganda against the UPC Government. The international media took up the conspiracy and saturated the world with one-sided stories in which the UPC Government allegedly committed all kinds of despicable atrocities in Luwero and Museveni who started the war was painted as defender of the people! A month after Museveni was sworn in as President, a Panorama team of the BBC was in Uganda. In their Panorama TV program (Gavin Hewit), the BBC team actually asserted that Luwero was "Obote's war to exterminate the Baganda"!
Luwero District as Ugandans know was, in fact, the most cosmopolitan of all the Districts in Uganda. Luwero was inhabited by practically all the major ethnic groups in Uganda. Had the UPC Government or Obote alone, as alleged by Hewit truly had such designs, Luwero was the least of all the 6 Districts in Buganda to have been chosen for "the extermination of the Baganda"!. It was not the BBC alone which during the Luwero war and after charged the UPC Government only of the atrocities of that war. All the great broadcasting stations and the great newspapers in Europe and North America did the same. They are still at it.
Museveni published a pamphlet - "Selected Articles on the Uganda Resistance War" - in 1985. In the pamphlet Museveni speaks of large areas of Luwero which were "No-go" areas for "Obote's army". After the war and more than four years after the end of the Luwero war in August 1985, no foreign journalist has gone to those "No-go" areas which were under the control of Museveni in order to prove the correctness of their concentrated propaganda against the UPC Government; instead the International Media have shied away from going to those areas in Luwero which Museveni governed and to observe how well Museveni governed his areas of Luwero. More than four years after Museveni took the reign of government, nothing of the kind has seen the light of day. Museveni himself who loves and lives on propaganda (lies) has not seen it fit to take foreign journalists in the areas he governed and where homes, schools, dispensaries, granaries, etc. remained intact on account of his protection.
Museveni has not done so for two reasons. First, because he waged his war as a terrorist onslaught on whoever, anywhere, did not accept him as leader of Uganda and secondly, to destroy institutions of good government replacing them by his own schemes for a militarist control of Uganda. There were more atrocities in the "NO-GO" areas.
Museveni launched his war with attacks not against UNLA units or barracks but against peasants in rural Luwero and against bus passengers. Museveni's first victims at the beginning of the Luwero war were two. These were:
Ugandans from the North and East who had made their homes and lived in Luwero for years; and
Members of the UPC in Luwero District.
Those in the two groups were attacked and thousands were massacred in their homes which were then ransacked and burnt. The massacres spared no one; men, women and children perished as Museveni and his men set the District ablaze. A stampede followed. Even those who were not in the two groups took flight in their thousands to the District Headquarters, and Police Stations within the District. They fled with nothing but the clothes they happened to be wearing at the time of flight.
The number of victims in Luwero Town and at Police Stations was so massive that the UPC Government appealed to the International Community for assistance in the resettlement of the destitutes in other parts of Uganda. That much is a matter of fact and record.
The UNLA had no transport and fuel was in short supply throughout the country when Museveni launched his terrorist onslaught. Museveni, therefore, had nearly two weeks spreading terror, death and arson in villages and individual homes. Public service vehicles, including buses full of passengers, were blown up by the NRA.
Except for the Banyarwanda Tutsi refugees, the terror, death and arson which the NRA launched caused tumult and apprehension even to those whose homes had been spared. That apprehension increased as the war progressed and when all able-bodied Banyarwanda Tutsi refugees who were employed by land owners and ranchers in Luwero left their employment and joined the insurgents. The ignominy of former farm-hands, herdsmen and house servants (Banyarwanda Tutsi refugees) ordering their former employers to provide food and other demands to the insurgents in addition to the horror and terror the NRA had created, made the NRA detested. As the war proceeded, the exigencies of the war made Museveni to seek for recruitment into the NRA from within Luwero. The recruitment was carried with appalling massacres and brutalities. Massacres increased because Ugandans in Luwero wanted nothing to do with the insurgents at a time when Museveni was desperate for more men to join the NRA.
Museveni solved the problem through a combination of terror and deceit. One of his methods which he used repeatedly was to send a unit of the NRA wearing the uniform of the UNLA (both sides wore the same uniform) into a village. The men of the NRA would then round up and assemble the villagers - men, women and children - in one place and announce that they were men from "Obote's army" and were searching for the insurgents who were known to be in the village. The peasants, of course, denied harboring the insurgents. Such denials brought beatings and ransacking of homes which were then followed by the ultimate terror, the shooting of some of the villagers - men, women and children. The shootings were signals to another unit of the NRA to come to the "rescue of the villagers from the terror of Obote's soldiers".
The second NRA unit wearing assorted civilian dress would then come to the village and fire a few shots in the air. Those shots were signals to the first NRA unit to depart "hurriedly" from the place of the gathering and move into nearby plantations, tall grass or whatever could conceal them from the assembled peasants. The mission of the second NRA unit, in such cases, was to get recruits which was done in most villages, by persuading the villagers to leave their homes and be taken to "zones" which were "safe" and under the control of the NRA. The villagers left their homes with whatever they could carry. Whatever remained in the homes and useful to the NRA, the first unit of the NRA this time emerging from places of concealment would take; homes however, would be further ransacked or destroyed.
As Museveni's recruitment drive proceeded, citizens from different villages who managed to reach Kampala or Luwero Town or Bombo barracks gave reports of attacks in a number of scattered villages by the "UNLA" which were followed by the arrival of the NRA in those same villages and then the exodus of the villagers. The UNLA Officers were at first puzzled and disbelieved such reports on the ground that no UNLA troops had been sent or had the capacity to go to the named villages. Reports continued to be received and reconnaissance in force was eventually mounted. The result was horrifically shattering; whole villages had no people; homes and other structures had been either burnt or ransacked; further afield corpses were found without heads.
The Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM) led by the late Andrew Kayiira attacked Kampala at the beginning of February 1982, with an apparent objective of taking the City.
The UNLA easily repelled the UFM who, when withdrawing towards Mityana, were ambushed and disarmed by the NRA. A meeting between Kayiira and Museveni was arranged and held at the camp of the latter. In March 1982, the UNLA stormed the UFM base in a forest West of Kampala. Amongst those found and arrested at the base were men and women who had gone with Kayiira to Museveni's camp. Those men and women recorded statements which further cleared the puzzle of the corpses without skulls.
The gist of the statements made by the UFM men and women was that on arrival at Museveni's camp, the UFM delegation was taken by Museveni on a tour of the perimeter of the camp. The perimeter, had all round, they recorded, heads of men, women and children in their hundreds some already dry but some were fairly fresh. At the end of the tour, the statements said, Museveni took the UFM delegation to a large grass hovel in which were heaps of human heads and thick layer of fresh blood everywhere except a small area near the door to the hovel. Here, in the hovel, according to the men and women of the UFM delegation, Museveni told Kayiira: - "This is what we do to people who don't agree with us".
The UFM delegation were not the only people to make statements on torsos found by the UNLA in scattered areas of Luwero or human heads in Museveni's camps. Men and women who escaped from the NRA dragnet of terror and massacres as well as those who escaped from the NRA training camps also made statements which told of attacks on villages, the deception used to uproot the peasants from their homes, the subsequent massacres of those considered unfit to serve the NRA military or those who were seen as unnecessary burden to the NRA. Those who escaped from training camps told of the ordeals they underwent in their villages when "Obote's soldiers" attacked the villages only to find out later in the NRA training camps that the same men of "Obote's soldiers' were in fact leaders in and members of the NRA.
From the statements made by the Kayiira delegation, those who escaped from the NRA dragnet or from the training camps and by the NRA deserters, the methods Museveni was using to turn the people against the UPC government and for recruits became clear. The problem was how to evolve counter measures.
The UPC Government had talks with Religious and DP leaders on the necessity for a common policy against Museveni's terror and massacres. The talks proved to be counter-productive! I proposed, for instance, at meetings with Paul Ssemogerere, Emanuel Cardinal Nsubuga, Archbishop Theodorous Nankyama of the Orthodox Church, Sheikh Kassim Mulumba and Bishop (late) Dunstan Nsubuga of Namirembe, the setting up of a Parliamentary Security Committee to evolve common policy against insurgency; and monitor and advise on the implementation of the agreed policy. The proposal was accepted by all who were at the meetings. It was also agreed that the agreement be made public without delay and that was done.
At the meeting, I raised the matter of the continuing allegations and campaigns by the DP that the Party had won the December 1980 elections. I told the meeting that the allegations and campaign could undermine the authority of the UPC government to deal with Museveni's insurgency and more so to get foreign assistance for the resettlement of the massive number of destitutes in Luwero Town. I proposed to Paul Ssemogerere that his Party should energetically prosecute all the election Petitions the DP had filed with the High Court. I told and pledged at one meeting that the UPC Government would resign in the event of the decision by the High Court on the DP Petitions showing that in the Constituencies where the DP had filed Petitions, the UPC candidates had not been "elected" according to the provisions of the law. I told the meeting that in that eventuality, the UPC Government would not even remain in office in case the High Court decisions ordered for fresh elections in a situation where the DP was shown by such decisions to have won in December 1980 more seats than the UPC albeit without overall majority in the National Assembly.
I explained my proposal to the meeting in great detail. The substance of what I told the meeting was that:
The UPC had no desire to remain in office should the High Court decision on Petitions show that the December election was rigged in favor of the UPC.
The DP should waste no time in proving in the High Court that the Party had won either an overall majority of seats or at least won more seats than the UPC in December.
In either case, overall majority or more seats than the UPC, the UPC Government would resign even before the bye-elections were held in the Constituencies the High Court may order fresh elections.
Paul Ssemogerere kept mute. The silence was broken by Cardinal Nsubuga who said that since the Parties had already filed Petitions in the High Court, the dispute about which Party had won the elections should be left to the High Court to resolve through its decisions on the Petitions. Ssemogerere still kept dumb but others at the meeting spoke and agreed with what the Cardinal had said. No one, however, took up my point about the negative effect of the DP claims, allegations and propaganda. On that day I became convinced, more than ever before, that Paul Ssemogerere was extremely and dangerously deficient in the ability and capacity to see a national issue which affects the lives and welfare of all the people of Uganda. I saw Ssemogerere as a dangerous bigot whose only interest in politics is to advance his own interests even at the price of the deaths of millions of Ugandans. Subsequent events, as I will show herein, have deepened my above stated conviction.
The announcement that a Parliamentary Security Committee was to be instituted, generated much favorable response in the Diplomatic circle in Kampala. I met High Commissioners and Ambassadors and briefed them fully. Government Ministries and Departments were directed to prepare Papers for the consideration of the Cabinet and subsequent presentation by the relevant Ministers to the Committee. Then, out of the blue, two bombshells fell on the idea and killed the Security Committee in its infancy.
The first bombshell was a report published by several Newspapers as the opinion of the Religious leaders I had been meeting. The Newspapers alleged that it was the opinion of the Religious leaders that Uganda was "bleeding to death" and oblique references were made to the effect that the reign of Government should be handed to the Party which had won the elections in December 1980! I immediately took up the matter with each of the said Religious leaders. I met them individually; each denied having anything to do with what the Papers had published.
The second bombshell was fired by Paul Ssemogerere. He proposed to the Government the minimum condition under which the DP would serve on the Security Committee. These were:
That the Chairman of the Committee should be a DP member;
That the majority of the members of the Committee should be DP members;
That the (daily) situation Reports from the field were to go first to the Chairman of the Committee; and
That the direction and control of the army and Police in Luwero and other parts of Uganda which may become disturbed be the responsibility of the Chairman and the Committee.
The UPC Ministers and I held several meetings with Ssemogerere on his proposal. He was adamant. The more we discussed the outlandish nature of his proposals, the more it became clear to us that Ssemogerere and the DP leadership, should the Government agree to the proposal, had designs to use the Security Committee as a means to give various modes of assistance to the insurgency in Luwero. The UPC Ministers painfully, politely but firmly, in a series of meetings, pointed to Ssemogerere the unconstitutional nature of his proposals. The Ministers even appealed to Ssemogerere to go to Luwero Town either alone or accompanied, as he wished, by Police or army and interview the thousands of destitutes amongst whom men and women who were either known staunch members of the DP or people who had voted for the DP but had become destitutes because of the terror and death which Museveni had launched. Ssemogerere did not accept Police or army escort but also despite the now known alliance then existing between the DP leaders and Museveni, did not venture to go into Luwero at any time between February 1981 and July 1985.
The UPC could have made political capital from Ssemogerere's obduracy in which the President General of the DP displayed utter disregard to the plight of fellow citizens in Luwero, the overwhelming majority of whom had only a few months back voted for the DP. National interest and the priority needed to contain the insurgency and to defeat it made the UPC not to be detracted by going politically for the jugular veins of the DP.
The UPC Government did evolve a set of policy the result of which, as is well known, contained Museveni's terror within the Luwero Triangle. The implementation of the policy which had several facets was not easy. The central plank of the policy was freedom of speech both in and out of Parliament and freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association. No political Party was either banned or prohibited from functioning and expressing critical views on all national policies, issues, programs, government performance, etc., etc. The free discussion of the pros and cons of all matters by Ugandans in all parts of the country made it impossible for Museveni to stretch his terror into Districts outside the Triangle.
I presented in the very first meeting of the new Parliament elected in December the thrust of the overall economic policy which the UPC government would follow in the very challenging task of the rehabilitation of the economy. Its theme was "production in a secure and stable environment". The UPC, of the four Parties which contested the elections, was the only one to have issued an Elections Manifesto. The Manifesto clearly stated that if elected, the UPC government would take bold and comprehensive measures to correct the underlying economic problems as a first step for economic recovery. That was done speedily. On May 1, 1981 increased producer prices were announced. A month later on June 1 a package of measures was introduced. They included adjustment of the exchange rate of the shilling, dismantling of price controls, tax reforms, ceilings for government budget deficit and a more remunerative and flexible structure of interest rates.
Debating the measures in Parliament in June 1981, Paul Ssemogerere condemned them viciously. I challenged him to give the House the outline of economic policy which his Party, the DP, would have introduced. Ssemogerere's reply to the challenge saddened, surprised and disturbed me. His reply was that the DP would have waited, then mounted months of consultations both at home and abroad before deciding on policy and introducing it in Parliament! I was saddened, surprised and disturbed that Ssemogerere who was amongst the first group of Ugandans to return to Uganda soon after the fall of Amin in April 1979 and remained in Uganda throughout; had led his Party in the 1980 elections and was claiming to have won the elections did not have in June 1981 - more than two years after the fall of Amin - even a rudiment of an economic policy.
That exchange helped to explain why the DP had fought the 1980 elections without a Manifesto - the DP had no policy on any matter to put to the electorate. The exchange also exposed the whole question as to why the DP leaders were so eager, without a set of policies, to form a government. The inescapable conclusion was that the DP leaders were, as they are today, interested more to serve their stomachs than to serve the people.
The non-existence of DP policies on any matter during the life of Parliament elected in December 1980, and in the face of the Luwero war, has recently been confirmed. The confirmation was reported in the Citizen - the DP organ - Vol. 6, No. 13 for the week-ending October 18, 1989. The report said:
"In a speech to mark the 35th anniversary of the Party, the Secretary General, Mr. Robert Kitariko told Party activists over the weekend that the DP has viable policies which were formulated as far back as 1960. What the various Governments have been trying to do is to copy these policies and so far they have failed disastrously, Mr. Kitariko observed."
The speech is most illuminating. Time, the world and Uganda have stood still since the DP allegedly formulated its policies "as far back as 1960" - 30 years ago! Kitariko gave his audience a specific example in the field of education. He said, in the same speech as reported by the Citizen: "The Secretary General cited education as an example and said that the 300 scholarships given out by the Ben Kiwanuka administration was a clear sign that the DP had its own policies. He said that since that time such a number has never been equalled". Kitariko thus made a great play of 300 men and women who went abroad for post-secondary eduction precisely at the time when 7,000 in post-secondary institutions of higher learning in Uganda were in desperate need for public support against schemes by the Museveni regime to curtail or even cancel their scholarships. Three hundred, according to Kitariko's (DP's) arithmetic is greater than 7,000 and, therefore, the latter do not deserve in their plight the support by or of the DP!
Unlike in the case of the 300 students sent abroad, the UPC Government, after independence, made it possible for thousands of Ugandans to gain entrance, year after year, into institutions of Higher Learning not as a device to attract attention or publicity but as service to the young nation. At Independence, Uganda students at the University of Makerere, for instance, numbered around two hundred only. Today, as the DP leaders including Kitariko know, more than a thousand enter Makerere every year. The 20,000 students now in Institutions of Higher Learning in Uganda are there because the UPC government had the foresight to invest heavily in education at all levels. The investment was made as a duty in the task of nation building and the welfare of the students, teachers and lecturers were catered for in every respect. More than 300 students were also sent abroad every year in all the years the UPC government was in office. The English have the words for the DP posture: "Empty tin sounds loudest".
The DP has always been an empty tin. It was so during the Parliament elected in December 1980. Museveni had also found it to be so. The Citizen, for instance, roars week after week with threats against the NRM/NRA regime; both the leader of the Party and other leaders who are Ministers in the regime are happily helping to consolidate genocide in the North and East. Where lives of the citizens are at stake, the DP is irritatingly empty. Death, terror and destruction wrought by Museveni and his NRA in Luwero and now in the North and East generated and still generate no concern to the DP leaders. In the Luwero war, the wrath of the DP leaders was directed and centered on the UNLA being in Luwero. The DP leaders condemned vehemently the deployment of the UNLA in Luwero.
The deployment of the army to overpower insurgents is a universally recognized duty of a government. In the case of the Luwero insurgency, however, foreign journalists and media on cue from the DP, have tended to ignore the fact of the insurgency and horrors to which Museveni had subjected Ugandans in Luwero to suffer. The tendency has been to condemn the UPC government for sending an "undisciplined and murderous army" into Luwero to "exterminate the Baganda". The foreign journalists and media in maintaining such a serious but patently false and utterly untenable judgement do also in the same breadth appear to confirm (in the minds of Ugandans) their fascination with murderers and arbitrary rule. To the foreign journalists and media, Amin was a "Gentle Giant"! Other foreign journalists who saw Amin as a killer, brute and a liar were ignored. This latter category of journalists have equally seen Museveni as very much in the Amin mould. They are correct in their assessment.
The government troops who fought the insurgents in Luwero were the UNLA, the same army which had units in parts of Buganda other than Luwero and units in various Districts in the North, East and West. No one unit of the UNLA was permanently deployed in Luwero from start to finish. Equally no officer or officers of the UNLA remained permanently in Luwero. If, indeed, the mission of the UNLA in Luwero was to "exterminate" the Baganda, as alleged and maintained by some foreign journalists and media, it is incumbent on them, in the name of humanity, to state clearly in the High Court of public opinion why and how that same army was, according to them, brutally murderous in Luwero but was not so as is well known, in the rest of Buganda (the Districts of Mukono, Mpigi, Mubende, Masaka and Rakai). That same army, the UNLA, also did not wrought the Luwero type of terror and death anywhere else in Uganda.
I have, for years, given from time to time much thought on the matter of the gross misrepresentation of events in Uganda abroad. This is a large subject covering many years. I do not believe, for instance, that the foreign journalists and media who described Amin as a "Gentle Giant" and later as a "Buffoon" were at any time unaware that there was nothing gentle in the execution of Amin's coup and in the consolidation of his reign of terror and murder; I base that belief, in part, to the reportage of Bushenyi ONE which was covered by several foreign journalists. Bushenyi ONE was reported almost everywhere in Western Europe and North America as having drawn "some 10,000 people"!
A week after Bushenyi ONE, two foreign journalists came to my house in Kololo, Kampala, to talk generally. The conversation led to the estimated number of people at the Bushenyi ONE rally. The first of the two said that the foreign journalists, at Bushenyi had estimated a figure variously as from half to three quarters of a million people. To avoid giving conflicting figures to their respective competitive media, the two said, the foreign journalists approached the Police for Police estimate. The Police told the journalists that the figure was "over one million people". The journalists then met, the two told me, and the figure of 10,000 was agreed on the argument that the editors abroad would not accept the presentation that "Obote and the UPC" who had been presented abroad for years as having no support could draw half a million, leave alone, a million people.
The conspiracy, for lack of a better neutral word, thickened during the 1980 election campaign. Not a single foreign journalist joined or covered my campaign trail. None attended the big rallies I addressed in all parts of Uganda except for those in Kampala, Entebbe and Mukono town. No journalist, foreign or Ugandan sought to interview me during the campaign. On the election days, 10th and 11th December - no foreign journalist was anywhere in the Constituency in the Western, Northern and Eastern Regions.
Yet it was those very same journalists who took the lead in undermining the verdict of the electorate by saturating the media abroad with the lies of the DP leaders that the elections were not free and fair and had been rigged in favor of the UPC. To those journalists, the opinion of the Commonwealth Observer Group at Paragraph 143 of their Report, quoted above namely that, "at no stage did we lend credence to claims made by the DP that they had won a majority" meant nothing.
The Observer Group, unlike the journalists, had assistants who witnessed voting and counting of votes in various Constituencies in all the four Regions of the country. The on-the-spot facts gathered by the assistants over widely spread Constituencies are clearly stated in the Report of the Observer Group at Paragraph 143.
In the same Paragraph 143 of the Report the Observer Group stated: "...we contacted the DP to advise it of the position as we understood it to be, and subsequently the DP confirm to us that some of its information from outlying Districts had been incorrect". It seems, therefore, that the DP did not make known to the journalists the incorrect "information from outlying Districts" on which the Party based its claims of victory. However, that much does not absolve the journalists from the charge of having knowingly undermined the image of the elected government. The charge remains on account of the then known facts namely, the journalists were all in Kampala where they relied totally on whatever the DP claimed; the journalists chose to believe the DP and not the Observer Group who had assistants physically present at the voting and counting of votes in outlying Constituencies throughout the country and the fact that the journalists did not even make any attempt, before filing their reports on the DP claims, to verify those claims with the UPC, the Electoral Commission or the Observer Group.
With the stage thus set and the stakes raised against the UPC Government, the media abroad, like the DP in Uganda, never, at any time, appreciated or accepted the facts of Museveni's reign of massacres, terror and destruction in Luwero. Atrocities in Luwero were all given as the deeds of the UNLA. The fact, for instance, that for two weeks Museveni set Luwero ablaze - massacring and burning homes of persons known to be UPC members or those whose ancestral homes were in the North or East which in turn sent thousands of people to flee to Luwero Town, without the UNLA in sight was, to the media, a non-event.
The Luwero war was most distressing to the UPC Government. Reports of atrocities by the NRA, the need to make urgent provisions for the thousands of displaced people including the very old and the very young, whose numbers increased daily at the beginning, the problems of resettling such large numbers of people elsewhere, the shortage of transport and fuel, the unconcern of the opposition Party, the DP, to the tragedy were some of the momentous issues which called for redress through the implementation of positive policies. It was in the interest of the UPC Government to contain Museveni's propensity to kill and destroy.
It could never have been in the interest of the UPC Government to spread death, terror, destruction and misery in Luwero. If the Government had done so, as alleged and maintained by Museveni, the DP leaders and the foreign media, the result would have been the spread of the Luwero insurgency into the rest of Buganda and into other Regions.
It was on the other hand, in Museveni's interest and very much in accord with his well known perversions to use terror to get people to be afraid of him and to submit themselves to him. If that was not the case, what else stopped him from gaining the confidence of the people elsewhere outside Luwero? Does anyone seriously think or believe that the Ugandans of Luwero were or are so different from the rest of Ugandans that they alone willingly, in their thousands joined in the insurgency because the elections had allegedly been rigged! If they are or were so different, how did they acquire the quality? If they are not, as we all know; how did Museveni whose Party they had overwhelmingly rejected at the polls hardly two months back get them to join in the insurgency? Why is it that Museveni did not use the same "peaceful" means he claims to have used in Luwero to spread out elsewhere particularly if, as he claims the UNLA was committing gross atrocities in Luwero? Those are some of the questions, the answers to which, lead unerringly to only one conclusion; namely, that Museveni used much terror as a means of imposing obedience; the alternative was death.
A very strong clue to that conclusion can, in part be seen from Museveni's claim that he started off with only 27 men. The fiction of 27 men can not stand against facts - some of which were known to the public and some only to the Government. One fact then known to the Government only was that at the beginning of his terror, Museveni had around 12,000 men - deserters from the UNLA. The fact which was known to the general public, personnel of International Organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Diplomats was that within 24 hours of the launching of the reign of terror, thousands of men, women and children were in Luwero Town and were in conditions of extreme shock and deprivation. The number of destitutes increased daily for weeks. The Government as already stated, immediately appealed to the International Community and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to assist in providing for the destitutes and their resettlement. Twenty-seven men could not have caused the flight of so many people from scattered villages within a matter of twenty-four hours.
The flight alone meant the existence of terror in Luwero at a time when no unit of the UNLA was to be found anywhere in rural Luwero. It was Museveni and his NRA who set Luwero ablaze and led to the flight of thousands within hours to Luwero Town.
The UNLA reconnaissance in force which discovered hundreds and hundreds of human torsos in widely scattered parts of Luwero, abandoned villages and burnt homes was mounted in April 1981, some two months from the start of Museveni's reign of terror. The time lag is both an indication of the problems the Government had in getting troops from outside Kampala to Luwero and also the speed with which the task was accomplished.
The first task of the UNLA in rural Luwero was to protect villages which they could get to and which still had inhabitants. Such villages were found and secured by the UNLA but not a single village was found intact; some houses had been blown up, homes, schools had been ransacked, borehole pumps dismantled. The government appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross to provide food, clothing, blankets, medicine, etc. to the inhabitants of such villages. The ICRC continued to do so throughout the war.
It must be emphasized that the villages which the ICRC serviced throughout the war were under the protection of the UNLA twenty-four hours a day. The villages were frequently attacked by the NRA and so were the UNLA supply vehicles. There were also villages at which UNLA units were overpowered and murdered. When the UNLA sent reinforcement, such villages were found to have been abandoned.
The second task of the UNLA in rural Luwero was to get babies and their mothers, pregnant women and the very old out of Luwero. These were resettled with the help of the ICRC and some countries. The very sick were sent to hospitals and later resettled.
Not all the villages in Central Luwero were secured and protected by the UNLA. When the UNLA began, in 1982, to drive the NRA from villages, a new horror was discovered - the inhabitants were severely emaciated with children dying in large numbers. Speedy arrangements were made to get the children and their mothers to hospitals. The UPC Government, with the assistance from the Italian Government, equipped a clinic at Mulago Hospital for the severely affected children.
In the (Gavin) BBC Panorama Programme, the patients in that clinic were presented as victims of the UNLA although it was the UNLA soldiers who took those children from rural Luwero to the clinic! The BBC Program presented the implausible tale that children as young as two years or less escaped from burning homes set ablaze by "Obote's soldiers" into the bush where they lived with monkeys and learnt, in three years, to behave as monkeys. With such propaganda by the BBC, Voice of America, the Voice of Germany and powerful Newspapers in Western Europe and North America, who would care for the sanctity of facts and objective reporting.
In the same BBC Panorama Programme, a "mass grave" was conveniently discovered. The BBC Team went to film the exhumation. The film shows that Luwero cotton soil, under the hoe, coming out loosely as dry sand. Besides, the human remains unearthed were all clean, without mud or earth and were mostly skulls. A man standing in the "grave" brought out the skulls as easily as if he, say, was picking mango fruits which had fallen to the ground. Later as it is known world wide, such skulls were displayed as evidence of massacres committed by the UNLA. Even the Luwero people now alive who knew that Museveni used to cut off the heads of his victims have not and can not disclose that fact, clearly on account of fear. In Uganda, only the pastoral people, to whom Museveni and the Banyarwanda Tutsi belong, do live comfortable with human remains in the open.
The child soldier is another case of Museveni's cruelty and method of recruitment. Museveni's claim is that the NRA found children in abandoned villages and adopted the children. Two points arise out of that claim. First, the UNLA which has been depicted as a murderous army which massacred everyone in a village was somehow not so murderous because they apparently did not kill the children or at least not all the children. This comes out clearly in the (Gavin) BBC Panorama Program. The film shows a child soldier recounting the murder of his father by what he called "Obote's soldiers" when the child soldier and other people (adults) were seeing. According to the child soldier, the incident fits Museveni's method of recruitment indicated herein in Paragraphs 108, 109 and 110.
Second, the children found and adopted by the NRA and became child soldiers were predominantly boys. One would expect the UNLA, if such was their mission and character, to have killed the boys on the simple ground that the boys more than the girls would, in future, be a danger. That was the pattern in the "Tribal wars" of the old as practiced by all ethnic groups in Uganda. However, in the case of Museveni who became desperate for recruits, the massacres of girls who were considered to be a burden to the NRA and the "adoption" of boys come out inescapably.
Perhaps the most visible evidence that Museveni did not start his war with 27 men and that through subterfuge and terror he forced the Luwero people to join the NRM/NRA may be seen from the composition of the top echelons of the two. Both in Uganda and abroad Museveni's lies that the people of Luwero welcomed him with open hands and joined the NRM/NRA willingly have numbed the minds to the extent of not questioning how and why such a miracle occurred only in Luwero. The evidence which emerges from examining the top echelons of the NRM and NRA contradict the lies. It is the fact that there are no Luwero men in the two echelons. There were no Luwero men in the top echelons when the NRM/NRA took the reign of power in January 1986.
The picture which emerges from any such examination does not fit into Museveni's lies and claims that he started with only 27 men and that the people of Luwero in their thousands joined insurgency willingly and happily. Such a massive support for Museveni, in Luwero, from 1981 to 1985 - 4Â½ years - could and would have meant the domination by the Luwero people at all levels of the NRM/NRA structures. That, however, is not the case. There are no Luwero men in the NRA holding the ranks of Major-General, Brigadier, Colonel or Lt. Colonel. Again from Major down to Lieutenant ranks, the Luwero people, were virtually not in such posts when the NRA took Kampala and began its gun-rule. To top it all, even in the other ranks, from Sergeants to Privates, men from Luwero in NRA who entered Kampala were visible only by their paucity. Today, there are no Luwero men in Museveni's Praetorian Guards - the massive heavily armed men who are always around him and his residences - a fact which is curious and most incongruous to Museveni's public claims of the love and trust the Luwero people overwhelmingly reposed in him.
It is inconceivable that the Luwero people in the NRA did not excel in battles with the UNLA and could not, therefore, rise up in rank or that their very small number in the entire NRA was due to their having been killed in such battles. That leaves the question of how and why not even a single man from the only District Museveni claims to have given him massive support, fought for him, lived with him and trusted him is not to be found in his praetorian guards. For so long as Museveni remains in the saddle of State power, so long will Ugandans be duped and blinded not to see the facts of his massacres.
The Luwero men are not conspicuous in the NRA because they were forcibly conscripted into the NRA, used and then massacred, most probably during the Nairobi Peace Talks - August to December 1985. During that period, as is well known, the Okello and Okello Junta surrendered the whole of the Western Region and Western Buganda to the NRA, the very areas of Uganda then of Rwandese Tutsi refugees concentration. The Tutsi refugees were massively recruited, trained and became the backbone and core of the NRA and the Luwero conscripts on whom Museveni had depended became expendable. That is why today, there are no Rwandese Tutsi refugee camps and no boys of miliary age in any refugee camp. The massacres of the Luwero people by the NRA can also be seen from another angle namely, the composition of the NRM, the political wing of the NRA. In 1981 when Museveni launched his terror and massacres, Luwero was not inhabited by people who Museveni calls "primitive and backwards". The father of Ugandan nationalism and independence struggle, for instance, I.K. Musazi, was born and reared in Luwero. In 1981 and thereafter, there were, in rural Luwero, highly educated retired men and women professionals, retired administrators, as well as wealthy and influential landowners, farmers, ranchers and traders. Those were the leaders of opinion in Luwero. Instead of such persons being strongly represented in the hierarchy of the NRM, there is none. Thus, Museveni's four and a half years in Luwero where the NRM conducted a serious war allegedly with the overwhelming support of the people therein, the same people who, alone, fought for the NRA for so long had no one in the highest council of the NRM/NRA! This suggests that Museveni is disdainful and has very low opinion of the people of Luwero.
That disdain and low opinion as well as massacres of the Luwero people by the NRA were effectively concealed particularly after Kampala fell to the NRA. The concealment included generating maximum hatred of everyone from the North and the killing of such persons in rural Buganda, collection and display of skulls as exhibits of the cruelty of Northerners and the creation of what was called "Luwero Fund". NRA men - mostly Rwandese Tutsi refugees - who knew the District, scoured rural Luwero, pointed at mass graves, or easily "discovered them".
Millions of shillings poured into the Luwero Fund. Everything was done to dupe leaders in Buganda to shout and preach about "the peace we are enjoying" precisely when Museveni had begun genocide in the East and North. The more Museveni detracted attention from his crimes in Luwero by various means, the more the people of Luwero were disdainfully forgotten and discarded by the hierarchy of the NRM/NRA. No leader went to Luwero to thank them for their support; none was appointed Cabinet Minister.
Appendix Four tells the sad story of the one and only District which should have been the brightest jewel to the NRM/NRA. The Weekly Topic which published the story is a Paper which supports Museveni and the NRM/NRA as a national duty. The three owners, publishers and editors of the Paper - Bidandi Ssali, Kintu Musoke and Kirunda Kivejjinja - are all Cabinet Ministers in Museveni's regime. This sad story indicates strongly that neither Museveni nor the NRM/NRA was endeared to the Luwero people and vice-versa and that in Luwero, the NRA was not, as claimed, a "disciplined" force but a force which fought outside the universally known laws of war.
Museveni was asked by Gavin about the Geneva Convention on wars. His sarcastic reply was "I have never read it". Those were the words of a man who had been to University, a man who boasts of having received his military training in FRELIMO Camps where the Geneva Convention was an article of faith and a man who had been Defense Minister for more than a year in a war situation. The Geneva Convention was embodied into the Laws of Uganda in October 1964 by the first UPC Administration - Cap 323 - but Museveni, the Defense Minister during the war which ousted the Amin regime, never knew of the Geneva Convention. Under what acceptable law did he then fight the war in Luwero? The answer, without doubt, must be the Museveni's "law of terror". However, it is not true that in March 1986 when Museveni uttered those words, quoted above, he did not know of the existence or knew nothing of the Geneva Convention. In the so-called Accord which Museveni and Tito Okello signed in Nairobi in mid-December 1985 - only three months back - there was a specific reference in the Accord to the Geneva Convention. It is in Article I (i) and provides that:
"Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing the provisions of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention on the amelioration of the conditions of wounded and sick in the Armed Forces in the field dated the August 12, 1949 set out it Annexture "D" to this Agreement shall apply".
If what Museveni said - "I have never read it" - is true, it must inevitably, follow that he signed the Accord without reading it and, therefore, in complete ignorance of the import of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention which in turn means, that in Luwero he could not and did not abide by the provisions of that Article. The Article of the Geneva Convention of 12th August, 1949 which was Annexture "D" to the Nairobi Accord signed by Museveni reads as follows:
"In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction found on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth or any other similar criteria.
To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in place whatsoever with respect to the above mentioned persons.
Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds; cruel treatment and torture;
Taking of hostages;
Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
The passing of sentences and carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted Court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties of the conflict. The Parties to the conflict should further endeavor to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties of the conflict".
In Luwero, Museveni violated every provision of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. He even, for instance, took as hostages personnel of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). That is the character and conduct of the man who was and is still being praised by the international media and the internal organizations such as Amnesty International (AI), International Alert (IA) and the Minority Rights Group (MRG).
Amnesty International never produced a Report during the reign of terror and murder of Idi Amin. However, within three months of the second UPC government taking office, a Report was quickly produced. A long list of persons alleged to have disappeared, in detention or arrested was appended to the Report. The list included names of persons who had died of natural causes or motor vehicle accidents in 1979/80 before the time of the UPC government. It included names of persons who were very much alive and free. One such person was to be married in Church in Kampala at the very time two delegates sent by Amnesty International from London on my invitation were in Kampala. It was probably the first invitation sent to Amnesty International by an African Government. The two delegates declined to attend the wedding. Persons who were happily doing business in Nairobi and had not been to Uganda since the fall of Amin were on the list. A girl who had left her government job in 1977 when she was in West Nile was on the list. However, the girl was running a lucrative business in Jinja at the time of the Amnesty International's Report. Also on the list were names of persons who had been locked up by local authorities for petty crimes such as drunkenness or stealing chickens. The Report zeroed on single names of persons allegedly arrested from Kampala suburbs. Musoke of Nakulabye like Smith of East London has no meaning but Amnesty International was demanding that the government find Musoke, or explain the whereabouts of Musoke.
From the above, it was clear that some persons unknown had decided to feed fictions to Amnesty International. Amnesty International in turn published its Reports and gave them worldwide treatment without ever first submitting to Government the substance of its concern. Thus Amnesty International joined others in running down the UPC Government.
In 1985, Amnesty International published a most shocking Report. It contained photographs of several people with signs of brutal treatment. Those people claimed to A.I. that the brutal treatment was meted to them by various means while in custody in military barracks. The unfortunate persons, according to Amnesty International, were examined by doctors from London in a private clinic in Nairobi. It is now known that the private clinic belonged to a Ugandan. Whether persons concerned received the brutal treatment while in military barracks, I do not know. However, the government did everything possible to get the persons to identify the barracks, the period when they were in custody and names, if possible, of soldiers or officers of the UNLA who allegedly tortured them. Police officers went to Nairobi, not to take the persons back to Uganda but to record their statements. The Police Officers failed to trace the persons. That is not to say that the persons did not exist; they obviously existed but could not be traced. According to Amnesty International, the persons were sixteen in number.
There is an aspect of the matter of those sixteen which has remained a mystery. Their non-appearance. None of them, for instance, has appeared before Museveni's Human Rights Commission although the Commission has been in existence since December 1986. If they could go to Nairobi to make known what they suffered, there is no reason why they have not been to the Commission to recount their ordeal and identify by name the person or persons who tortured them. After all, crimes unearthed by the Commission, according to the Museveni regime, are to be prosecuted. Perhaps after learning this comment, the sixteen will, at least, emerge. The possibility that they have seen their torturers amongst the present rulers and dare not point them out should not be easily ruled out.
The point does not rest there. Amnesty International, International Alert, journalists and others claimed that torture in military barracks was routine, wide-spread and that hundreds, if not thousands, of people were tortured. Like in the case of the Nairobi sixteen, those hundreds or thousands have not seen fit to go to the Commission and name those who tortured them.
Again perhaps the Museveni regime will now find and mobilize those hundreds or thousands. After all, the main objective of the Commission, as it has now become clear, is for anyone to go to the Commission and tell lies, about the UPC Government or Milton Obote.
As for the International Alert, I have nothing but contempt for it. In 1984 its leader - Lord Young - launched a vicious campaign in which he urged donor countries, the World Bank, IMF and the EEC not to give aid to the "Government". Today and in the face of Museveni's genocide in the North and East, International Alert is vigorously urging those same countries and institutions to give more and more aid to Museveni's regime!
Although Museveni was encouraged and given certificates of accolade by the DP in Uganda and abroad by a range of powerful forces, some of which I have cited, to prosecute terror and massacres, he became weaker and weaker, year after year. The more he weakened, the more propaganda on his behalf was increased. In 1982, for instance, he went to London and from there, accompanied by his brother-in-law, John Kazzora, proceeded to Tripoli as a supplicant. Col. Gadaffi gave Museveni weapons on conditions. The only condition which has been exposed was that he had to work with the Uganda Rescue Front of Moses Ali. Other conditions have so far been kept secret but no one can be deceived that Gadaffi gave arms for altruistic reasons. Since 1986, Libyan influence in Uganda has been increasing.
I have dealt at length on the BBC (Gavin) Panorama Program for one reason only. There is no suggestion whatsoever that other media institutions abroad cared more for facts than the BBC. However, the BBC Team was the first large group of journalists from one institution with a worldwide reputation to reach Uganda under Museveni. The reputation of the BBC is claimed to rest on objective and unbiased reportage. The Gavin Team had no such objective but to malign Milton Obote, UNLA, UPC Government and "Northerners" as a group without exception and conversely to cleanse Museveni - both of which was put on film and published in the Listener.
As already shown, the UNLA contingents which fought in Luwero were to Gavin all "Northern soldiers". Emaciated children from Luwero taken to hospitals by UNLA became to the Gavin Team, an illustration of the murderous cruelty of the UNLA and Northerners.
Skulls or the remains of victims of the Luwero war were all presented as deeds of the UNLA alone and of civilians and none was of soldiers killed by the NRA or of the NRA killed by the UNLA. To top it all, the Luwero war, according to Gavin, was waged by Obote to "exterminate the Baganda" despite the fact that Luwero was the most cosmopolitan of all the Districts and the fact that the greater part of Buganda was not affected. The BBC thus set the tune for the rest of the international media to follow in putting a strong lid on Museveni's crimes which were plied on the heads of others who were to be destroyed.
I most certainly did not have any design to exterminate the Baganda or any ethnic group or even individuals. What the media has termed "Obote's Northern soldiers" were not raised by me or on my directive or by the UPC Government. The UNLA was raised in 1979 to May 1980 by the UNLF when I was in Tanzania - April 1979 to May 1980 - and when I was not in any government office. In fact the UNLA was, so to speak, an amalgam of private armies raised by several politicians who took over the reign of government after the fall of Amin. I was acutely aware of the danger to the country which such an amalgam could cause. That the UPC Government kept this amalgam reasonably intact for 4Â½ years and in the face of the insurgency in Luwero was no mean achievement. As I have shown, Luwero was and is not a good basis for the wholesale condemnation of the UNLA and less so of the entire people in Northern Uganda.
In Luwero, there was, in effect, two armies both with the name "UNLA" or "Obote's soldiers". One was the official UNLA and the other was Museveni's recruiting force and for the latter see Paragraphs 108-109. I have never held nor claimed that the official UNLA never committed crimes or atrocities in Luwero. The media will most probably now twist the meaning of that sentence to mean that I have now admitted the wholesale heaping onto the UNLA of atrocities committed in Luwero. That is not my meaning! I know of the performance of the UNLA in Luwero such as protecting villages and temporary camps for the displaced which were served by the International Committee of the Red Cross personnel. I know that diplomats visited all those camps. Visiting Ministers and officials from countries abroad also visited those camps. Except for the first four or five months of the war, when they fled to Luwero Town to escape Museveni's terror, it was the UNLA officers and men who made it possible for large numbers of people from the interior of Luwero to reach the camps. I do also know that it was the UNLA officers who took from villages in the interior, the mothers and babies, the sick and the very old to hospitals and places of safety.
Despite all that, it would be churlish of me to claim that there were no renegade officers and men in the UNLA. That much was clear as witnessed by the arrests and detention of a large number who were later released in August 1985 by the Okello and Okello Junta. Some Embassies or High Commissions were provided with list of UNLA officers and men in detention.
From the last week of January 1986 to date, journalists from abroad visiting Uganda have taken in Museveni's propaganda against Northerners, Milton Obote and the UPC without any appreciation of Museveni's designs and objectives. Such journalists have, for instance, been taken to villages in Luwero to see and film graffiti some of which read: "We are boys from Gulu" or "A good Muganda is a dead one"! Museveni's design in such graffiti are lost to the journalists who, in commentaries and writing, took it all that the graffiti were, in fact, the works of what the journalists called "Obote's Northern soldiers". The obvious meaning of the graffiti being from someone who was or is desperate to gain support in Buganda and a good image aboard and someone who is full of a venomous hatred of Northerners as a people was also lost to the journalists. The villages where such graffiti are found are the same villages which the personnel of the International Committee of the Red Cross or Oxfam, etc. used to visit regularly throughout the war. Such personnel did not see the now famous graffiti.
A former Commissioner of Prisons in the 1960s returned to Uganda in 1981 to work as adviser to the Government on the management of Prisons. His basic salary was paid by the British Government - he being British. I appointed this hard-working man to head the Government's humanitarian services in Luwero and to be the link between the Government and other institutions such as the ICRC and Oxfam which were already deeply involved in servicing the needs of the destitutes in Luwero. The Officer, Bill Kirkham, did not see the graffiti. He used to visit villages under the UNLA protection regularly. He had free access to Ministers and me. I entertain no doubt whatsoever that if Bill Kirkham had seen such a graffiti he would have told me or the Ministers.
The appearance of the graffiti in villages, after the war, can only be the work of the NRA. Museveni's design and objectives are clear in the graffiti. To get the Baganda and the international community to detest and condemn Obote and the "Northern soldiers" for massacres; to conceal his own massacres by detracting attention and pointing finger to the object of his hatred, the Northerners; thereby making any independent investigation superfluous.
The objectives thus included the poisoning of the minds of the Baganda against the Northerners as a first step in his mission against the Northerners; and to gain support in or keep Buganda calm during his genocide in the North and East. Museveni was and still remains woefully aware of the lack of popular support he can command in Buganda or anywhere else in the country. In his pamphlet - "Selected Articles..." there is not a single photograph amongst several of him or his henchmen addressing a large gathering of peasants anywhere in Luwero. Yet the pamphlet is full of laudable claims of massive support by the peasants. The caption of one photograph in the pamphlet reads: "The support of civilians was crucial in the resistance war. However, NRM - resistance committee meeting is in progress between peasants and NRA Personnel". The photograph shows a terrified handful of peasants. Another photographs shows Museveni "addressing NRA soldiers and civilians" but the said soldiers and civilians are all in one group and out of focus. Certainly the number in the photograph which, incidentally does not appear to include a single woman civilian can not, by any stretch of the imagination, qualify as massive support.
The photographs were taken about 1983 by William Pike, now the editor of Museveni's official Paper, New Vision, Tim Cooper and Allison Poteous. Even these three who had gone to Luwero bush on a mission to grab anything which could bolster Museveni's image could not apparently find and photograph "good life" in villages under the control of the NRA or a mass meeting of peasants in support of Museveni. Instead, they were led to one "of the dumping sites for those murdered in cold blood in Obote's reprisals against the innocent civilians". The photograph shows NRA men and skulls. If the skulls were really in "one of the dumping sites for innocent civilians murdered in cold blood" by the UNLA, the question which arises immediately is why dump skulls and not the whole body! Also how come that the NRA have been so successful in finding skulls and not as the caption of the photograph of the skulls claim: "Thousands of skeletons littered the countryside"?
The graffiti and the skulls tell the same story. The story has two faces. Both were the works of the NRA done on Museveni's orders. Second, they have been used or displayed to conceal massacres by Museveni in Luwero and to generate in Buganda, in particular, support for Museveni in his objective to "eliminate the backward, primitive people in the North" - his own words.
The similarities between the agonies of Luwero on one hand and on the other of the North and East are glaring and unmistakable. The monster invented a mocking dirge for his Luwero victims which said - "Heap all your hatred; pour all your tears and direct all your vengeance to the UNLA Northern soldiers". The tune of the dirge and the mockery remain the same in the North and East but some of the words have changed - "Heap all your hatred; pour all your tears; direct all your misery and backwardness, to the rebels amongst you and the cattle rustlers". Though meant to hide the truth, that song is a most startling and clear admission of guilt by Museveni: He was a rebel in Luwero, he belongs to a stock of itinerant cattlemen and a stock who, everywhere in Uganda, is known for stealing cattle. Then there is the fact that at every place of horror, he alone has been present and a constant factor. That is the Genie which the UPC Government controlled and confined in Luwero but which as agents, the DP leaders nurtured and Okello and Okello and others released onto Ugandans.
Okello and Okello
Tito Okello and Bazilio Okello were suborned to overthrow the second UPC Government by three sets of people - the DP leaders, Museveni gang and a band of capricious UPC members. Each set had its own objectives which, as we have seen in the case of Museveni, would not be achieved through the ballot; the UPC was too strong even for all the three combined. Albeit, a secret cabal was therefore formed for the purpose. The DP leaders were scared stiff of the forthcoming elections. The capricious UPC members feared that they would not be adopted as candidates in the same elections. As for the Museveni gang, any course to the seat of government which bypassed elections was sweet music. The frustration of the elections was, therefore, acceptable to all three groups. The use of a section of the army was also agreed as well as schemes to suborn the two Okellos. What was difficult for the cabal was not only reasons to be given publicity by the Okellos after the coup and how to justify the presence of the capricious UPC men in the planned new regime.
The break up of the cabal in 1985 and the ouster of the Okello Junta in January 1986 by the NRA created much bitterness amongst the erstwhile friends in the conspiracy.
The content of the above paragraph and what follows came to light after the break up and ouster of the Okello junta. However, when still working as a team, the conspirators had to define the nature of the military coup the Okellos were to mount, the reason for the coup and how best to present the capricious UPC men as good patriots. The matter, I have been told, became more and more intricate every time the cabal discussed it. The matter of the problem later resolved itself simply on the nature of the promise each group had pledged to each other. This was principally that each of the groups would be fairly represented in the Cabinet of the Junta. It was, therefore, agreed by the cabal that the thrust of the reasons for the coup would be on the UPC President and three Ministers; the UPC as a Party and the performance of the second UPC government was not to be attacked and except for staunch members of the UPC who may prove to be troublesome and who would, therefore, have to be arrested and detained, members of the UPC and DP were to be massively mobilized to support the Junta.
The next problem for the cabal was how to induce, bribe and by all means get Tito Okello and Bazilio Okello to accept the conspiracy. The cabal had selected the two men on the ground, that they were the most senior UNLA officers from Acholi and Acholi had the largest number of men in the UNLA.
I have, since coming to Zambia, learnt that the cabal made promises and concessions to Tito Okello. I cite a few: Okello was to have a free hand in the recruitment, training and deployment of troops; Okello was to have full control of military supplies - purchase of weapons, vehicles, food and uniforms, etc.; the new regime would, with the assistance from China, develop a large mixed farm at Amuru in Gulu District and then hand over the farm to Tito Okello. Just as we will see in the case of Bazilio Okello, the country was plunged into the present nightmares of death and crushing misery because of greed and ephemeral glory.
All accounts I have been given agree that the cabal found no difficulty in suborning and recruiting Bazilio Okello into the conspiracy. A member of the cabal assigned the task, accomplished it at the first meeting with Okello. I recount what Bazilio Okello told his confidant, later my informant. The emissary of the cabal first reviewed the security and military situation emphasizing that the NRA had been virtually defeated and its remnants were fleeing to Rwenzori Mountains where without doubt, the Rwenzururu who were staunch UPC supporters would finally destroy the NRA.
The emissary then moved onto a Brigade of the UNLA which was in Luwero at the time. The commander of the Brigade was Lt. Col. John Ogole. The appointment of Ogole, the emissary said, was Obote's "tribalist" scheme to bring UNLA officers from Lango into the limelight. Next the emissary told Bazilio Okello that there were politicians of all Parties who expected Bazilio Okello to succeed the late Major General David Oyite-Ojok as Chief of Staff; those politicians were not happy that Brigadier Smith Opon Acak was appointed instead, bypassing Bazilio Okello who was senior to Opon. The defeat of the NRA would, therefore, be credited to Opon and Ogole and the role of officers and men from Acholi would be played down. The situation was intolerable, the emissary asserted, and something must be done particularly since Obote had decided to raise a new army which, after training, will mean dismissal of men like Bazilio Okello.
My informant told me that at that first meeting, Bazilio Okello was given a broad picture of what the cabal wanted. This included: the removal of the UPC government before the next elections and replacing it with a broad-based government of all Parties including "Museveni"; Bazilio Okello becoming Chief of Staff; and the disbandment of "Obote's new army". The first meeting, Okello's confidante, my informant told me, was arranged through a ranking cleric.
Tito Okello and Bazilio Okello were, therefore, recruited into the conspiracy simply by dangling in their eyes the glories of high rank, unearned riches and control of the UNLA. The defeat of the NRA in Luwero or its destruction in the Rwenzori Mountains could never have moved either of the Okellos. The Luwero Brigade was originally, since the beginning of Museveni's insurgency, composed of UNLA Companies drawn from different Brigades or Battalions and deployed there for a period. In the second half of 1981, it was decided that Companies earmarked for service in Luwero should first undergo training in the laws of war - Geneva Convention - and some Commonwealth countries helped greatly with that training but the exigencies of the war did not allow, until late 1983 for that objective to be achieved. Ogole, therefore, went to Luwero in 1984 at a time when virtually the whole of the UNLA officers and men had had training in the laws of war. All officers of his rank, except for those who were Heads of Departments at the Army Headquarters or Training Schools had been Commanders in Luwero.
As for the "new Army" which the cabal used to scare Bazilio Okello and thereby induce him to join in the conspiracy, no patriotic Ugandan could blame the government for raising it. There were several reasons for raising that army. The most important was the direct result of the decision that all the men in the UNLA should undergo training in the laws of war. A large number, some 4,000 men in the UNLA, were found in early 1981, to be barely literate and unable to profit by any such training. A project to keep such men in the UNLA not as combatants but principally to train to be farmers was prepared. A minimum standard, a Pass at Primary Seven level, was set for the new recruits and replacements. Character assessment by Headmaster, Parish Priest and Chief was a must. The UNLA Recruiting Teams were directed to raise at least 30 men from each Parliamentary Constituency. Simple as it may appear on paper, the exercise was not mounted until late 1983; budgetary considerations were the main constraint. This nucleus of a national army since the destruction by Amin of the first one was dissolved by the Okello Junta.
There are Ugandans, even now, who believe that Opon's appointment as Chief of Staff was not warranted, was tribal, and that on seniority Bazilio Okello should have had the appointment. Those who accuse and brand others as tribalists or sectarians, as Museveni would say, should take care lest they expose themselves of being the greatest protagonists of the very thing which, like the Pharisees of old, they pretend to condemn. If Bazilio Okello was senior to Opon, then the same Okello was also senior to David Oyite Ojok and to a large number of officers younger than him who were Majors and Lt. Colonels at the time of the Amin coup. On the basis of that, my accusers should be told enough, if they are honest, to stretch their accusation and state that I practiced tribalism against Bazilio Okello both before the Amin coup and later during the Second UPC government. This scenario would make Bazilio Okello a great officer of the Uganda Army of the 1960s whose promotions were frustrated by Obote's tribalistic tendencies; but why Bazilio Okello alone and not other officers from Acholi!
Some Ugandans have written books and published papers in magazines trying to justify the coup on that ground. In Uganda, Museveni's mouthpiece New Vision under the editorship of his paid mercenary William Pike, has also published the same falsehood. The books, magazine articles, and New Vision presented me as one who had designs and planned the massacres of the entire Acholi in the UNLA; and that in so doing men from Lango would control the UNLA and that Okello and Okello acted to pre-empt the alleged massacre!
This nonsense has cost thousands, now probably a million or more lives. I shall show later the hollowness of the nonsense. But first I set out the background to the fiction of the supersession of Bazilio Okello by Smith Opon Acak.
When Independence was on the horizon, the Colonial Government selected Senior Sergeants in the KAR and appointed them to the rank of Effendi. These men who, due to such appointments were no longer Sergeants and were also not officers. The awkward situation was corrected by making the Effendi the first stage of a crash officers' course leading to the commissioning of the Effendis to the officer rank of Lieutenant. In the course of time and after undergoing more courses they were appointed to higher ranks. After Independence, the UPC Government discontinued the system of Effendi. It was through that system that men like Shaban Opolot, Idi Amin, Pierino Okoya, Suleiman Hussein, Juma Musa, Tito Okello and several others became officers.
The UPC Government abolished the system and introduced a new one where young men were encouraged to volunteer for training as officers. There was no conscription. Only one such young man had been to such a course at Independence. His future was not frustrated by Amin, as it is often alleged but by Shaban Opolot and Felix Onama, the Minister in whose portfolio the Army fell, knows that much as the truth. Unlike the men who became officers through the Effendi system, the young men who became officers after Independence had a choice to serve on what the law (military) calls short commission or General Commission. Short Commission meant that the officer would, unless something adverse happened, serve for a specific number of years and then retire. General Commission meant service until the age of retirement, again unless something happened to make him leave the army earlier. In either case, the officer had the right to resign at any time. I do not recall of any young man who chose to serve on Short Commission. The Opolot Group were all on General Commission.
On being commissioned, a man however young, and after two years of training, became automatically an officer and, therefore, senior to say, any Sergeant who may have been in the army for twenty years or more. That was the law and practice. That was and still is the reason why officers such as Oyite-Ojok who joined the army many years later became Senior to the likes of Bazilio Okello who had been in the army since the 1950s.
Army command is very much like the practice in certain professions such as teaching, or medicine. It would be a gross dereliction of responsibility to appoint a Primary Teacher or a Medical Assistant to the posts of Headmaster of a Senior Secondary School or Superintendent of Mulago Hospital respectively, however long the Primary Teacher or Medical Assistant has been in service.
In 1967, the Government reviewed the matter of the Effendi system. The review was not for the purpose of introducing it but to improve the retirement benefits - pension in particular - of the Senior Sergeants when they retire and to induce their early retirement to give way to the new breed who had higher and better academic education. It was decided that a special scheme be established so that such Senior Sergeants when they come to retire should get the pension payable to an officer who retires at the rank of Captain. The scheme was explained to the officers and to the Sergeants. No Sergeant was to be forced to join the scheme, each had to volunteer to join the scheme. On joining the scheme, the Sergeants would undergo a six months course together with Cadet Officers. No one expected the Sergeants, the bulk of whom had not even completed Primary four to cope with the course. Their usefulness in being part of the course at the Training Establishments was to help the young Cadet Officers to gain insight into army life and discipline instead of being aides to Course Instructors as before. The Cadet Officers were holders of "O" level or higher certificates and did two years of training before they were commissioned on General Commission as officers. The Special Scheme stipulated that any Sergeant who joined it would retire at the rank of Captain. Bazilio Okello was such a Sergeant who became Captain under that Special Scheme and was due to retire, as I recall, in 1972 but Amin intervened. Bazilio Okello was, therefore, basically a Sergeant who was to retire, due to the Special Scheme, on the pension of a Captain and by that virtue was a Captain.
Under Amin the Special Scheme became the primary means of commissioning anyone, even from the ranks, to officer rank and without any such men undergoing any training however rudimentary. Amin also gave all his men General Commission. After the fall of Amin, the practice was continued by the UNLF. Sergeants who had retired on pensions as Captains and had escaped Amin's terror were reabsorbed into the UNLA on General Commission. Others who had not retired but went into exile, had not or participated in the war against Amin were also reabsorbed on General Commission. The Special Scheme had either been forgotten or was not known.
Thus, even Sergeants who had not joined the Special Scheme and men such as Bazilio Okello, who participated in the war against Amin were all liberally reabsorbed, given General Commission and promoted. Bazilio Okello who was amongst Ugandan combatants I addressed before they went to war in January 1979, was a Captain but on my return to Uganda on May 27, 1980, he was already a Lt. Colonel on General Commission. He had thus not only changed the Commission of his officer status from Short to General but also received two promotions, Major and Lt. Colonel in a year (1979/80) and without undergoing a Course as stipulated by the Regulations. He was not alone. That was the state of affairs which the Second UPC Government found in December 1980 and which the Government accepted. The greatest drawback of that state of affairs was that men who had been to Staff Colleges abroad found themselves under the command of men who had no or very limited training as Officers. Medical Assistants had become doctors and were running the hospitals. The scenario was entrenched on July 27, 1985, and the whole edifice collapsed in six months with disastrous results which continue to afflict Uganda.
As stated, the UPC Government despite financial constraints embarked in 1981 on a massive training of officers and men who had never been to a course. This was amended to include virtually all officers. Smith Opon had trained as a Cadet Officer in Greece. Later he went to Staff College in the Soviet Union where he specialized in armored warfare. On the decision requiring virtually all officers to go for courses, Opon went to a Staff College in the United States. Bazilio Okello declined to go to a Staff College abroad but opted to do so in Tanzania. Thus, Lt. Colonel Bazilio Okello, the Brigade Commander, Central, spent a year - 1982/83 -in Tanzania on a Course at Staff College. That was his first serious course as an officer and to put it mildly and objectively, he did not do well at all. Opon on the other hand, whatever may be his faults, did extremely well in all the courses he underwent. To scratch an old wound with the point of a new pin, so to speak, Bazilio Okello was a medical assistant and Smith Opon was a doctor and, therefore, the matter of who was born or joined the army first was immaterial.
In 1984, the Ministry of Defense considered the merits of more than ten officers for the post of Chief of Staff. There were three Brigadiers, at the time, in the UNLA, but the Ministry did not restrict itself to the three on account of seniority in rank, age or number of years in the army. Colonels and even Lt. Colonels were also considered. After months of patient and objective studies, Tito Okello the Chief of Defense Forces, was advised by the Ministry to submit two names from a short list to the Defense Council.
I do not know how many names were there or who was on that list.
The normal practice when the Defense Council met to consider promotions or appointments was for he Office of the Chief of Defense Forces Tito Okello) to submit to the Council the Curriculum Vitae (CV) of the officers being recommended for promotions or appointments as well as the CVs of any officer, if any, who may be superseded by such promotions or appointments. However, in the case of the replacement of the late Major General David Oyite Ojok as Chief of Staff, no CV of the two officers who were recommended by Tito Okello was submitted to the Defense Council. Before the scheduled meeting of the Defense Council and the Agenda was issued, I received a communication from the Minister of Defense, Paulo Muwanga. He wrote to say that since the scheduled meeting of the Defense Council which would consider appointment to the Office of the Chief of Staff would be held during the time when he would be on a visit in the Far East, he wanted to put his views in writing. Paulo Muwanga wrote that he had over a period of months discussed with Tito Okello the merits of a number of officers but had been disappointed that Tito Okello would not see sense in considering or submitting to the Defense Council any other officer except Bazilio Okello. I met Muwanga before he left for the visit abroad and he confirmed his recommendation in favor of Opon.
The Agenda for the Defense Council meeting was duly issued and circulated. All items concerning promotions or appointments were not accompanied by CVs of the officers. For the Office of the Chief of Staff, the Chief of Defense Forces, Tito Okello, recommended:
Brigadier Bazilio Okello Olara
Brigadier Smith Acak
There was nothing else - only the two names. What later the (tribalist) supporters of Bazilio Okello was to make a vaunted plank namely, that Bazilio Okello had been "enlisted" years before Opon was not even included by Tito Okello. My office noticed the absence of CVs in the submissions for all promotions and appointments on the Agenda. Tito Okello's office was contacted and he came to explain the omission to me. Tito Okello told me that Colonel Mwaka, the Head of Records Department was in hospital abroad, the records for the CVs were in a safe and no one had the key to the safe! I told Tito Okello that I would arrange to send an officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to go to Colonel Mwaka and bring the key to the safe and that he, Tito Okello had to write a letter which the officer was to take to Mwaka.
In the end, no one was sent abroad, for various reasons, and the Defense Council met without the CVs of the two men who had been recommended for the Office of the Chief of Staff. In that way, Tito Okello unwittingly made it his responsibility to give verbally to the Defense Council strong and weak points in the case of each of the two candidates. It was a disaster. His short speech was all babble and the gist of it was that the Council knew the two officers and the Council should decide. He made no recommendation as to his preference and certainly did not say that one was senior to the other.
The Defense Council duly appointed Smith Opon Acak taking into account Minutes of the previous meeting at which both officers were promoted to the rank of Brigadier when their CVs up to the time of that previous meeting had been furnished to the Council. How the two men had performed after being appointed to the rank of Brigadier was not given to the Council. There is a proverb in parts of Uganda which loosely translated says: Shyness or reticence can make you eat poison. Thus at this meeting of the Council where Opon was appointed to the Office of the Chief of Staff, no member of the Council in due respect to Tito Okello's age, pointed to him the unrecorded opinion of the Council on Bazilio Okello when the latter was promoted to the rank of Brigadier. The opinion was that due to his very poor performance at Staff College in Tanzania and age, Bazilio Okello should be advised by Chief of Defense Forces (Tito Okello) to retire in two years.
The point to emphasize is that Bazilio Okello, then the second oldest man in the UNLA, next to Tito Okello who was himself due for retirement, had been proposed for promotion to an exacting office where his abilities could not cope. Those who doubted or rejected this assessment of Bazilio Okello, and who later flocked to praise and kiss his hand and to jubilate after July 27 1985, should be in the circumstances of Uganda today, under Museveni to realize that the gun which shoots the vote is a prescription for massacres and destruction of Armaggedonic proportions. The greed, opportunism, scramble for office and hunger for ill-gotten wealth in the body politics of Uganda show no sign of waning. The more the masses, peasants, youth and workers - are brutalized, the more opportunist politicians team up with whatever brute turns up. Conversely, the more conditions for the advancement of the peasants, workers and youth improve, the more the same opportunist politicians conspire with gun-men to shoot and kill that advancement.
That was the state of affairs in 1985 when the hopes of the peasant farmers, workers, civil servants, students, the sick and pregnant women and the entire well being of Uganda were shot by Okello and Okello at the behest of opportunist politicians to pave way for Museveni's Armageddon of total destruction of lives by the millions of whatever is of value in millions of homes.
Examined from another angle, it is surprising that supporters of Okello and Okello in what the two men did appear to be convinced that Okello and Okello were right to stage the military rebellion. Those supporters are totally unmoved by any argument that even if Bazilio Okello was senior to Opon, which was not the case, to support the Okellos for doing what they did, is to accept responsibility for massacres under Museveni. This is because had the Okellos not acted the way they did, Museveni's massacres would have stopped in Luwero - where his army had been defeated and he himself had fled to Sweden. It was the Okellos who called Museveni back and who surrendered the whole of the Western Region and West Buganda together with the UNLA men and weapons in those areas to those areas to the NRA when the NRA had only scattered stragglers. It was the Okellos who gave Museveni six months for recuperation, recruitment, training and mobilization of resources through which the NRA was rebuilt. The recognition of Museveni and ceding to him of a large territory to rule as he pleased was the second most odious crime which the new Chief of Staff, Bazilio Okello, committed against the people of Uganda. Yet the supporters of the Okellos continue to believe that their heroes did the right thing and to believe that should circumstances permit, the same should be repeated. Museveni's genocide in the North and East which came about as the direct result of the crimes of the Okellos is blamed onto others. And at the bottom ot it all, such supporters of the Okellos appear to want a situation where any soldier who feels dissatisfied with his post or rank should correct it by resorting to the gun, the Ugandan gun brought with public funds, and set himself as the ruler of Uganda. This reasoning, I am sure, has no support anywhere in Uganda.
The first heinous crime was the overthrow of the elected government in exchange for ill-gotten riches and ephemeral and undeserved high status. The conspirators had defined the parameter of the crime as "removal of Obote and a few Ministers" who were three and were named. After the coup, the alleged supersession of Bazilio Okello by Smith Opon was dropped and was never aired again in public. The Okellos must have realized that throughout their years in the army, each had been superseded by men who joined the army later than they did. Tito Okello, for instance, joined the army before Opolot, Amin, Okoya, Hussein and Musa each of whom became senior to him long before independence. The two Okellos desperately needed something to justify the coup; the politicians who had suborned them (Okellos) and who were busy carving up spheres of influence and looting left the dirty work to the Okellos. A new ground for the coup was thus floated; it was that I planned to massacre the entire Acholi component in the UNLA; i.e., more than half the strength of the UNLA - and that the Okellos acted to pre-empt the alleged plan! It was necessary to invent this preposterous ground in order to gain the confidence and support of the young officers who were questioning the reasons for the coup, appeals to Museveni whom they had fought for four and one-half years to come and join the Junta and the ceding of territory and arms in the West to the NRA which the young officers knew were composed only of stragglers.
The Okellos were politically ignorant - totally ignorant. When the rein of government fell into their hands, they became idiots and clowns and easy preys for the manipulation of seasoned and opportunist politicians who had fall back positions whereas the Okellos had none. After promoting themselves, as promised during the planning of the conspiracy, the Okellos found themselves faced with a myriad of problems for which neither their long service in the army nor the cacophony of their advisors could provide any coherent or meaningful solutions or program of action. Thus, for instance, when they tried to set up a Cabinet, wrangles between Okello and Okello and also between Paulo Muwanga and Paul Ssemogerere as to who should be in the Cabinet, made the young officers who, like the Okellos, were also from Acholi, to demand that either Adimola's services were dispensed with at once or the two Okellos would be shot. The young officers ordered Andrew Adimola, the DP Vice-President, out of the Nile Mansions from where Bazilio Okello was operating and told Adimola that he would be shot if he ever returned there. That was when the Okellos floated the fiction about the alleged plan to massacre the Acholi component in the UNLA.
How and why, the young officers wondered, could a plan so grave, was concealed by the two Okellos until the incident of the Cabinet! Why was it that amongst the leading politicians from Acholi only those who were members of the DP appeared to know about it and only three who were members of the UPC. Further, the young officers asked why no senior military officer from Gulu District had been taken into confidence by the Okellos and told of the alleged plot before the coup!
The result was that the "massacre plot" was dropped and replaced by another stupid fiction namely, Acholi Government. It was stupid because it sought to alienate the Acholi as a people from the rest of Ugandans and to make them collectively responsible and bear blame for the criminal deeds and failures of the Okello Junta. This led to vehement protests in Acholi and UPC leaders from there were arrested and detained. Tito Okello, the Head of State, went to Kitgum, his home District, after the coup. He went to attend the funeral of a daughter of a former UPC Minister. When Okello's helicopter landed and he alighted from it, the huge crowd left the scene. The mother of the deceased told Okello: "Tito, have you seen what you have done"? Okello left for Gulu and the crowd returned. That was the last time Tito Okello visited Kitgum. When he fell, the people ransacked and destroyed his Kitgum Townhouse. Thus, were buried in Kitgum, at the internment of the daughter of my friend, the late Erika Lakidi, all the fiction about Bazilio Okello having been superseded, the plot to massacre the Acholi in the army and the stupid fiction of an Acholi government under Okello and Okello.
Unlike Tito Okello and Bazilio Okello, the opportunist politicians who were in the conspiracy had, in their respective factions, fall back positions. The factions, as already stated were three: Museveni, capricious UPC men and DP leaders. All three were afraid of the General Elections due not later than December 1985. The Museveni faction had failed to overthrow the government and then to rule by the gun; the NRA had been defeated and were on the run and Museveni's dream to impose a personal and arbitrary rule had reached its nadir. When this faction was approached to join in the conspiracy, Museveni saw it as a God-send blessing, a deus ex machina and grabbed it. He accepted the parameter of the conspiracy, "removal of Obote and three Ministers" - but worked out his fall back position. The kernel of that position was, as is now known, to gain time during which to rebuild the NRA. He exploited the parameter to the hilt. The following is what I have been given since coming to Zambia.
Museveni or his agents concentrated on the DP leaders thanking them for the support which that Party gave him in Luwero, in Parliament and abroad. It was sweet music for the DP leaders when Museveni's agents numbed their senses with exaltations such as, the DP was the largest and most popular Party, the DP won the 1980 elections, the Luwero war was a common stand between the NRM/NRA and the DP against the common enemy, the UPC. Museveni's agents asked and obtained from the DP leaders mutual respect, increased propaganda against the UPC government, fair share of government posts between the DP and the NRM after the overthrow of the UPC government, and the exclusion of the UPC from the new regime. It was also agreed that Tito Okello would be a figure Head of State and that a Triumvirate drawn from the DP, NRM and the Okello forces would constitute the executive authority of the regime to be formed. The DP leaders proposed that the new regime should promise a general election without stating when it would be held. Museveni's reply was that the matter be left for the new executive to discuss and pronounce upon and the DP leaders agreed.
To the capricious UPC men, at separate meetings, Museveni's agents apologized for assertions in some NRM/NRA bulletins which, they said, gave the impression that the war in Luwero, was directed against the UPC as a Party. The agents explained that the war was to remove Milton Obote and a few men around him. The agents declared that Museveni had approached in 1980, some of the men now in the conspiracy for a common front against Obote, and now that there was unanimity on the objective, Museveni would work amicably with the capricious men. There was, however, one sticky point, Museveni, through his agents, wanted assurance that the capricious men would take over the leadership of the UPC, would not allow Obote to escape and establish abroad, like during Amin's rule, a rallying point for the UPC members. Museveni demanded, through his agents, how the capricious men would carry out the "removal of Obote and three Ministers"; was it to be arrests by the UNLA or by a vote of no confidence passed by an appropriate organ of the UPC? At first, the inner circle of the capricious men who knew the answer were reluctant to disclose it to Museveni or his agents. That annoyed Museveni; he accused the capricious men of attempting to lure him into a trap and demanded a direct channel to Tito Okello and Bazilio Okello. The controllers of Okello and Okello were, despite the cleric previously mentioned, were the capricious men. Needless to say, the capricious men opened the requested channel and also disclosed how the parameter would be executed - murders.
The three main factions, though agreeing on a broad front were also uncomfortable with each other. The Museveni faction had obtained from the other two factions and from Okello and Okello the control of the Western Region and West Buganda too easily and in exchange for nothing. It became a must for the capricious UPC men and the DP leaders each to find fall back positions. The UPC men decided on a three pronged move:
Making contact and forming alliance with two sets of officers and soldiers who served under Amin, the bulk of whom were in Sudan and Zaire but somewhere in Uganda but not in the UNLA. However, one of the two sets had in 1982, through Gadaffi, agreed to work with Museveni against the UPC government. Persuading that set to unilaterally abrogate the Tripoli Agreement appears not to have been difficult. Okello and Okello were also persuaded to accept the "reinforcement".
Raising an own force from within. FEDEMU was to be the nucleus. The arms for this force came from the UNLA stores. Tito Okello but not Bazilio Okello was used in this sub-plot. It is said that Tito Okello nearly opted out of the main conspiracy when the matter of arms for this force was first put to him but he became somehow convinced that such a force would be essential in the event of prolonged fighting amongst the UNLA soldiers in barracks across the country and Kampala in particular.
The third prong was political. It was how best the capricious men would take over the leadership of the UPC without going through the provisions of the Constitution of the Party. A small Committee was appointed to consider and advise. The objective here was to inherit, albeit through betrayal, the stock of the popularity of the Party and to use it in parleys with the other factions, reduce or undermine Museveni's effectiveness in the West or should the need arise, use it for the recruitment of combatants.
The DP leaders had one and only one constant objective in the whole conspiracy; namely, the destruction of the UPC, the only Party which had in the past humiliated them and could again do so at the polls. To the DP leaders, therefore, any scheme which could weaken the UPC such as the parameter of the conspiracy then being plotted was a welcome beginning towards their objective. Although they had agreed to the Triumvirate set up, the DP leaders nevertheless wanted and plotted for a controlling voice in the expected new regime. This led the DP leaders to devise a fall back position which would guarantee their being in the expected Okello Junta without or without a controlling voice or continue in any successor regime should the Junta, for any reason, fall. The fall back position devised was very similar to that of the UPC men which suggests that there were spies in the two factions but the DP position had one leg in Okello and Okello and the other in Museveni's NRM/NRA. The plan devised was as follows:
The Vice-President of the DP, Andrew Adimola, was appointed to work on Bazilio Okello and he became both before and after the coup the Chief Political Adviser to Bazilio Okello. The task given to Adimola was to get Bazilio Okello to ensure that the DP would have a controlling voice in the Okello Junta and to ensure that Bazilio Okello and not Tito Okello controlled firmly that faction of the UNLA which would stage the coup.
On the success of the main conspiracy, the coup, Bazilio Okello was to pass arms from the UNLA stores to the remnants of the UFM which had been defeated by the UNLA in 1982. The UFM was to be rebuilt as an armed wing of the DP but with Bazilio Okello as the overall Commander. To achieve this objective, Bazilio Okello was to be the overall head of the UNLA, the Chief of Defense Staff (CDF) and not Tito Okello who would, in any case, be Head of State. Brigadier Bazilio Okello, Adimola advised, had to assume the Office of Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) and the rank of Lieutenant General immediately the success of the coup was announced. Adimola's hold on Bazilio Okello was strong but was later broken by young officers.
As if they knew what the young officers were later to do, the DP leaders worked out a further fall back position in such an eventuality. The scheme fell just short of complete take-over the NRM/NRA by the DP. Leaders and agents of that Party in the Western Region were directed to join the NRM and to raise recruits for the NRA should the Region be ceded to the NRM/NRA. The short term aim was for Museveni and his NRM/NRA to depend on the DP for manpower in the rebuilding of the NRA; whereas the long term objective was the overthrow of Museveni. This is the reason for the love-hate relationship which has existed up now between the DP leaders and Museveni.
It is now known that by the end of March 1985, the three factions had reached general agreement to work together. In addition, each faction was assigned specific tasks. Museveni was asked to prevent the rout of the NRA by the UNLA and to increase acts of terrorism in Kampala. The capricious UPC men were asked to undermine the UPC government from within, create dissensions in the UPC and provide intelligence reports to the NRA. The DP leaders undertook to step up propaganda at home and abroad against the UPC government.
In early 1985, the DP leader complained to foreign Embassies and visiting foreign journalists that his freedom of movement had been curtailed and that the Government had put obstacles to his tour of the country to address DP meetings. It turned out that Paul Ssemogerere had, in fact, always informed the Prime Minister, Otema Allimadi, of such tours and that after every such tour, Ssemogerere wrote to the Prime Minister. The Ambassadors who had queried why the Government had curtailed Ssemogerere's movement or put obstacles to his tours were furnished with copies of Ssemogerere's letters to the Prime Minister. Every one of the letters were full of appreciation for Security (Police) coverage not only of Ssemogerere and his entourage but also at public meetings. I do not know what opinions the Ambassadors formed of Ssemogerere. The media abroad, of course accepted, in good faith, the lies told by Ssemogerere and the image of the UPC was damaged abroad not for doing wrong but for doing right. You can not win when the International Press behaves that way against you.
Then there was the case of the Black Book. In Parliament and outside, Ssemogerere made a great play that he had opened a Black Book in which he was recording violations of human rights by the UNLA and those in government. Ssemogerere threatened that the records in the Book would be made public at some undefined time in the future. As far as I know, that time appears not to have come even as I now write - more than four and a half years since the overthrow of the UPC government. Ssemogerere has not also appeared, in three years, before Museveni's Human Rights Commission and put to the Commission the contents of his Black Book. It is possible that after reading these Notes and this comment, Ssemogerere will get a Black Book, write in it any imaginable and concocted atrocities allegedly committed by the UNLA, members of the UPC or by the UPC government and then present the concoctions to the Commission. My guess is that the Black Book, like the complaint to Embassies, was a pure gimmick and that the Book never existed and that Ssemogerere's non-existent Black Book was a fiction which was being uttered to advance the conspiracy against the UPC Government. However, the foreign journalists who visited Uganda and interviewed Ssemogerere on the matter of the Black Book and who believed that Ssemogerere had real evidence to back up his allegations against the UPC Government, have shown not the slightest interest as to why that evidence has not, for four and a half years, been made public.
The DP propaganda (lies) though transparently hollow were accepted abroad but in Uganda the utterances of the DP leaders made them look as Zombies. The economy was doing well and the DP leaders could find nothing solid to attack on that front. The situation in Luwero was stabilizing, the NRA stragglers were in hiding or fleeing from the District and the government with the cooperation of International Organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was implementing a program for the return of normal life in Luwero. The DP leaders became desperate in 1985 to find something, anything at all, to hurl against the UPC government now that the great issues of the early 1980s, Luwero and the economy, could not be exploited by them. They, of course, had a range of matters, government policies, implementation of policies, etc. which they could oppose or attack but that course appeared to them dull and routine. The DP leaders wanted something outrageous which could excite the media as well as the DP paymasters abroad. It did not matter to the DP leaders whether that something was real or concocted; in fact, they preferred concoctions. On that basis, Ssemogerere launched his last great propaganda against the UPC government. He chose a constitutional matter knowing full well that he had no leg whatsoever on which to build his case but did so in order to create doubts abroad as to whether the pending general elections would be free and fair and with the doubts to lay grounds for the DP to boycott the elections.
The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides that:
"47 (i) There shall be an Electoral Commission, which shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two other members appointed by the president".
When I appointed the Commission (seven members including the Chairman), the DP leaders termed it "Obote's Commission" and demanded that the UPC and the DP should each appoint an equal number to the Commission with the Chairmanship rotating between the two Parties! It was by the ruse of another such outrageous demand that the DP leaders chose in 1981 not to cooperate with the Government in containing Museveni's insurgency in Luwero. This time, on the matter of the Electoral Commission, the demand by the DP leaders was so preposterous that not only the other political parties but also any citizen could have gone to the High Court and easily obtained a judgement to the effect that a Commission appointed as the DP proposed was ultra vires the Constitution.
Ssemogerere and the other leaders of the DP were, of course, not interested in any such eventuality. They knew the constitutional position; they were also not against any of the seven members I had appointed; they had no hope of winning the elections due not later than December 1985, but since they had a duty to step up propaganda as a prelude to the overthrow of the UPC Government, the outrageous nature of his demand fell squarely within the task to be performed to promote the overthrow not only of an elected government but also the Constitution, Parliament and the Rule of Law.
As the conspiracy thickened and the NRA weakened, the DP leaders threw a bombshell in Parliament. It was the occasion of the debate on the 1985 Communication from the Chair. For four years, the DP had condemned the UNLA and used extremely vulgar language against the officers and the men of the UNLA. In this debate and again in the Budget debate June/July 1985, the DP Members of Parliament, one after another rose to praise and exalt and generally eulogize officers and men of the UNLA. The late Lt. Colonel John Upor, who was a member of Parliament, was the first to question and wonder what had happened to make the DP Members of Parliament change their earlier view of the UNLA. The answer, as we all know, came on July 27, 1985.
In January 1971, Amin who staged his coup to frustrate and forestall investigations of his criminal activities issued a long statement to cover up the real reasons for the coup. The long statement was issued on the very day of the coup. Okello and Okello who had politicians advising them for months before July 27 took three and one half months (July 27 to November 11, 1985), to explain (albeit through lies) to the nation and the world at large, the cause of causes of their coup. On 27th July, and subsequent days, all that was read on Radio Uganda was that "Obote's tribalist government" had been overthrown. The choice of that phrase was to haunt and undermine the standing of the capricious UPC men who had participated in the conspiracy. The UPC members from across the country, West to East, South to North, men and women and youth detested and protested hitting out gravely and correctly that "a bunch of criminal ignoramuses virtually from the same village" had had the audacity to paint a national Party and its government in "colors of the very men who were the authors of the ghastly and dastardly deed of July 27". The coup, the phrase, the UPC response to the phrase and the arrests of the UPC leaders in Acholi ensured that the capricious men had no hope of mobilizing members of the UPC in support of the Junta.
Paulo Muwanga, the Vice President of the UPC who was soon to be appointed "Executive Prime Minister", presumably to woo the UPC support for the regime later left the regime either in disgust and bitterness or was sacked in humiliating circumstances after only three weeks in the office.
The leaders of the Junta, Tito Okello and Bazilio Okello, in their total ignorance of even the rudiments of politics blundered, bungled, botched up and did everything as if they were on a mission or an assignment to destroy or ruin Uganda beyond repairs. For the first time, since Independence, Uganda was formally split asunder into two, with one part under Okello and Okello and the other under Museveni and Kampala, the Capital, was carved up into five domains controlled and ruled by five armies - the rump of the UNLA under Bazilio Okello, the Rescue Front under Moses Ali, Former Uganda National Army (FUNA) under Gad Toko, FEDEMU under Dr. David Lwanga and UFM under Dr. Andrew Kayiira. The Okello and Okello Junta, as already stated herein, criminally assigned officers, men and weapons of the UNLA, then the national army, in the Western Brigade to Museveni's command. No terms were agreed or even mooted regarding the role, the use of the weapons or the welfare of the officers and men, not even who would pay for their emoluments. Effectively, the officers and men, weapons as well as other resources of the UNLA in the Western Brigade thereby ceased to be part of the UNLA and became available to Museveni to use as he pleased including the overthrow of his politically ignorant benefactors which he later did.
The mad-house like situation which developed under Okello and Okello was such that a patriotic and nationalist Ugandan would and could have easily decided without hesitation to have nothing to do with such a regime which openly exhibited through its power base and the calibre of its two leaders a very grave danger to the unity, stability and well being of Uganda and her citizens. What was on exhibition was a couple of political goons hired by political racketeers to rob Uganda of good government, rule of law and wealth. It is a sad commentary - a very sad one - but fact that opportunist politicians, tribalists, predators home and foreign grown, status climbers and jostlers for positions, seekers of status and ill-gotten wealth, etc., etc. unashamedly flocked, paraded and got whatever they wanted. In other words, they were happy to share out stolen property, destroy whatever they did not want and spite at the masses, the owners of the property.
This mad-house like scramble to destroy or ruin Uganda was given the name of "Broad-based Government" when in fact Uganda, as one State, member of the OAU, UNO, Commonwealth, PTA, etc., had no one, "Uganda" Government and not even a regime and its Capital, Kampala, had been carved into five suzerainities. With the exception of Paulo Muwanga who may have resigned or was sacked, not a single politician left the regime. The DP leaders, led by Paulo Ssemogerere stuck, as leeches, onto the regime and after bleeding the regime to death, left the carcass for (to change the metaphor) greener pastures.
The broad-based government was in fact and for all practical purposes a cynical and virulent general predatory and rapacious looting and ransacking of public and private wealth, universal abuse of public offices and above all an onslaught to pull down the pillars of national unity and national economy. Two of the very first appointments made by Okello and Okello, for instance, were to the Bank of Uganda and the Coffee Marketing Board. The Governor of the Bank of Uganda, Leo Kibirango, was not dismissed but his powers were taken away and given by Okello and Okello to their appointee, a close associate of Andrew Adimola and from the same District. The new man was used by Okello and Okello to loot foreign exchange and the Bank of Uganda soon became as it were, private granaries owned by Okello and Okello. The General Manager (Chief Executive), of the Coffee Marketing Board, John Mpuga, was not so lucky as Kibirango. Mpuga, a brilliant economist, had been associated with the coffee industry for many years. He was at one time the Secretary General and Head of the office in Paris, of the African Coffee Producers Organization. Within days of the coup, Okello and Okello dismissed Mpuga and replaced him by the man who had led the Okello forces from Kitgum. The Chairmanship of the Coffee Marketing Board, a part time job whose only role, according to an act of Parliament, is to chair Board Meetings, was also assigned to the new man. The Chairman who was thus eased out was Henry Barlow, then the most senior Permanent Secretary. None of these three were my relatives.
The next source of easy wealth for Okello and Okello was what is known as Asian Abandoned Property. Under Amin these properties, factories, shops, houses, flats, restaurants, farms, etc., etc. were given or allocated free of charge, to his cohorts and friends. The exception were that big or fairly big enterprises were made parastatal bodies and that the bulk of the Aga Khan Properties were allocated to the Muslim Supreme Council. The UPC alone, all of the four Parties which contested the 1980 General Elections, dealt with this matter whose potential as a source of corruption is obvious. The UPC Manifesto of 1980, on the matter pledged as follows:
"Abandoned Properties: The unclear status of property left behind by Asians has led to unwarranted greed and dishonest scramble for this property by unscrupulous grabbers. Many of the buildings have fallen into sad decay, while desultory attempts by recent Governments to administer this property only bred corruption and nepotism.
It is recognized that much of this property has great potential for boosting Uganda's trade, commercial and industrial sectors and so generally contributing to the quick recovery of our economy.
The UPC Government will urgently formulate a policy to cater for and dispose of this property in a rightful way, once and for all, taking into account the claims of citizens and non-citizen former owners, and the need to promote honest business practice and encourage capital inflow from foreign investors".
The policy formulated by the UPC Government became an Act of Parliament. The Act put a stop to the allocation or giving away of any such property to anybody by any person or authority. The Law gave Ugandans and the former owners a fair chance to bid for the ownership of the Properties. Citizens of Uganda who were interested in any such properties were to register such interests with the Verification Committee. Former owners had three choices; either to apply for total repossession or for partial repossession in partnership with the government or Ugandan entrepreneurs or opt for compensation. The main role of the Verification Committee was to determine who owned the property in 1972 at the time Amin ordered the Asians out of Uganda; what encumbrances, if any, existed at that time, and had they been discharged or not; the owner or owners of the property since 1972, what such owner or owners invested (if any) in the property and what new encumbrances, if any, had been put on the property since 1972. A large number of former owners responded; some applied for repossession, some opted for compensation; owners of big enterprises opted for partnership. Each case had to be fully investigated, after which the Negotiating Committee recommended to the Minister of Finance the granting or withholding of the Certificates of ownership. Where a Ugandan Company or individual was in effective management of the property or in the case of houses or flats, no certificate was granted to the former owners even if they wanted repossession. The Certificates were instead granted to Ugandans provided they could pay the economic price of the property otherwise the property became government property and in either case compensation was to be paid to the former owner.
Under Okello and Okello a man was assigned the task of writing to the former owners whose applications for repossession had either not been dealt with or had been rejected in favor of Ugandans. Further, the Junta's man asked the former owners whose applications had been rejected whether they still wanted to repossess their property. The man who came to be known as "money collector" arranged for the former owners to travel to Uganda whenever requested to do so. They arrived in Uganda in batches and at different periods and all went back to their various homes or countries, with Certificates of Ownership. The bulk of those Certificates were not signed, as required by law, by Abraham Waligo, the Junta's Minister of Finance. Substantial amounts, payable in foreign hard currencies, were demanded and received by the "money collector" for each Certificate. All that money went to Okello and Okello and to those in the inner circles of the Junta. That was not all. Under Okello and Okello, the corrupt system of allocation returned and the Act of Parliament was made inoperative. Certificates of Ownership were issued to the two Okellos, their relatives and friends and to many in the Broad-based government or to their appendages. Force was used in Kampala, Jinja, and Mbale to evict hundreds of Ugandans and to allow the new broad-based men to own factories, shops, restaurants, farms, flats, houses, etc., etc. The forceful and illegal acquisition of an oil and soap factory in Busoga by the family of Tito Okello, for instance, was later exposed in Court.
Coffee is Uganda's leading foreign exchange earner and was so in 1985. In the years particularly before and after the Second World War, that position was held by cotton. It was cotton money which built national assets such as the Uganda Electricity Generating Plant at Jinja, the Jinja Bridge, Makerere, New Mulago, to mention only a few.
Both crops, cotton and coffee, built assets such as Parliament Buildings. After Independence, the UPC Government used funds generated by the two crops to expand Makerere, build twenty-two rural hospitals, expand greatly places and facilities in old and new Secondary Schools, diversify the economy and raise the standard of living both in rural and urban Uganda to the extent that even the poorest of the peasants could afford to eat and live well, afford fees for their children, receive good medical care in well stocked and staffed dispensaries, health centers and hospitals. That was the mark of the good, nay excellent, husbandry and management of resources from the sweat of the peasants and in recognition of whom, as the backbone of the economy and progress, the first UPC Government relieved them from the burden of paying fees for their children who had reached "A" level and above. The basic objective was not only to build a stock of highly qualified and trained manpower but also to exemplify that the children of the peasants were as capable as any other to run the country and services. When I heard recently that someone was going around claiming that the students at Makerere were sons and daughters of the elite and the well-to-do, I felt that had I had that horizon of power, I would have ordered that man to be put in a mental asylum on the political crime of denying higher education to the sons and daughters of peasants. Makerere for decades has been the University of the sons and daughters of the peasants.
That was the same crime, denying education to sons and daughters of the peasants which the so-called Broad-based Government of Okello and Okello did to the youth of Uganda and to their peasant parents. The Okellos went for the jugular veins of the peasants, the workers and the youth when they appointed their gunman to be Chairman/Managing Director of the Coffee Marketing Board, and placed another crook in the Bank of Uganda both with the mission to divert funds earned by Uganda through the sweat of the peasants into private bank accounts. Thus the massive supplies of scholastic materials, science kits for students, laboratory equipment, exercise books, pens, etc. - negotiated with the World Bank by the UPC Government and for which the Government of Uganda was to pay for transport within Uganda to all Secondary Schools became a casualty under Okello and Okello. It was bad enough that a part of the country had been ceded willingly to Museveni and access thereto closed but even in the part of the country then nominally under Okello and Okello, the Junta had no capacity to pay and transport the scholastic materials. The program was, therefore, abandoned. It is impossible to estimate Uganda's loss. The peasants lost twice; their sons and daughters were denied scholastic materials and their foreign exchange earnings went to private bank accounts.
In that way, the tempo of economic recovery which was accelerating up to July 27, 1985 suddenly came to a halt. The jugular veins, the coffee funds, the essential oxygen for the then, rapidly recovering economy was cut off by Okello and Okello.
The Okello and Okello rebellion occurred when the University of Makerere was on holiday. The bulk of the students whose homes are in the areas ceded to Museveni could not return when the new term opened, because the borders were closed. The elite and the well-to-do therein did somehow get their sons and daughters through neighboring countries and by various means back to Makerere when the new term opened. Museveni thus, thanks to Okello and Okello, conscripted all male undergraduates into the NRA. The female undergraduates, daughters of peasants, due to hard economic situation brought about by the closure of borders between the two halves of Uganda and the war situation were reduced to the status of their sisters who had not even been to primary school. Museveni, the militarist, made no attempt to use this stock of brains in schools or community work or in any other way. I do not personally know any of those students, male or female, but the curbing of their education by Okello and Okello and by Museveni was, in my view, a grave crime to Uganda as a whole.
I give one more evidence of the predatory nature of the Okello Junta. Under the final agreement between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda on the division of Assets and Liabilities of the defunct East African Community, a large sum in millions of Kenya shillings was owed to Uganda by Kenya. By mutual agreement with the Government of Kenya, the entire sum was to be used in Kenya and not to be externalized; i.e., made payable in, say, US dollars or Pound Sterling. Using that money and with the knowledge of the Government of Kenya, the UPC Government bought houses for the Uganda High Commissioner to Kenya in Nairobi and officials of Uganda Parastatal Organizations with businesses in Kenya. The UPC Government also bought Barring Arcade, a prestigious property in the center of Nairobi. Millions of shillings still remained on the account as of July 27, 1985. Okello and Okello came to know of this fund. They put the brother of the man they had appointed to be Chairman and General Manager of the Coffee Marketing Board and one other man to manage the fund. The other second man, was a first cousin of the man the Okellos had appointed to the Bank of Uganda.
The two men appointed to manage the Kenya fund were very junior officers which Regulations on Public Finance prohibited from doing so. Someone found an answer. The brother of the man in the Coffee Marketing Board was made Acting High Commissioner and, therefore, senior enough to manage public finance. The first thing the two men did was to ship to Uganda and to various people in the Broad-based government all the furniture and all movable items from the High Commissioner's house and from the maisonettes. Huge funds were then withdrawn month-after-month to buy goods in Kenya for the men in the Broad-based government while their wives travelled to Nairobi on shopping sprees and used that fund - public money. As Mahmood Mamdani once said, in a different context, "life was good" for the predators. It was good for Okello and Okello, for men in the Junta and good for their appendages. Outside those circles, life was hell, it was like the Biblical Gehenna.
In Teso and Lango, for instance, helicopters were used to spot herds of cattle and then direct troops by wireless messages to the herds which were then rustled with extreme brutalities. In Bombo, in Districts in the Eastern Region, in Lango and even in Acholi, despite the illusion of "Acholi Government", the men who came from Sudan and Zaire to "reinforce" the Okello forces were on the rampage, evicting families from homes at will using guns and bayonets and not allowing the evicted families to take anything from their homes. Civil power collapsed on July 27, 1985. The Police had only their uniform and nothing else. All power was now in the hands of the Military Council headed by Tito Okello, Gad Toko as Deputy, and Bazilio Okello as the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) of the rump UNLA. The Cabinet, insofar as it was supposed to advise the President, in this case, the Military Council, was as dead as dodo.
It dawned on Okello and Okello from the very beginning, the Military Council and the Cabinet, that they were unable to administer the country which they had divided; unable to carry out any development project or even continue those began by the UPC Government and unable to control the various groups of the soldiery within the Junta. Okello and Okello had become hostages to fortune. They had got what they had schemed for but were to love everything except the funds they carried in trunks and in banks abroad.
That was the broad background to the Junta's desperation to get Museveni to join the regime on the general terms agreed previously by all the factions in the conspiracy against the UPC Government.
Okello and Okello were desperate because, apart from much loot flowing daily to them, they were faced with myriads of serious problems for which there were no solutions. The five different armies in Kampala had to be provisioned, housed and paid salaries but the number of men in each of those armies was increasing, at the beginning, almost daily. The leaders of the five armies had equally to be found accommodation, food and transport at public expense. They were also to be paid salaries. Transport, guns and ammunition, etc., etc. had also to be provided for each of the five armies. Working out the military budget became a nightmare for the officials in the Treasury and the UNLA General Headquarters. Grumblings and dissatisfaction in the armies were threatening the very existence of the Junta. Groping with this problem alone became the only concern of the Junta, which, in turn, gave rise to other equally serious problems.
The purchase of coffee from the farmers and the export of the same suddenly dropped alarmingly. The reason was the inability of the Junta to mobilize crop finance. The drop meant that the Treasury could not meet the increasing military bill, or finance development projects, pay salaries of the civil servants, teachers, doctors, nurses, etc., etc., pay for drugs or scholastic materials. The Junta ordered for the printing of millions of shillings which was done; and prices of commodities rose and rose, generating demands by the soldiery of the five armies for salary increments. Okello and Okello found themselves on this matter in a vicious circle: Because the continued existence of the Junta depended entirely on the five armies sticking together, the demands of the soldiery had to be met at all costs, because payments to the soldiery had to be met at all costs, funds for the purchase of crops from the peasant farmers had to be diverted to the military; because crop finance was so diverted, crops were not bought and exported and, therefore, the Treasury and the Bank of Uganda could not respectively raise enough shillings and foreign exchange to meet the demands of the soldiery; because the Treasury could not raise the shilling to pay the soldiery, the shilling was printed which in turn brought about price rises and demands by the soldiery for salary increments; and because such demands had to be met, at all cost - to ensure the continuance of the Junta, a vicious circle was set and Okello and Okello had no idea whatsoever as to how they could get out of the circle. They chose to hold Talks with their "friend", as they were then describing Museveni, totally unaware that they were jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
The Talks began formally, in Nairobi, on August 26, 1985. The date is of much significance. It was exactly a month to the day after the coup and three days after Paulo Muwanga resigned or was sacked. Museveni had known for months that a coup or military revolt was in the offing. He had agreed to join the ensuing regime. He had demanded and received the ceding to the NRA of the Western Region and West Buganda, yet when the success of the coup was announced, he behaved as if the event was a surprise to him and demanded more assurances from Okello and Okello allegedly to prove that they were "serious" or that he was not being tricked. More and more demands were made and the Okellos were too eager to do anything to accommodate their "friend" but the "friend" as it turned out, was no "friend" and had his design for a total take-over. Fighting a political government had been difficult but fighting a Junta with no political base, Museveni decided would be easy particularly since the Junta had given him to govern and on a platter a Region with considerable economic resources. Museveni, therefore, did everything possible to avoid a meeting (Talks) with the Junta or with the cabal who has master-minded the coup. Other outside voices, persuaded Museveni to agree to the Talks but he still held back. Then Paulo Muwanga resigned or was sacked and the Talks began.
The Talks had not been planned during the conspiracy. When Bazilio Okello, for instance, arrived in Kampala on July 28, 1985, accompanied by Andrew Adimola, Okello, in a message which was broadcast by Radio Uganda, appealed to Museveni to return home and join the new regime, which had not in fact, been formed. The formation of the regime - Cabinet to be particular - turned out to be particularly difficult. Persons who had not been intimately involved with the details of how the spoils were to be divided but who, of course, knew of the plot urged the two Okellos not to have in the Junta Cabinet, anyone who was in the UPC Cabinet. When Muwanga was appointed "Executive Prime Minister", reactions were universally damning. The UPC members saw it as a betrayal; the DP leaders saw it as an intolerable sleigh of hand by Muwanga; Museveni saw it as an obstacle to his scheme and the inner circle of advisers and relatives of Okello and Okello felt offended that none of them got the post. The DP leaders, the advisers to and relatives of the Okellos and Museveni each mounted determined campaign to get Muwanga out of the regime.
Of the lot, Museveni had the greatest fear of Muwanga. First, Muwanga was not a party to the special fall-back position agreed to by the DP leaders and Museveni -the Triumvirate - which the appointment of Muwanga as Prime Minister threatened to render inoperative. Second, Museveni had been, during the days of the UNLF, the Vice-Chairman of the Military Commission of which Muwanga was the Chairman. The two men knew the strengths and weaknesses of each other. Worse still, Muwanga on a visit to West Germany in May 1985, ostensibly for health reasons had presented to and confronted Museveni's emissaries with evidence of gross atrocities by the NRA in Luwero. He told the emissaries that the UNLA officers who were known to have done the same had been arrested (thirty or more were in Luzira prison at the time) and inquiries were still going on against others still at large. Muwanga demanded that a list of NRA killers known by the NRM/NRA leaders be compiled and that Museveni should give a firm undertaking that men on that list would not be in the regime then being planned. Museveni's reply was that it was difficult, in a war situation to know who had done what but he agreed to compile the list. Museveni also urged Muwanga through the emissaries not to use the matter of the atrocities as ground to exclude him (Museveni) from the regime then being planned. It stands to reason, therefore, that Museveni saw the "Executive Prime Minister", Paulo Muwanga, (who had intimated to the emissaries that he had evidence of atrocities committed by specific persons in the NRA) as a most serious danger to all his schemes. This information came to me after the coup and I have some Papers which attest to its veracity.
Muwanga's appointment, as shown above worried Museveni but that was not his only worry. The Junta had also set up a Military Council and had proceeded to appoint a Cabinet and Museveni, a fellow conspirator had no direct voice in any such moves. However, what worried Museveni most taken together with the Muwanga factor was TALKS - a totally new factor which had not been considered or mooted during the conspiracy. Museveni had got practically everything during the conspiracy by simply putting forward a demand. After the July 27, 1985, he must have felt that he could do the same from Nairobi but the situation in Uganda had changed. The five armies, the predators, etc., etc. were now not in a plot to stage a coup but in the business of dividing the spoils. Museveni was repeatedly called to go to Kampala but he deliberately chose to dither. Unknown to the Junta, Museveni was, soon after the appointment of Muwanga, convinced that he had been tricked and was decided to return to Sweden, but the appointment of his brother Saleh to the Military Council plus perks and freedom which the Council gave to Saleh made Museveni to hold on.
Then Talks was proposed. Again Museveni felt that he was being tricked. He had seen the situation as purely military but Talks between the Junta with its Cabinet of politicians and his NRM/NRA was political when he and the NRM/NRA had no political muscle. Museveni saw Muwanga as the devil in the piece and resolved that Muwanga get out of the regime before the Talks. How did I know all these? The answer is Eagles Apartments in Nairobi in which UPC agents and NRM/NRA functionaries were staying and a reliable source I had in the Norfolk Hotel where Museveni had set up his Headquarters.
The month of August 1985, contrary to all appearances was a nightmare to Okello and Okello. Managing five armies whose strengths were increasing daily would have taxed even the most efficient administrative structure to the point of collapse. The Okellos had no such structure. The coup had dismantled the logistics department of the UNLA which was in any case weak. Supplies of various kinds, food, uniform, transport, beddings, arms and ammunition were either short or not available. Officers of the rump of the UNLA and leaders of the other armies were commandeering private and government vehicles for themselves. Looting which was the hall-mark of the coup, spread and spread and was accompanied by killings in all parts of the country under the Junta except for West Nile and Karamoja. The formation of the Cabinet was creating enmity not only between Tito Okello and Bazilio Okello but also between their respective inner advisers; and the DP leaders were bitter with Muwanga's appointment. Leaders of the other four armies were demanding their share of the spoils under various threats. As Okello and Okello swaggered in public, they were in private moody and very despondent. Museveni's arrival in East Africa - Tanzania and Kenya, - but not in Kampala and his increasing new demands led the Okellos to try and secure for him a clear border in West Buganda of the extent of his suzerainty. This was because each of the other four armies refused to leave Kampala to engage the NRA in the West and units of the rump UNLA - officers and men - sent to do so simply returned to Kampala without a fight. This became known to Museveni. The result was that in just three weeks with the Okellos running the country, the NRA which prior to the July 27, 1985, had only stragglers on the run, attacked and held Bombo barracks and closed the Kampala/Gulu Road. The Okellos with five armies could not mount a counter attack. The humiliation and helplessness of the two "Great Generals" was total and clear.
The immediate background is even more startling. Okello and Okello had formed, in the first week of August 1985 a Military Council, the Executive of the regime, with Tito Okello as Chairman. Salim Saleh of the NRA was appointed member of the Council, was paid a lump sum - in millions of shillings - to finance the regrouping of NRA stragglers; was given vehicles and was allowed to live in or visit Bombo barracks whenever he wanted. Then on August 19, Tito Okello, and his Foreign Minister, Olara-Otunu, flew to Nairobi where the later had a meeting with Museveni. Next day, August 20, Museveni disclosed, though indirectly, his discussion with Olara-Otunu. The disclosure was made in a long NRA Statement which was a classic Museveni vintage in double-talk. The Statement branded Okello and Okello as killers with whom the NRA nevertheless would talk; the Junta was illegal and was not recognized by the NRA but the NRA would still talk to the Junta (presumably including Salim Saleh); lastly the statement asserted that the civilians in the Junta regime were traitors with whom the NRA would not hold talks. The clear message was, therefore, that Museveni, as a gunman, would only talk to fellow gunmen and that a political conference was out of the question. Museveni gave Tito Okello an ultimatum to dismiss Muwanga before gunmen-to-gunmen Talks could begin on August 26 - the date was agreed on August 19. On the 23rd, the NRA at noon attacked and held Bombo barracks and closed the Kampala/Gulu Road. On the same day, in late afternoon, Muwanga resigned or was sacked.
The resignation or sacking of Paulo Muwanga brought a quick response from Museveni. He issued a Statement saying that he had ordered the NRA in Bombo and the surrounding areas to cease operations and that he would begin Talks with Representatives of the Junta on August 26, in Nairobi. The Junta felt relieved and its Foreign Minister held a Press Conference to say so. Olara-Otunu admitted to the journalists that the "NRA had launched a series of attacks on the UNLA, and Police Stations, had taken barracks including Bombo and Matuga and had blocked Kampala/Gulu Road". The Minister added, unconvincingly, that there was "no cause for alarm". There was in fact, much cause for alarm in that Museveni had with those attacks given the Okellos a warning, taste, glimpse and notice of what the Junta was to expect should the NRA demands be not met in full. The terms agreed for the withdrawal of the NRA from barracks, Police Stations and Kampala/Gulu road confirmed Museveni's ascendancy and overlordship over Okello and Okello. The terms included:
Ceding of Luwero District to the NRA together with the UNLA soldiers and arms therein;
NRA to take to Rural Luwero arms, stores, spare uniforms and vehicles from Bombo and Matuga barracks leaving each soldier therein with his personal weapon and 30 (thirty) rounds of ammunition;
All weapons, vehicles and spare uniforms at the Police Stations then held by NRA to be taken by the NRA.
The humiliating terms were carried out by Okello and Okello before August 26, 1985. Accepting and fulfilling such humiliating terms within two days, gives some indication of how the seat of government had become too hot for Okello and Okello. From then onwards, until their final humiliation on January 25, 1986, it was Museveni who called the tune. The Talks which opened on August 26, were, for all practical purposes, mere formality for Museveni to take over from Okello and Okello. Some of the delegates of the Junta to the Talks, appear to have gone to Nairobi convinced of actually going into exile. The Junta had arranged for accommodation, food, transport and "out of pocket expenses" to be met by the Uganda High Commission out of the Kenya Fund. Yet everyone of the delegates was permitted to draw huge sums in foreign exchange, supposedly to meet the same expenses which the High Commission was also to meet. One delegate in a fit of clumsiness declared to the Customs Officials at Nairobi Airport his loot of a quarter of a million US Dollars (US $250,000) in cash! Paul Ssemogerere, the demagogic and pharisaical believer in democratic rule was one of the Junta's delegates to the Talks between two sets of gunmen. As for Museveni, he did not raise any objection either to Ssemogerere or any of the civilians in the Junta delegation - the very men he had called traitors only a few days back. He obviously considered their presence as academic and in no way damaging to his goal; on the contrary, their gullible utterances such as "genuine peace" or "no cause for alarm" could be used to exact more and more concessions from the Junta. The Talks opened when the Kampala/Gulu Road was still blocked despite the fulfillment by Okello and Okello of the terms of the withdrawal of the NRA.
On August 28, 1985 all the five armies in Kampala and the Junta issued Statements following the adjournment, the previous day, of the Talks. FUNA and Rescue Front issued a joint Statement asserting that they would fight to ensure that they did not go into exile again. UFM and FEDEMU also issued a joint Statement in which they pledged to fight any "group which wanted to prolong the conflict and also to prevent more wars in Buganda". The statement by the rump of the UNLA declared that they would fight to "preserve the Acholi leadership of the army". The Statement by the Junta stated that the Junta was committed to negotiations with the NRA for "genuine peace". The Statements, the gist of which were given by Henry Gombya in a Focus on Africa broadcast of the BBC, were also broadcast in full by Radio Uganda. Despite the bravados expressed the Statements, the five armies allowed the NRA to dictate terms in the field and in the Talks. Museveni was thus emboldened to make further stiff demands and to dictate the Agenda for the Talks; and Okello and Okello time and again simply acquiesced.
As days passed into weeks and weeks into months, the Junta became more and more acquiescent. The UNLA barracks which had been ceded to the NRA, for instance, were in fact very much still under the control of the UNLA officers throughout August and September 1985, but the Junta, without physical visit to any of the barracks, kept on ordering the UNLA officers therein, through Radio messages, to permit the NRA to enter the barracks and to receive provisions. The Junta made no attempt to use the control for the barracks by the UNLA as a factor to get concessions from Museveni. Frequent attempts by the NRA to over-run the barracks or the attack on Bombo did not even warn Okello and Okello that their "friend" was using the Talks to gain time and resources for rebuilding the NRA. In October 1985, however, when the NRA attacks on the barracks increased, Okello and Okello decided to act. The two men had been led, in August, to believe that FUNA had a reserve of 20,000 (twenty-thousand) well trained men in the West Nile. The Okellos ordered this formidable army to Kampala for onward deployment in the Western Region and West Buganda.
November 1985 became particularly a nasty period for the Junta. On November 4, Museveni issued a statement announcing that he had established an NRA administration in the Western Region and West Buganda. Tito Okello and Bazilio Okello reacted by recalling Gad Toko, on the same day, from the Nairobi Talks. Toko was thus made a scapegoat on the ground that the formidable force of 20,000 well trained men had turned out to be a phantom army and only a few hundreds had been brought to Kampala.
The helplessness and desperation of Okello and Okello increased. Their only consolation on that day came from their erstwhile Executive Prime Minister, Paulo Muwanga, who wrote to Tito Okello pledging the "support of the UPC" for the regime. Whether Muwanga, who clearly was not speaking for the UPC, did so to mock the Okellos or for some other reason remains a mystery. Tito Okello responded to the NRA Statement and asserted that the NRA were not in control of any barracks or Districts in the Western Region or West Buganda; he admitted that there were pockets of the NRA in those zones and accused Museveni of "tribalism and undermining the Nairobi Talks". In Nairobi, Olara-Otunu gave an interview to William Pike, Museveni's Chief Propagandist. As broadcast by the BBC on 5th November, 1985, Olara-Otunu was quoted to have prophesied that the NRA would not dislodge the Junta. On the same day, November 5, the Junta appointed Paul Ssemogerere to replace Toko as leader of its delegation to the Talks. Thus from that day, the DP/Museveni fall back position of a triumvirate of the DP, Museveni and Okello and Okello also died and a new platform set when Museveni and his NRA would take over the rein of government with the DP as a junior partner.
The Statement by Tito Okello and Olara's assertion were made in the face of a very serious situation which was known to both of them. This was the fact that all the UNLA barracks except Masaka in the areas ceded to Museveni had come under the control of the NRA and it was on the strength of that development that Museveni issued his statement of November 4. However, even the strong statement issued in the name of Tito Okello and the charge that Museveni was using the Talks for ulterior motives was never followed by any meaningful action to improve the Junta's bargaining position in the Talks. The reasons have already been given herein and the most important of them all was the fact that Okello and Okello staged a coup - in fact a rebellion in the UNLA - without any popular political base either in the country or in the UNLA as a whole. The ease with which they, so to speak, "came to power" concealed a dynamite which they made even more lethal by their own various decisions based on expediency, inexperience and utter ignorance of the power of politics. Okello and Okello, and their supporters in the conspiracy against the UPC Government never took into account the ethos of the UPC nor the dedication of the mass of the Party's supporters to the principles and objectives of their Party. All that was taken as cardinal was the removal of Obote and a few of his Ministers and the conspirators imagined that with such a removal, all wars and conflicts would cease in Uganda and "genuine peace" would reign supreme.
The reverse has been the case since July 27, 1985 to date precisely because both Okello and Okello and Museveni sought to imprison competitive politics of ideas as a means of governance and to replace it by politics of the gun where the holder of the gun purports to know as in the case of Okello and Okello, what leaders were good or bad for the UPC and in the case of Museveni, what is good or best for the country as a whole. In competitive politics of ideas, the strongest weapon is the vote either within the Party or between parties whereas in the politics of the gun, any politics not acceptable to the gun holder, and even an individual considered as a threat to the position of the gun holder, is dealt with by the bullet. The politics of the gun is by its very nature excessively corrupt, inefficient, brutal and often regard mirages as realities.
A good example where under Okello and Okello a mirage was seen as a reality was the conduct of Foreign Relations. Despite shortage of funds in foreign exchange and despite the propaganda war which Museveni had mounted, the Okello Junta decided to recall a large number of Ugandan diplomats abroad back home and terminate the services of others; even junior officers were recalled. The excuse given was that Tito Okello, the new Head of State, had to appoint and post abroad persons in whom he had confidence and trust. That is the American system but even a new American Administration would not have moved with the speed of the Okello Junta nor undermined its image abroad as the Junta's action did in their case. Reality was totally lost in Kampala as diplomats, senior and junior, were ordered to return home when at the same time Museveni and his team in Nairobi were meeting the international press daily and running down the Junta. Ugandan diplomats abroad, particularly the Career Officers (Civil Servants) could easily have made known the Junta's positions in various Capitals where Uganda had missions but the officers were not trusted; they were not Okello's men and were, therefore, not briefed on the farcical drama then going on both at home and in Nairobi. Perhaps that was the reason for the missions not being briefed for, as it soon became known, some of the people who were to be sent abroad as Heads of Missions were not even known to Tito Okello. A prominent Lawyer was, for instance, appointed to head the London mission but the lawyer and Tito Okello did not know one another. How Okello had confidence and trust in a man he did not know as to appoint him to head the London mission showed at the very least that a mirage and not reality was basic in the affairs of the Junta. It also showed that the top element in the conspiracy against the UPC government namely, the removal of Obote and a few of his Ministers was to be expanded to include the removal of even civil servants both abroad and at home.
Museveni had followed the path made ready by the Junta and hundreds of civil servants have had their services prematurely terminated. The use of a foreign practice did damage not only in 1985 under the Junta but continues to do so under the tyranny of another gun holder.
The harassment of the Ugandan diplomats abroad by the Junta was, in fact, in Uganda, part of the illusions of the politics of the Nairobi Talks. The illusions was that the Talks would succeed and that in a year or so a general elections would be held. In October and November 1985, the evolving situation became strikingly hallucinatory and opportunistic. In Nairobi, as already shown, the leader of a major political Party had at the beginning of November willingly and meekly agreed to keep politics and the role of the political Parties out of the Agenda of the Talks. Also in Nairobi, in October, a bunch of fickle opportunists emerged and published a program. The bunch called themselves the UPC External Wing! The program asserted that the bunch had three armies: That one was in the Western Region fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with the NRA against the Junta; that the second army was with the Junta and confronting the NRA in battles and that the third army was in Reserve! This hallucinatory rubbish and childish nonsense was actually sent to President Moi, the Chairman of the Talks. The fickle opportunists appealed to the President to help them to be seated at the Talks as "Observers". The receipt of the trash was, rightly, not even acknowledged by the Office of the President. The fickle opportunities asked their Secretary to write to me about their UPC External Wing and to send me the program. In his letter to me, the Secretary said that the Wing was "open-ended" and that any member of the UPC was free to join. He also wrote that the three armies had been given the name of Uganda Peoples Liberation Army (UPLA) and that Lt. Col. John Ogole was its overall Commander. The opportunists even included falsely, names of some UPC stalwarts as being members of their Wing. I treated the letter with maximum contempt.
In Uganda, although it was all too observable that the Junta had only months if not weeks to fall, a furious campaign was mounted ostensibly to invigorate the UPC. The capricious men set up a Committee and pamphlets in the names of Felix Rwambarali, Wilson Lutara and Mkombe Mpambara were produced; the pamphlets were allegedly to articulate the principles and policies of the UPC. The inclusion of Mpambara for that job was an insult to the UPC. Mpambara had left the Party and stood as a DP candidate in the 1980 General Elections; had not recanted nor had he been readmitted into the UPC.
Yet here he was masquerading or being made to masquerade as the High Priest of the UPC ideals. The lie in the pantomime of invigorating the UPC came to be exposed when Tito Okello sent to the Committee the name of a person who would be acceptable to the Junta as the "new UPC President". The pamphlets had lauded praises on Tito Okello; the same Okello who was a party to the overthrow of the UPC government and who was now also moving to overthrow the Constitution of the UPC by appointing the leader of the Party! A meeting composed of a motley range of characters all hand picked by the capricious men convened at the Party Headquarters to "elect" a new leader. The alleged invigoration of the UPC which was the ostensible reason for setting the Committee and the writing of the pamphlets turned out to be in reality a scheme to subvert the Constitution of the UPC and to impose a new leader acceptable to the Junta and not elected, by the Delegates Conference as stipulated in the Constitution of the Party but by a motley and capricious apostates. It is most surprising that although evidence of the imminence of the fall of the Okello Junta was abound as at the beginning of November 1985, there were politicians who saw no such evidence and instead harbored the illusion that the Nairobi Talks would succeed and that elections would follow in a year or so.
The illusion of the politics of the Nairobi Talks was made even more mind-boggling and, therefore, a fraud on November 11, 1985. Abraham Waligo, the Junta's Prime Minister and Bazilio Okello, the Junta's head of the rump UNLA both issued statements on that day. Waligo's statement claimed success at the Talks and asserted that only finishing touches remained to be put on a "Memorandum of Understanding" already agreed upon by the militarists. Waligo saw no difficulty in an Accord being signed soon. Bazilio Okello, on the other hand, was bitter at a new turn of events in Nairobi where Museveni had proposed the exclusion of the Rescue Front and FUNA from the regime and army to be established after the Talks on the ground that they were all murderers when they served under Amin. Bazilio Okello did not see this as a simple finishing touch since any such exclusion would weaken the rump of the UNLA and indeed open the door to the Junta also being so excluded after the Talks. Okello's statement defended the inclusion of the Rescue Front and FUNA saying that it was a "moral responsibility" for both to be included in the scheme of things. Museveni was also reminded that he himself signed a cooperation agreement with the leader of the Rescue Front in Libya in 1982.
The long Statement by Bazilio Okello covered a wide field and carry the distinctive mark of someone who was desperate to find new allies or to mend fences. Bazilio Okello had come to realize that Museveni was totally unreliable and that Ssemogerere was too willing to accept whatever Museveni wanted but Okello was, in a fix, the Junta could not withdraw from the Talks, discard Ssemogerere or the DP, nor agree to the Rescue Front and FUNA to be excluded and much as it wished, Okello could find no basis for support from and by the UPC. The scheme to find or impose a new UPC leader had just collapsed. To go around those difficulties, Bazilio Okello, on behalf of the Junta, was advised to include in his Statement and for the first time, the reasons for the July coup. The result was a clumsy and fraudulent exposition to white-wash the crime while at the same time condemning the Rescue Front, FUNA and Amin, Museveni and the Okellos themselves as well as the "self-seeking politicians" who had been not only behind the conspiracy to overthrow the UPC government but also those others who were being used by or using the Okellos. The following is what Bazilio Okello gave as reasons for their crime; three months and two weeks after the event:
"The main reasons for the action taken by the Army on 27th July were: To stop bloodshed in the country; and to create conditions for viable peace, unity, development and the observance and promotion of human rights. In fact, the UNLA merely responded to the anguished voices of the people of this country who have suffered for too long at the hands of dictators and self-seeking politicians. I can assure you that there were no other compelling reasons for the takeover apart from those ones I have just mentioned".
The most charitable meaning which anyone who knew or was conversant with the Uganda situation prior to the coup could give to Okello's "main reasons for the coup" and one which appears to stand to logic is that in his position, Bazilio Okello was, in fact, addressing Museveni and at the same time lamenting and crying to and condemning his fellow conspirators. In the statement, Okello appears to be crying to Museveni and the other conspirators that unless the Nairobi Peace Talks succeed and the Rescue Front and FUNA were accepted in the scheme of things, the falsities in the claims and lies made during the planning of the coup would be exposed and all of them would stand condemned by Ugandans for having plunged the country into bloodshed, instability, disunity and for having arrested development as well as progress in the observance and promotion of human rights.
In other words, Okello was pointing to his fellow conspirators that the coup had brought conditions of bloodshed, no peace, no unity, no development and no observance and promotion of human rights. He was, therefore, stating the obvious namely, that when examined in the light of what was obtaining prior to the coup, the reverse of the "main reasons" which was the state of affairs as of that November would unhesitatingly convict the coup plotters and executioners as criminals who deserve no mercy. As already stated, the coup was staged when Museveni's war in Luwero had virtually ended and there was no war or bloodshed anywhere else in Uganda. What bloodshed then which the coup was to "stop...in the country"? Peace was returning to Luwero and peace had been the normal condition elsewhere throughout Uganda and so was unity. The decline of the economy which occurred during Amin's rule had been stopped by the UPC Government and since 1982, the economy was on the upswing; Rehabilitation and Development Programs had been published and were being implemented with vigor. There was plenty of food, shops were full of all kinds of commodities; there were no shortages of "essential commodities"; producer prices were being increased twice a year and farmers had plenty of money; schools were rehabilitated or being rehabilitated and new ones were being built and opened every year; hospitals and dispensaries were both being rehabilitated and supplied with staff, medicine and equipment; roads were being rehabilitated or reconstructed; lorries and buses were bought and were available for transportation of goods and passengers respectively. Conditions of employment, salaries in particular, were improved both by salary increments and lowering of taxes. I can go on and on but the above show quite clearly that the coup plotters could not have decided to stage a coup either because there was no development or because they had development programs which were superior to that then being implemented by the UPC Government. As for the observance and promotion of human rights, a Military Junta or Government of the gun by its very nature is by definition the antithesis of those rights. The point needs no elaboration. Indeed it was proved, in the Okello and Okello case, when one of their very first measures after the coup was to suspend the Constitution of Uganda where the provisions of Human Rights are enshrined.
The charitable meaning at the beginning of the above paragraph was later confirmed to me in a detailed brief I got from someone who was privy to the affairs of the inner advisers of Okello and Okello. I will now outline the circumstances which Bazilio Okello made his Statement on 11th November, 1985.
The available evidence suggests that the Okello Junta was faced with an ugly situation which threatened the very existence of the Junta. First, the Western Region and West Buganda as already noted were already under the control of the NRA - so much for Okello's vaunted concern for Uganda's unity - when that control was given on a platter as a matter of expediency and second, Museveni's threat to exclude the Rescue Front and FUNA was an explosive signal. These two factors made the Okellos and their inner advisers to see clearly, perhaps for the first time, that their regime had no future; the problem was what to do to avoid such an eventuality. The option to fight it out with Museveni and his NRA was discarded when the 20,000 strong well trained Reserve Army in West Nile turned out to be a phantom army. An attempt to renew collaboration with the capricious members of the UPC in the hope of gaining some popular mass support had been frustrated by principled members of the Party. The five armies in Kampala could not be integrated and only the rump of the UNLA was under the command of Bazilio Okello; whereas the other four armies took orders only from their respective leaders; the tension between the NRA and the rump of the UNLA was being seen by the other four armies as something to be sorted out by the NRA and UNLA. Bazilio Okello's contact with the leadership of the DP through Andrew Adimola was no longer there; the DP leadership had swung totally behind Museveni. In the circumstances, Bazilio Okello, Tito Okello and their inner advisers found themselves in the uncomfortable situation of bending to Museveni, despite three and a half months of suffering under his humiliation of them, as the one man who could save their face.
The decision, I was briefed, was agonizing. In several days of discussion in November 1985, no option was found acceptable or viable. On person then suggested that the position of Emanuel Cardinal Nsubuga on the membership of the Military Council where the Junta had rejected should be accepted; that the prestige of the Cardinal be used to conceal the real reasons for accepting his position. The man argued that it was important to conclude the Nairobi Talks quickly so as to bring Museveni into the regime instead of his being out and continuously making harmful propaganda against the Junta. Bazilio Okello at first opposed the Nsubuga formula arguing correctly that it came originally from Museveni; Okello asserted vehemently that he had lost confidence in the Churchmen and disclosed that some Churchmen urged him to join the conspiracy against the UPC government, blessed him on the eve of the coup and pretended to advise him after coup but then he had discovered that the Churchmen had used him and had ethnic and tribalist tendencies. Bazilio Okello told the inner circle that when he was Brigade Commander, Southern Region, he knew that the Cardinal was organizing and sending supplies to the NRA in Luwero. Okello's position dampened the meeting but since there was no acceptable and viable option to save face, it was agreed to draft a statement in which the Junta would announce its acceptance of parity with the NRA on the Military Council. It was also agreed that the statement should be withheld until after a meeting in Nairobi between Bazilio Okello and Museveni. However, for some unknown reasons Okello could not go to Nairobi. Several drafts of the statement were made and a compromise version was approved and issued. The statement produced no new favorable condition for the Junta. From then onwards, the Junta simply accepted what was dictated from Nairobi.
It took Bazilio Okello three and one-half months to issue a definitive exposition of the reasons for his rebellion and coup but it took only a month and one week from the date of Okello's exposition for all matters at the Nairobi Talks to be cleared and for the Nairobi Accord to be signed on December 17, 1985. The Accord was not a political but a military document. Surprisingly, many at home and abroad took the Accord as the basis for PEACE and said or wrote in that vein! How Uganda was to attain that Peace in the circumstances of six predatory armies - UNLA, NRA, FUNA, UNRF, UFM and FEDEMU - was ignored as not being a strong factor for instability. Why the DP, CP and UPM, the three Political Parties whose leaders were serving in the Junta regime were not given representation in the regime to be established in the implementation of the Accord, was also not seen as the militarization of the governance of Uganda.
The Accord was never implemented and a month and one week after after it was signed, the Junta fell and the leaders of the DP, UPM and CP shifted their allegiance without any mental agony, from the Junta to Museveni. After the 1980 General Elections, it was anathema for the DP leaders, for instance, to accept my invitation that the UPC and the DP should form a Coalition Government responsible and accountable to an elected Parliament. But in August 1985, and again in January 1986, it was perfectly proper for the DP leaders, with clear conscience, to welcome the opportunity to serve in the Okello Junta and in Museveni's regime. This murder of the ballot as a form of governance was turned into a wedding feast in 1986.
A Crowd of Revellers
Militarism and militarist rule in Uganda have, on three separate occasions, attracted an astonishing number of motley Revellers both from home and abroad. Under Museveni's regime of genocide, the home grown and foreign based Revellers have surpassed their previous record, set under Amin, in their numbers, the intensity of their reveries and in their pervading determination to conceal the state of genocide which has existed since 1986. In effect, the situation presented by such support for the regime amounts to, in the light of its crime of genocide, Ugandans having been condemned by the International Community to choose either surrendering all their sovereign rights to the gunmen or to suffer death even on the scale of genocide. What else can one say in a situation where the World and its powerful institutions such as Governments, the Press and Human Rights Organizations knowingly accept a state of genocide, or condone it or conceal it or water down its existence.
Last year, 1989, the Minority Rights Group published a Report entitled "Uganda" and written by Ed Cooper and Louise Pirouet. Cooper was an unabashed Reveller of Idi Amin and a leading functionary in Amin's reign of terror and murder for which he was well paid. Louise Pirouet is an academic at Cambridge University and joint Coordinator of CHARTER 87 - A CHARTER FOR REFUGEES and was once a lecturer at Makerere University. On the occasion of the publication of the Report, Pirouet said in a BBC broadcast that Ugandan exiles, in fact refugees, opposed to Museveni should not be granted asylum by any country! She named some of them who are in Britain and who were Ministers in the second UPC Administration. How the Joint Coordinator of Charter 87 could utter such an opinion indicates the degree to which Museveni's Revellers of whom, Louise Pirouet is one, are prepared to go to conceal genocide in Uganda. It also depicts something else equally sinister in Pirouet; namely, that to her, the struggles in Eastern Europe against arbitrary rule and violations of human rights there are or were worthy and noble causes but the same must not be entertained in Uganda, a black State. Louise Pirouet should have gone to apartheid South Africa than to Makerere for clearly she is in the mould of the Boers.
There is no doubt whatsoever that there has been killings on a massive scale in the North and East since 1986. Even Reveller Pirouet accepts that much otherwise there would have been no point in her attacks against those opposed to Museveni. She is not alone. Apart from the Ugandan Revellers who are mute on the matter, all other Revellers of whatever nature have known of the massive killings and misery of the people in the so-called War zones. The part of the NRA or the regime in the massive killings is also to a great extent admitted by the Revellers. In her own contribution to the Report of the Minority Rights Group Pirouet wrote:
"The 35th Battalion of the NRA which was sent to garrison Acholi had been reinforced over-quickly with ex-UNLA soldiers and units of FEDEMU, and it now found itself having to act as a standing army, a role for which it had no training. NRA discipline began to break down. Some Acholi accounts claim that the army indiscipline gave rise to insurgency; officials say that the insurgents provoked the NRA. Probably both accounts contain some truth".
Amnesty International has also admitted the role of the NRA in bringing about the state of massive killings in its Report published last year, 1989. The Report said:
"By August 1986, however, armed conflict had resumed in the North. A major reason for this was the behavior of the NRA. By most accounts, the first units to arrive in the North behaved in accordance with the army's high reputation up to that time. However, later units posted in the Acholi region were composed of members of other anti-Obote guerilla groups - the Uganda Freedom Army (UFA) and Federal Democratic Movement (FEDEMU) - who soon began committing abuses. There were other grievances".
Amnesty International does not give what were those "other grievances"; but Amnesty International and Minority Rights Group (Pirouet) as well as other Revellers agree that the 35th Battalion was withdrawn from Acholi and transferred to "Southern Uganda". Minority Rights Group states that the Battalion was in Gulu District and was replaced in October 1986 whereas Amnesty International places the Battalion "at Nam-Okora in Kitgum District" and gives the date of its transfer to "Southern Uganda" as September 1986. It is this kind of weaving fiction and untruths into facts which is at the heart of the concealment of Museveni's crimes of genocide by his Revellers. The Amnesty International and Minority Rights Group both agree that the NRA was not blameless and in fact caused the conflict in Acholi but as soon as that is admitted, the two Organizations, like the other Revellers, bring out FEDEMU an UFA as the real culprits. However, both and indeed others, like Museveni, have to invent rebels and cattle rustlers as the cause of the conflict after the removal of the 35th Battalion or FEDEMU and UFA from Acholi. The facts speak and reveal a different account.
It is well known that after the fall of Kampala on January 25, 1986, the Okello forces and two allies, FUNA and UNRF, simply fled and never put up a fight anywhere against the NRA. The FEDEMU and UFA units which had been in the Junta regime were not deployed outside Kampala throughout 1986; each group, however, had units in Western Buganda and it was those units which arrived in Kampala together with the NRA, went to the East and North as one army and under the command of the NRA. The three gangster armies, NRA, UFA and FEDEMU had been allies before the Luwero and in terrorist activities in Kampala and its environs. During the six months of the Okello Junta, the three maintained contacts and in the January 1986 Kampala battle, Bazilio Okello sought to lure and kill the political and military leaders of the Kampala based UFA and FEDEMU but succeeded to do so only in the case of the FEDEMU's military leader; it was the UFA which captured and held Radio Uganda. During the same six months, UFA, FEDEMU and NRA trained together in various centers, camps and barracks in Western Buganda its Luwero method of recruiting the Baganda which, despite the belief of the Revellers to the contrary, was very brutal. On account of the predominance of FEDEMU and UFA in training areas in Western Buganda, Ronald Mutebi, the heir-apparent to the Buganda throne went from Nairobi through Tanzania and toured Western Buganda; he was accompanied by Museveni. Two facts are of the greatest importance in regard to that tour. First and although Prince Mutebi went together with Museveni whose NRA was in full control of the Western Region, the Prince was not permitted by Museveni to go to any area in that Region. Second, the Baganda traditionalists and clan leaders who had been consulted (secretly) and approved the tour could never have given their approval if, at that time, when an uneasy peace between the Junta and the NRA existed, there was not a strong and reliable Ganda army or armies in Western Buganda. The 35th Battalion by training and motivation was exactly the same as any unit of the NRA and the Battalion was one of the units of the NRA to reach Kitgum District for the first time in March 1986.
The screen behind which the Museveni Revellers conceal his or NRA crimes in Acholi and which crimes later encompassed Lango, Teso and with sorties into Bukedi, Bugisu, Busoga and Karamoja is, according to Amnesty International, the posting to Acholi by Museveni of "other anti-Obote guerilla groups - UFA and FEDEMU - who soon began committing abuses". Minority Rights Group (Pirouet) agrees and adds "ex-UNLA soldiers" onto the list of the Museveni regime soldiery "sent to garrison Acholi".
A screen always has a purpose. I do not, therefore, foresee either the Amnesty International of the Minority Rights Group or the Revellers easily pulling down the screen they have erected to conceal genocide and to protect Museveni but the rampart they have erected must be assailed, overwhelmed and exposed. It is an up-hill struggle in view of the powers which the Revellers hold but in the spirit of the adage that the journey begins with the first step, I set out the first step. I state without any fear or contradiction that as of July 27, 1985, the NRA, UFA or FEDEMU did not exist as a viable force singly or collectively to over-run Kampala and extend itself and have in Naam-Okora, Kitgum District or in Gulu District a purely FEDEMU, UFA or NRA soldiery/gangsters to "garrison Acholi". The Kampala based FEDEMU and UFA during the six months of the Junta were untrained civilians. FEDEMU, UFA and NRA raised and trained, during those six months, new units which later went to the East and North. The instructors were provided from outside Uganda by Museveni.
In the East and in the North there were no purely UFA or FEDEMU units and command at Battalion level was largely in the hands of the NRA; above that level it was all NRA. That is the force which wrought much havoc in the East against members of the UPC allegedly in search of FOBA dissidents. Previously as the NRA stragglers regrouped in the West, raised and trained recruits and took all the UNLA barracks in the West, a large number of members of the UPC were arrested, tortured and there were many deaths. One consideration, however, forced the NRA leaders to be careful in treating their victims in the West. This was the fact that the echelon of the NRA was overwhelmingly Rwandese Tutsi refugees and Hima both of whom are minority in the West. There was the fact that the echelon of the NRA was overwhelmingly Rwandese Tutsi refugees and Hima both of whom are a minority in the West. There was no such consideration either in the East or North. The herding of people in houses which were then set ablaze did not start in Acholi but in Tororo District in late February 1986. Amnesty International and all Revellers speak of the "high reputation" of the NRA but that belief is based more on propaganda than fact. The only place where the new NRA, raised during the Okello interlude, behaved commendably was in Buganda, including Kampala but that as I have argued was to conceal the NRA atrocities in Luwero and present a favorable image at home and abroad. Efforts to paint the NRA whiter than it is or for me to take the opposite position blindly only detract attention from the serious matter of genocide. The former position is maintained by the Revellers in the face of evidence to the contrary. That is why Louise Pirouet, for instance, place the 35th Battalion alone as the NRA unit sent to "garrison Acholi", and this one Battalion of the NRA is made to have been polluted by having "been reinforced over-quickly with ex-UNLA soldiers and units of FEDEMU"; and further that this NRA Battalion "found itself having to act as a standing army, a role for which it had no training". Though a very damning admission, Pirouet actually advances it to cleanse the NRA. But is her argument true? The answer is definitely NO.
Acholi is a vast territory; bigger than the land area of the whole of the Eastern Region - Busoga, Bukedi, Bugisu, Sebei and Teso. Pirouet can not be serious in asserting that only one polluted Battalion was "sent to Garrison" such a vast territory and she places it in Gulu when it was deployed in Naam-Okora in Kitgum District some 80 miles away from Gulu. Where the 35th Battalion was deployed may be taken as an oversight but to say that it was the only one in Acholi can only carry the meaning that Pirouet was too eager to conceal the presence of the NRA in Acholi and therefore to blame the killings on the polluted Battalion. Amnesty International, on the other hand, gives the impression that Museveni's forces which arrived in Acholi in March 1986 were all clean and "behaved in accordance with the army's high reputation up to that time" and that those forces were somehow deployed elsewhere, outside Acholi, and replaced by units "composed of other anti-Obote guerilla groups - (UFA and FEDEMU) - who soon began committing abuses". This version is also not true. The NRA never at any time left any part of Acholi entirely to either the UFA or FEDEMU to Garrison. Attempts to place the NRA away when killings began in Acholi do not stand examination but are advanced by the Revellers to conceal ghastly deeds of the NRA.
The urge to conceal the deeds of the NRA is most transparent and weakest when the alleged polluted soldiers were transferred to the "South". Amnesty International and the Minority Rights Group agree that there was such a transfer in September or October of 1986. It is true that in the third week of August Bazilio Okello attacked border posts but Okello's forces withdrew within twenty-four hours. The "peace" which ensued must have made it possible to transfer the polluted units but was there ever "peace" in Acholi following the arrival of the NRA. Pirouet claims that although some of the Okello soldiers who had fled to Sudan "returned and handed over themselves and their weapons to local Chiefs and Clergy; others returned to harass the NRA" and "By July this (harassment) had become a serious menace". There was in fact no harassment of the NRA; on the contrary, it was the other way round. The NRA wasted no time in harassing and humiliating the Acholi.
Under the pretext of looking for the Okello soldiers, homes and houses were violated, furniture and utensils, beds and bedding were confiscated as having been "looted from Luwero" by the Acholi; even the women's dress, Gomesi, and any good dress were taken as property looted from Luwero. Schools and dispensaries were ransacked. Crops such as simsim and sunflower were commandeered and taken by the NRA without pay. Cattle, goats, sheep and chickens were treated in the same way to feed the NRA. There was no area of Acholi where such treatment was not meted onto the people. In May 1986 the NRA began the operation of abducting young boys of fourteen years and above. As the operation proceeded, abduction was abandoned and the NRA on reaching a village would order the villagers to assemble and young boys were then picked and taken away. They have never been seen again. When therefore Museveni in August ordered all ex-UNLA soldiers to surrender to NRA units weapons in their possessions, many such soldiers then in villages in Acholi simply fled to the Sudan and soon returned with or as part of the Okello forces to engage the NRA. The invasion was a total failure and Museveni, in giving account of its outcome said "WE MASSACRED THOSE CHAPS". Amnesty International, Minority Group, International Alert must have been greatly embarrassed when their hero uttered those words and continued to repeat them throughout 1987 and 1988.
The collapse of the Okello invasion was Museveni's best opportunity to win the minds and hearts of the Acholi. Bazilio Okello at that time was very detested in Acholi but Museveni - whose army had for some five months been harassing and humiliating the Acholi, commandeering crops and livestock and rounding up young men never to be seen again did not and could not see Okello's abortive invasion as opportunity to change NRA policy in Acholi. Instead the failure of the invasion saw the beginning of a new form of operation in Acholi. This was village-to-village and house-to-house rampage allegedly in search of the Okello soldiers. Houses and granaries were burnt. Wherever anything military, even the uniform of the Uganda Army of pre-Amin days was found, the males in that home were either killed or maimed. Cash and valuables were looted and water pots were destroyed. The Acholi reacted by fleeing to Sudan in large numbers and returned armed to defend lives and property. However, before that and at the beginning of the operation, it was the Commander of the polluted FEDEMU, George Matovu, who took pity on the Acholi and begged his NRA superiors in the field to adopt a humane policy in the search. The NRA officers accused Matovu of supplying arms to "rebels"; he was arrested, tortured, tied "three piece".
He survived the ordeal but one of his arms was paralyzed on account of having been tied "three piece" and in that condition thrown into Luzira Prison. That is just a small indication of the cruelty of the Revellers' much praised disciplined force known as the NRA. Even when the NRA heightened their operations to the stage of genocide and the NRA leaders including Museveni declared openly and repeatedly that the "NRA surrounded the rebels and massacred them", the Revellers saw nothing wrong in such operations or in the massacres.
It is not part of these Notes to untangle the reasons behind the contradiction where in all the Capitals of the world, Museveni's genocide is acceptable. In its Report published in 1989, Amnesty International, for instance, stated that during the Amin regime, it "monitored human rights abuses, although for the protection of those involved, the organization did not adopt or publicize individual cases". It is a most surprising statement in view of the fact that Amnesty International has not used the same reasoning in respect to other countries and has published Reports or expressed its concern about gross violations of human rights by regimes in those countries which are said to be as brutal as that of Idi Amin. The organization always emphasizes that it is "impartial" and that it does not support or oppose any government and further that "it is concerned solely with the protection of human rights". Yet under Amin, the organization on its own admission, was silent for eight years and today, under Museveni, its Reports do not recognize that a state of genocide exists in Uganda and has existed since 1986. Are those not support for the Amin and Museveni regimes? The same 1989 Report is full of phrases such as "Obote regime and its apologists". Does that not quality as opposition or at least biased conclusion! All the Revellers now active in the affairs of Uganda maintain the same position. In fact they treat Museveni's wars which have laid waste vast areas, many times the size of Luwero, as much improvement on the Luwero situation! The objects and the substance of the reveries have also been horrific.
The regimes of Amin and Museveni, the objects and substance of the reveries, besides both having as leader obsessive killers and incorrigible liars, have also other matters on common to wit:
Gunmen (militarist) brutal rule.
Kampala, the Capital, fell to the gunmen on the same calendar date, January 25.
Leaders of all the Political Parties with the exception of the UPC welcomed and joined the gunmen regimes as did some capricious and voluntarists members of the UPC.
Public rally to welcome the gunmen rulers were reorganized, in each case, only in Kampala and nowhere else.
The gunmen rules were presented both at home and abroad as harbinger for good government and prosperity.
The International Press and Media waged vigorous campaigns to sell the gunmen to the world at large while, at the same time, running down the UPC and its leaders.
Foreign countries, particularly those with Missions in Uganda and Human Rights Organizations chose either silence or concealment of the atrocities by the regimes of the gunmen particularly the extent of killings in the target areas or zones inhabited by millions of people as well as the total destruction of their means of livelihood and homes.
Men and women who had served in Uganda either as missionaries or colonial administrators and had retired returned to Uganda, on short visits, to add their voices for and in the consolidation of gunmen rules.
Foreign diplomats in Kampala competed with one another to get Amin and later Museveni to visit their respective countries first or to get Ministers from their respective countries to go to Uganda and be the first to meet Amin or Museveni.
A similar situation (with some important exceptions) as the above also obtained during the six months of the Okello Junta. Unlike in the case of Amin's first eighteen months and later with Museveni from start to date the foreign component in the motley crowd of Revellers were divided into the case of the Junta. However, the Ugandan component remained true to itself and was the Junta until it fell when the Ugandan Revellers simply transferred their allegiance to Museveni. The propensity and indulgence of the Ugandan politicians and opinion leaders to encourage, promote and serve militarist rule are a body of factors second only to the abomination with which the militarists regard popular Parliamentary rule.
The dichotomy which emerged and continues to emerge from the fact of politicians who advocate democracy and the ballot as the only acceptable basis of governance being also the very people to take the lead in reveries for gunmen rule has had a very heavy toll in the lives and well-being of the people of Uganda. The dichotomy exposes the very deep and real chasm between many of our political leaders and the masses in the perception of peace, democracy, economic well being, provision and availability of social services such as education and health, etc.
On three occasions, 1971, 1985 and 1986, many politicians deserted the political and democratic struggle to build the Nation and enrolled themselves in the services of the gunmen. In so doing, those politicians showed clearly that their mouthings of democracy are hypocrisies designed to dupe the masses and thereby enable such politicians to satiate their avarice. For one to abandon a whole lot of people who had reposed their trust and confidence in one's leadership is bad enough but to see those people being butchered and to revel in the deeds of the butcher is the ultimate shame which Ugandan political Revellers of the gunmen somehow believe they can easily erase from their records.
The reveries, the casting away of the trust and confidence of the people in their leaders by those same leaders and therefore the chasm between the leaders and the masses began in earnest in 1971 with Amin's coup. As already given, a section of the domestic Revellers put to students at Makerere University a most chilling reason as to why the students should support Amin's regime. It was that Amin was killing only "Obote's people" meaning that Amin was "only" killing Ugandans who happen to be Langi, and Acholi and also Ugandans who by conscience had joined and were members of the UPC. In return for generating such a support, those Revellers hoped that Amin would appoint them to offices and that they would work for the overthrow of Amin's regime from the inside. They got the offices but failed to overthrow Amin. However, the cost of such offices, in lives, was heavy. The Revellers saw nothing wrong with the killings of Langi, Acholi and the UPC members. At Moshi and during the Lule and Binaisa UNLF administrations, those Revellers saw themselves as "Liberators" and erased from their own minds the amount of bloodshed they accepted and concealed as a price they were prepared to pay in order to serve in Amin's regime.
The second UNLF President, Godfrey Binaisa, welcomed Amin's coup by paraphrasing what Brutus said, in Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, after the murder of Caesar. Binaisa said, "Amin overthrew Obote not because he loved Obote less but because he loved Uganda More". For that revelry, Amin appointed Binaisa to head some innocuous Commission. Amin dished out offices as reveries were soared unto him. Even the leader of the DP, Benedicto Kiwanuka, became Amin's Chief Justice. Grace Ibingira wrote a scathing article in which he attacked President Nyerere for allegedly interfering in Uganda's Internal affairs and for granting asylum to me. Ibingira became Amin's Ambassador to the United Nations. He was to turn up in Tanzania, in 1979 and praising Mwalimu Nyerere profusely for the Tanzanian sacrifices to rid Uganda of Amin, the same Amin who, in 1971, Ibingira did not want to be removed. I met one of the Revellers, Elizabeth Bagaya, in Dar es Saalam on July 7, 1976. She was Amin's Foreign Minister. She appealed to me to return home and said that the country was progressing at a "Supersonic speed", the words of her then master. I told Bagaya that she should take my advice and not return to Uganda or if she must, next time she was allowed to go abroad, she must not go back home. Bagaya did not heed my advice. She went later to the UN and in her absence Amin dismissed all his Ministers except three including Bagaya, who, soon after returning home, was accused by Amin of some scandalous act at Orly Airport. The sordid revelries under Amin, despite the heavy loss of lives which the Revellers knew and concealed and despite what became of the Revellers, some of whom were murdered by Amin, set the platform for renewed revelries in 1985 and 1986. A disturbing culture appears therefore to be forming.
The revelries which were showered on the "harmless gentle giant", Idi Amin, as he was called by the international press, have been surpassed in the case of Museveni. Amin was later to be called by several unedifying names - buffoon, murderer, liar, dictator, etc., etc. by his Revellers and Ugandans alike. But Ugandans had known from the beginning of Amin's coup that a reign of murder and terror had engulfed their country; the International Community and the Press disagreed. When time comes, for it will certainly come, for the International Community, the Press and Human Rights Organizations to accept Museveni's acts of genocide, millions of Ugandans would have perished. Today, however, it is sacrilege, insofar as his Revellers are concerned, for anyone, Ugandan or not, to state the fact that Museveni is a mass murderer. The curious fact is that whereas Amin vehemently denied his killings and therefore made it easy for his Revellers to conceal his murders, Museveni actually openly affirms and boasts about his massacres as Part One of these Notes shows.
To conceal Museveni's acts of genocide most effectively, his Revellers have saturated the world with all kinds of tales about peace in Uganda and great efforts by the Museveni regime towards democracy and economic progress. Atrocities when acknowledged are played down with meaningless excuses such as "great improvement from the past"; "Museveni has promised to investigate the matter"; "undisciplined members of the NRA have been Court-martialled and executed"; "the rebels are also to bear the blame for the killings" and "the NRA is a very disciplined force but it absorbed other armies whose standard of discipline was very low". Museveni's fields of genocide in the North and East are called "contested areas". The phrase appears to have been designed to conceal the fact that, like in Luwero, it was Museveni who first attacked the people who, in turn, following the attacks and terror, chose to fight and die with dignity.
Rebels and Rustlers
There is near unanimity amongst the foreign Revellers that the rebels in the North and East are to blame for starting wars against the Museveni regime. As we have seen, Amnesty International and Minority Rights Group do not go wholly with that line; they accept and acknowledge some blame as falling onto the NRA but quickly proceed to wipe it clean in several ways. Amnesty International begins in that cleansing by lauding praises onto the NRA as a most disciplined force despite the fact that as of 1986, the only clear evidence of that discipline was limited to when the NRA captured Kampala. Neither Amnesty International nor any team of Revellers except for Museveni's paid accomplices such as William Pike had seen that discipline in Luwero or in Western Uganda during the Okello interlude. NO team of Revellers had or has been to areas in Luwero where the NRA governed and saw how such areas escaped destruction on account of the protection given by the NRA and no team followed the NRA to the East and North and witnessed the lauded NRA discipline in action. Peace and security in Kampala, after the fall of the Okello Junta is wholly credited by the Revellers to the NRA when in fact FEDEMU and UFA had a very strong presence in Kampala and despite the low opinion which the Revellers were to express on their presence in the North, they are not known to have breached security in Kampala. The main reasons for peace and security returning to Kampala were first the cessation of terrorist activities by the NRA, FEDEMU and UFA when their common enemy, the UNLA left the scene. Secondly, for Museveni, his supreme duty was to present the NRA as a most disciplined army in order to conceal the NRA's atrocities in Luwero and therefore have a bank of goodwill at home and abroad when time comes to punish and conquer the East and North where he expected pitched battles. He was denied that much when the Okello forces just fled right into the Sudan without a fight. The bottled indiscipline and the cruelty of the NRA were unleashed in rural Buganda in February 1986, against Northerners and Easterners - the repeat of Luwero in February 1981 - and in the East and North but all that are ignored by the Revellers.
In the North and in Acholi in particular, Museveni seems to have felt that the Okello forces were playing tricks with him and would pounce on the NRA from scattered villages, should the NRA lower their guards. That is the most likely explanation for the harassment of the Acholi up to the time of the Okello invasion in August.
This harassment has been twisted as already shown by Pirouet of the Minority Rights Group. The fact is that Pirouet as a Reveller was not telling the truth. That much is provable beyond any shadow of doubt by her next assertion or to be more specific lie. She wrote:
"By July this (harassment of the NRA) had become a menace. Two identifiable groups had emerged: the Uganda People's Democratic Movement (UPDM) operated from base in Sudan and was led by Bazilio Okello, and a pro-Obote grouping was led by former Internal Affairs Minister John Luwuliza-Kirunda and former Minister of Defence Peter Otai and operated in Busoga and Teso".
I am amazed that an academic of the calibre of Dr. Louise Pirouet, chose, on account of cleansing the NRA and concealing Museveni's genocide, to be so careless with facts. The UPDM was formed after the aborted August invasion; John Luwuliza-Kirunda never formed any "grouping" as far as I know; Busoga killings were launched by the NRA in February 1986 against members of the UPC under cover of searching for members of FOBA, an organization which the NRA invented but never existed; Peter Otai announced the formation of his "grouping" in May 1987, and it was not a "pro-Obote" grouping: I knew nothing of its formation nor have I at any time been briefed of what it was or is supposed to do. However, the formation of the UPDM and Otai's grouping instead of helping Pirouet's case actually damages it.
Bazilio Okello's aborted invasion was launched as an UNLA venture. When a large number of people from Acholi fled to Sudan following the rampages of the NRA in the aftermath of the failed invasion, they told Okello who had the arms and good relations with the Governor of Juba that they had not gone to join the Okello UNLA and that they wanted arms to defend lives, property and to die with dignity. Bazilio Okello did not like the idea of handing arms in his control to a band of people over whom he would have no control. Serious negotiations ensued and the politicians who fled with Okello persuaded him to accept the demise of the UNLA of which he still believed existed and with him as its Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) the office he assumed on July 28, 1985. The same politicians thought they worked out a compromise; a loose body to be known collectively as the UPDM, and its armed wing, the Uganda Peoples' Democratic Army (UPDA), with Bazilio Okello as the head of both. The men from Acholi went into some form of training while the politicians busied themselves with writing manifesto for the UPDM/UPDA; it was an imposed structure on men who had only limited objectives and has, therefore, found much difficulties in the field. The men returned when the NRA searches for the Okello soldiers were at their highest stages of brutalities; many found their homes and granaries burnt and no trace of their families - children, wives, parents and defendants.
They became, in Museveni's and his Revellers' parlance, REBELS. The Americans' Boston Tea Party which was about unjust taxation by a Government they had not elected and had no representatives in it is acknowledged and praised in all democratic countries. But in this case, the same democratic countries chose to side with, sustain and conceal even the genocide of the oppressor whose regime is based on force and force alone.
The origin of what the Museveni regime calls rebellion in the North and East had nothing to do with the UPDM, John Kirunda, Peter Otai or any other politician or politicians. The people of those parts of Uganda simply rose against oppression characterized by massacres, the destruction of their homes and food and their means of livelihood. The UPDM, and all other groupings which have been announced were formed after the people, on their own, had taken up arms against the oppressors. The apparent lack of progress by such "groupings" has been due, in the main, to the difficulty of grafting organizations with very broad and wide objectives onto mass popular uprisings with limited objectives. The people rose to defend lives, the "groupings" through agreeing also want to be able to rule Uganda. Both are not necessarily incompatible but much work is required to establish a viable base.
The first public indication that the Museveni regime had chosen genocide as a leading mark of its rule was given by Ronald Bata at a Press Conference in Kampala in January 1987. Bata was then the Minister of State for Defense, and Museveni was as he still is, the Minister of Defense. Bata told the Press that it was "Government policy to destroy whatever could give succor to the rebels". He specifically listed granaries and boreholes. That this policy was meant for all the people in all the war zones can not be doubted. In Part One of these Notes - Extracts from New Vision - Museveni does not hide its gravity when he said: "There was a policy of destroying foodstuff being used by the rebels. The population was warned in advance through the dropping of leaflets by helicopter written in vernacular". There is no Reveller and no member of the regime, not even Museveni, who can produce a single copy of any such leaflets. They were never written nor dropped anywhere. But even if such had been the case, can it really be entertained that the policy was good for thousands upon thousands of people or as it turned out millions of people? Museveni has answered that question (see Extracts) when he referred to certain areas in Gulu District by saying: "We hear the population have already gone back (to their destroyed former homes) ... And in those areas there isn't any food anymore".
The destruction of foodstuff was, therefore, meant to starve the people as a whole. But the NRA, the much praised discipline force, did not go only for foodstuff; it set vast areas ablaze where homes were destroyed, often, with families in them; looted livestock; dismantled or poisoned boreholes and water wells; destroyed schools and dispensaries; in Kitgum District, a large hospital belonging to the Catholic Church was destroyed by the NRA; cotton ginneries and other economic structures were destroyed; above all the "very disciplined NRA", as claimed by the Revellers, went into the orgies of massacres. This traumatic nightmare began in Kitgum District and was to engulf Gulu District, Lango, Teso and Pallisa County in North Bukdei with sorties into Karamoja, Bugisu, the rest of Bukedi and Busoga. The Revellers know the above as facts but strive to explain them away in several different ways. One of those ways is patently shallow and most untenable. This is the version that the rebels burnt down their homes and those of their parents and kin and kith and also destroyed the food without which they would not live. If the NRA could do this in fighting the so-called rebels in the North and East, the claim that it was able to avoid committing such atrocities in Luwero becomes singularly hollow and naked.
In the third week of January 1987, a new form of massacres which was to be the standard pattern of NRA operations was launched. Fred Rwigyema, the then overall NRA Commander in Acholi, gave orders requiring the village and clan leaders in the neighborhood of Corner Kilak to assemble the menfolk at the Corner Kilak administrative center for him to address on Saturday, January 17. When the men assembled at the center, the NRA escorted them to a shrub nearby where they spent the whole day and the Saturday/Sunday night under guard and without food or water. On the next day, Sunday, helicopters from Kampala carrying journalists off-loaded their passengers on the compound of the administrative center at Corner Kilak and soon there was pandemonium. Terrific gunfire was coming from the direction of the shrub. Rwigyema ordered the journalists to leave the compound, (the helicopters had taken off) saying that the rebels were attacking the center. The journalists ran and gunfire continued, then it ended as suddenly as it began. Rwigyema, after an appropriate time was allowed for counting the number massacred, sent for the journalists.
The heinous massacre, at Corner Kilak, on Sunday, January 18, 1987 was described by Rwigyema and Museveni as a battle between the NRA and the rebels. The journalists, none of whom had actually witnessed any such battle in progress, wrote in the same vein. There were no prisoners or anyone wounded in the said battle and none was, therefore, questioned by the journalists.
Speaking to the journalists with manifest delight Rwigyema, a Rwandese Tutsi refugee formerly in the Rwanda Army, said: "We killed about 350 and these are the bodies we have counted. There are many more bodies lying in the field. These are ones we have counted so far. The number of the dead could be more than six-hundred (600) ..." We were surprised to see the rebels coming at us without taking cover. We kept massacring them but they kept coming and we killed so many". (The Standard, January 21, 1987)
Museveni also flew to Corner Kilak on the day of the massacre and then to Mbale where he made the following statement: "The rebels attacked us (NRA soldiers) at a place called Corner Kilak 20 miles South of Kitgum (Town). They came in while singing and shouting; our people (NRA) massacred those chaps. They approached us frontally. This gave us a very good chance because they exposed themselves; so on Sunday we surrounded them and massacred them. We massacred them very badly". (The Standard, January 21, 1987)
In a situation where the Head of State and his Field Commander speak of "massacre" gleefully, it is totally inconceivable that anyone should doubt the fact of genocide in Museveni's Uganda. In his Statement on Corner Kilak massacre, Museveni spoke of surrounding the rebels and then massacring them. That has been, since Corner Kilak, the pattern of NRA operations in all the so-called war zones. A village or an area is first surrounded by the NRA and then massacres follow. No attempt is made to persuade any "rebel" therein to surrender. There have been two variations on the pattern. First, some young people of twelve years and not above 15 years together with women were taken from the surrounded villages into captivities - jails and military barracks and became known as "Lodgers". The rest including the very young or very old were massacred. Second, the people in entire villages or what are known in Uganda as Gombololas and Counties are forced to go to Concentration Camps. Their homes, granaries and food in the fields are then destroyed while their livestock become the property of the NRA. The excuse given for the second variation is to clear the areas vacated for battles with the rebels but which rebel is foolish enough to remain in any such areas! Museveni claims that before the evacuation, helicopters drop leaflets advising the people to go to camps. There have been no such leaflets. What invariably happens is artillery bombardment and strafing of villages which force the people to flee from their homes but those who do not and are found there by the NRA are automatically treated as rebels and massacred.
In his briefing of the Press on the occasion of the Corner Kilak massacre, Rwigyema said something which later assumed almost mythical proportions. Rwigyema and later Museveni said that the rebels were using a witch doctor who allegedly made the rebels to believe that she had given the rebels charms which immunized the user against bullets. Later, it was disclosed that the witch doctor was known as Alice Lakwena who was described in unedifying words, particularly by Museveni's paid mercenaries, Catherine Bond and Cathy Watson who even called Lakwena a prostitute when their own moral turpitude is worse. I was puzzled that the Acholi would resort to charms and I made inquiries. Reports from three different people said that there was no witch doctor with the combatants. I took their word and said so in my Paper of 1987 but no sooner had my Paper reached Uganda than Alice Lakwena emerged and began her long journey from Gulu through Kitgum, Lango, Teso, Bukedi and much of Busoga until Lt. General Yoweri Museveni stopped her in the outskirts of Jinja. This again puzzled me. How is it that Lakwena with poorly armed men, in fact, many without arms at all except stones, was able to defeat or elude the NRA over such a long distance, some three hundred miles! Again I made inquiries. What I got is not concrete or complete. The inquiries indicated that Lakwena was known to Rwigyema and other NRA Commanders by the time of the Corner Kilak massacres; that Lakwena without knowing it was induced to work for the NRA and some reports give the figure of 7 (seven) million shillings paid to her by the NRA through an NRA "deserter" boyfriend; that when Lakwena started her long march there were, in her outfit, several NRA "deserters" who left her group during the confrontation with the NRA led by Museveni near Jinja; that the NRA throughout the long march, as if on orders, put up only mock battles with the Lakwena group and exerted no determination against the group. There are more puzzling matters in the reports drawn up by people in Acholi, Lango, Teso, Bukedi and Busoga.
I have no desire to belittle Lakwena's phenomenal exploits and do not also believe that she had supernatural powers. This, therefore, raises the question of how a poorly armed band was able to cover so much territory without being stopped by the NRA. Although my inquiries are not complete, there is some credible evidence which suggest that Lakwena, without her knowing it, was a tool of the NRA and that her role was to draw into her outfit thousands of people who were then to be massacred by the NRA. This evidence suggests that Rwigyema and Museveni disclosed her role before they had fully prepared her and ready to begin her mission. However, after the Corner Kilak massacre, Lakwena was sent on her mission.
She began with very few men, including the NRA "deserters". Her recruitment in Gulu, Apac and Kitgum Districts were done with much brutalities and often within sights of NRA units which turned up at villages after Lakwena had left but never pursued her. Occasionally, the Lakwena band attacked NRA detachments which just fled and such "successes" encouraged Lakwena and the band. Despite the "successes" however, Lakwena did not draw onto her thousands of recruits. In Acholi where she began her mission, there were thousands upon thousands of people with just causes to fight the NRA but they did not join Lakwena. The same was to be the case in Lango, Teso, Bukedi and Busoga; the people wanted arms not stones and charms. Museveni and the NRA appear to have hoped that at some place, in view of Lakwena's "successes", thousands would join her but that never happened and the evidence I have suggests that had it happened, the consequence would have been massacres on a very large scale. Lakwena became an embarrassment to Museveni and with her being in the outskirts of Jinja, he had to prove his military genius - killing a fly with a hammer.
At the time of the Corner Kilak massacre, much of Acholiland was already ablaze but in Lango and Teso the maximum that can be said is that there was much apprehension and tension brought about by frequent and brutal cattle raids. The identity of those rustlers or the main rustlers is given by Pirouet in the Minority Rights Group Report when she wrote that the Karamojong "have raided as far as Nebbi in West Nile, destroying homes and causing havoc". There is only one route to Nebbi District and that is through Pakwach Bridge. How did the Karamojong cross the Bridge and then recrossed it with cattle. Pirouet's Karamojong in Nebbi is fiction but since there have been cattle rustling in Nebbi in which homes were destroyed and much havoc done, there can be no doubt that cattle-rustling in Nebbi like in Lango, Teso, Bugisu and Bukedi were the operations of the NRA. That was and is still the opinion of the local people in those zones; the main rustlers were members of the NRA who in their operations wiped out entire homesteads, killed the people therein and burnt down their homes and granaries which the Karamojong used not to do. The Karamojong raids were and are not without deaths. They are carried out at night, the main body of the raiders going for the cattle enclosure and armed men are posted to kill whoever comes out of the houses in the homestead. Should no one come out, the Karamojong would simply depart with the cattle and avoid awakening the homestead and therefore pursuit. The NRA raids, however, were carried mostly at day-break and in the full view of the residents of a homestead or village.
My father, Stanley Opeto Anyanga, an old blind man of 89 years, was killed in August 1987 at Akokoro in the extreme West of Apac District in such NRA raids. His home was raided in the morning after sunrise.
Unlike their compatriots in Acholi, the people in Lango, Teso, Bugisu and Bukedi who were being raided and killed did not have any source from where to acquire arms with which to defend their lives and property against the rapacious and massacring NRA. As people fled from Acholi, into Lango and Teso, apprehension in both areas intensified just when the NRA atrocities increased but where was still no uprising in Lango or Teso. The situation changed dramatically in the middle of February. The trigger was the corner Kilak type of assembly which the NRA ordered to be held at the border of Lango and Teso. The people who by that time knew of the Kilak massacre, made appropriate arrangements for the meeting; it was never held. Instead, when the NRA ordered the assembled men to go to another venue, which the people resisted and the NRA picked some men and began to beat them, riot broke out and hand-to-hand fight ensued. The NRA unit was defeated and disarmed. Their arms were distributed amongst the people. Ambushes were set on Lira and Soroti Roads and more arms were thereby acquired. The NRA reaction was brutal to the extreme but it was also being overextended now with a fight in Lango and Teso in addition to the war in Acholi. The NRA decided to concentrate its forces in East Lango and Teso - the cattle belt - where it waged a savage campaign, massacring the people in entire villages, burning homes and granaries and looting the entire livestock from such villages. The people fought heroically but they lacked arms. It was in those circumstances that Peter Otai announced in May 1987 the formation of his grouping.
In August Museveni was presented or presented himself with one of the most ghastly and inhumane massacres of his reign of genocide. It is said that Peter Otai sent messages to Teso and Lango promising the delivery of arms by air at Soroti Airport for the harassed people! I have no direct evidence that Otai sent such messages. It is possible that Museveni's agents who knew that Otai's grouping was to have Lango and Teso as its primary base and whose political and military hierarchy was composed of men from the two ethnic groups, could have sent the messages and made them to appear as coming from Otai. A very large number of people turned up at dawn on the outskirts of Soroti Airport, on the appointed day and the NRA with its very high regards for the sanctity of life as claimed, was waiting for them. The NRA knew that the people coming were, at best, poorly armed and that the majority were not armed at all.
When the formidable horde reached the outskirts of the airport and waited, it was easily surrounded, without a fight, by the NRA. There was much cold blooded massacre. Those who managed to escape give a minimum of 30,000, others believe the figure of those massacred to be around 50,000. Museveni arranged for Military Attaches in Kampala to fly to Soroti where he and the diplomats reportedly viewed "piles and piles of dead rebels". That was on August 15, 1987. The REBELS are the victims of the NRA and the RUSTLERS are the NRA.
On Saturday, June 11, 1989 Museveni met, in Kampala, High Commissioners, Ambassadors and Representatives of the International Organizations. He told the diplomats, according to New Vision of June 13, "that Government had taken a decisive political initiative to bring lasting peace in the war affected areas. He added that peace had been brought about by both military and political measures". The purpose of the meeting was ostensibly to appeal to the International Community for a range of items stretching from food to saucepans to make life bearable for 2.7 million Ugandans who were displaced and were no longer living in their homes as the direct result of the wars! Museveni also told the diplomats that "The North and North-East were now pacified and asserted that the remaining pockets of resistance would be pacified in one way or another" - New Vision.
In 1987, the Museveni regime carried a currency conversion. Except in the Towns, there was no conversion in Acholi, Lango, Teso and Karamoja. A large number of UPDA men surrendered in April 1988 and in the Terms of Surrender agreed with Museveni and signed by him, he pledged to effect conversion in Acholi. The surrender was undoubtedly one of the political measures he had in mind when he said that Peace had "been brought about by both military and political measures". There is actually no political measure which Museveni has used. His so called amnesty was and is in fact addressed to people who were or are on the verge of death through starvation. He had in eighteen months destroyed practically all the food in Acholi, Lango, Teso and Karamoja and rendered, according to his figure 2.7 million were in his concentration camps and that same number may be in peril of death in the bush or forest; and as for the rest, he had no idea whether they were alive or dead. Museveni seems to have called the meeting to achieve three objectives:
To boast and make the diplomats believe that he had won all his wars and had therefore brought peace to the whole of Uganda, at the expense of a million or more lives.
To register a position, should in future evidence of mass death by starvation come to light, to fall on it and argue that he had made an appeal to the International Community; and
To get funds and supplies which after coming under the control of his regime, could be converted to other uses including the provisioning of the NRA.
The extent of the cruelty with which Museveni waged his wars of aggression is clear by the number of people he himself gave as destitutes - 2.7 million (nearly five times the population of Luwero in 1981). As stated, he did not know where 2 million and more people were since the camps had only around 500,000 but he knew that there was virtually no food in the villages; he had destroyed it as a matter of policy. The items Museveni put to the diplomats, as priority items, were 97,400 tons of maize, 64,800 tons of beans, 12 million meters of cloth, 500,000 saucepans, 900,000 blankets, 900,000 hoes and 300,000 pangas. There was no request for medicine. The destitutes had lost their clothes and blankets and if saucepans are added and the loss blamed onto the rebels, then the rebels must have been very rich in those items plus the hoes. However, when the UPDA men and others in Lango and Teso came out of the bush, they were in rags and many were emaciated.
The omission of medicine from the list of priority items gives some clue as to what Museveni really wanted. Uganda does not produce medicine and yet medicine was not on the list because Museveni wanted money above all else. He told the diplomats that, "due to the burden of rehabilitating the country's infrastructure, coupled with a deficit budget, government could hardly afford to slice off chunks of money for the affected Districts" and pointed out that "Uganda was self-sufficient in good production and just required supplementary assistance for the purchase of more beans, blankets and textiles. We have enough hoes and maize but we need the money to purchase and transport them to the affected areas".
Two diplomats, the US Ambassador and the UNDP Representative suggested to Museveni, to quote New Vision: "that government should arrange diplomats tour (sic) of the affected Districts in a bid to make on-the-spot assessment of the needs for communication of their Governments".
This gives the impression that the US diplomats had not been to the "affected Districts" for some considerable time, a situation, if true, was very different during the Luwero war when the US Ambassador used to go to Luwero whenever he wanted. However, on Saturday, June 11, 1989 several of the assembled diplomats pledged assistance of various kinds. Besides its aspect of a human tragedy and appeal, the meeting was a cleansing ceremony. Since the meeting, no country, no Human Rights Organization, no Newspaper or Magazine, no Radio or Television Station, etc., etc. has expressed even the slightest concern as to the plight of the people in Museveni's incessant and expanding wars. Instead, he has been honored by visits to his Court and visits to foreign countries.
Museveni's regime lives on deceit and brutal force. The very harsh Police State is presented abroad as very humane; the massacring private army (NRA) is praised as very disciplined; genocide in the North and East is regarded as the pacification of a rebellious and backward people by a man who means well and whose heart is in the unity and peace in Uganda; the crushing poverty afflicting every Ugandan home; even homes in the so-called peaceful "South" is blamed on "past regimes". Even a clearly stated exercise to recruit members into Museveni's political Party, the NRM, is paraded and embellished as a free and fair Parliamentary election. The fact is that in Museveni's Uganda, whatever is praised is fraudulent; scratch it a little, the reality is grisly and perturbing. On top, everything is fraudulently made beautiful but underneath the surface, death, poverty and misery are the realities of Uganda under Museveni.
Killings, for instance, by the agents of the Museveni regime take several forms. The most gruesome is the open genocide in the North and East which continues under the pretext of war against rebels or rustlers. Then there is the concentration camps; the people are forced to go into the camps in the full knowledge that on account of poor facilities many would not survive. Thirdly, thousands of people go to jails and military barracks as lodgers or "Prisoners of War" or whatever. There are no records of the numbers or identities and many die there while the Human Rights organizations praise Museveni for not detaining people under the Public Security Act where, at least, records would be available. Fourthly, there is the much praised Museveni's Courts-martial which are, in fact, illegal kangaroo Courts.
However, all these are embellished and fraudulently presented to the World to project Museveni as a most humane person struggling, in difficult circumstances, for peace and unity. In that way, the stock of human experience that crime does not pay is upturned and Museveni, the arch-criminal, is given an International Accolade and instead his victims and opponents are condemned, insulted and vilified.
At the base of the Gigantic Fraud by which Museveni conceals his genocide and other crimes are the skulls of Luwero. Visitors and journalists who go to Uganda, almost without exception, are taken to Luwero to view what Museveni's propaganda terms evidence of what he wants to stop. The visitor is thus packaged and shocked to a degree that it is impossible not to side with Museveni. The revulsion of such visitors is human and natural. Pictures of the skulls on television screens generate the same revulsion. This was the shock treatment given to visitors immediately Museveni became President. It is still being given today. If the skulls are buried as the people of Luwero want, he would lose the very foundation of the fraudulent image he has acquired; the skulls must therefore remain on show and he is planning to build a museum for them. The Luwero skulls are presented, as I have stated, as exhibits of civilians killed by the UNLA and never as cost in lives of the war, and a war in which both sides lost men, civilians were killed in cross-fire or by undisciplined elements in the NRA and UNLA or by some other causes. The Luwero skulls are therefore made to appear to belong entirely to civilians killed by the UNLA which is turn is represented as having been composed entirely of Northerners, under the Administration of Northerners. In that way, the UPC, a major national Party and Paulo Muwanga, the then Vice President and Minister of Defense whose portfolio was responsible for the UNLA are made Northerners. The NRA men who were killed in battles and whose skulls must be amongst those on display are also made to be civilians. Even the UNLA men killed in the Luwero war and whose skulls are undoubtedly on show are made to be civilians killed by the UNLA. This fraudulent representation of a distressing episode in Uganda's history has served Museveni well but has and continue to cost Uganda very dearly in lives and in all spheres of human well-being and good government. The success of the fraud has encouraged Museveni to invent and weave other frauds into the Program of his Police State and arbitrary brutal rule.
The case of Museveni's much praised Courts-martial, for instance, is a classic study in the Gigantic Fraud upon which Museveni and his regime have earned good image abroad.
The Uganda Courts-martial legislation provides that every Court-martial appointed to try a serious case such as a crime punishable by death, the said Court must have a Judge-Advocate, a qualified lawyer, appointed by the Chief Justice and the accused is entitled to be defended by a qualified lawyer. On conviction of the accused by a Courts-martial, the sentence must be "confirmed" by the High Court before it is carried out; the High Court may also order a retrial or quash the sentence. In Museveni's Courts-martial, there have been no Judge-Advocates, no lawyers to defend the accused and no High Court confirmation of death sentences. There have been occasions - quite many - where Museveni's Courts-martial passed death sentences and the accused were immediately executed even in the cases of those allowed to live for a few days after conviction, executions were carried out without any confirmation of the sentences by the High Court. In all cases, even the final stage provided in the Constitution where a person sentenced to death by any Court has the right to appeal to the President for mercy has never been allowed by Museveni - no such appeals are permitted. Further, the law provides that every lawful execution can only be done on the authority of a Death Warrant signed by the President but men have been executed within hours of conviction. It requires no great imagination to see that it is impossible for the High Court to review, say, a Soroti or even a Kampala Court-martial trial and give its opinion within hours or days after conviction or for the President to consider an appeal through the constitutionally provided committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, within hours or even days before a Court-martial sentence of death is carried out. Yet that is the case with Museveni's Courts-martial; sentences are carried out immediately or within a day or two. The summary executions, camouflaged, like every scheme Museveni puts forward to present an acceptable face, have been praised by the International Community and cited as evidence of non-acceptance of indiscipline in the NRA. However, open cases of grave crimes committed by the NRA are not treated in that manner; they are condoned.
The much vaunted strict discipline in the NRA has been exposed over the years as fraudulent. Cases are known where the Gulu District, for instance, NRA officers and men herded people in houses and burnt the houses, killing the victims. Amnesty International knows and has recorded some of those cases. Museveni and the NRA command promised investigations and appropriate action. Some of the cases are from 1988 but two years on, nothing has been heard of the results of the investigations or any appropriate action taken. In another well publicized incident of massacre, where young men were herded in Railway Wagons in Kumi Town and gassed to death, much noise was made by Salim Saleh, the then NRA Commander, about the NRA men responsible paying for their crime.
That was in July 1989. Nobody has appeared in any Court. Instead, Museveni went to Kumi and scolded the very terrified people in Concentration Camps for attacking the NRA detachments. The Kumi Railway Station massacre was in fact, part of Museveni's orders to his men. He was due to go and attend the 200th Centenary of the French Revolution. He ordered his army to clear off all "pockets of insurgency in Kumi District". After the massacre, Museveni told the BBC that the "war had ended" and that there was nothing left for the BBC to report. There was, therefore, nothing to report not even the trial of the men who committed the Kumi Railway Station massacre obviously because there was to be no trial. Eight or nine months later, after the massacre, Museveni himself was to be in Kumi to "clear off pockets of insurgency" and to wage a most savage campaign; those who were not killed outright in the burnt out villages are dying daily in Concentration Camps. In such circumstances, the International Community and Press can only record the ghastly deeds but shy away from condemning either Museveni or the NRA on the ground that there has been much improvement, under Museveni, from the past. That is the kind of language which Ugandans in the throes of death find hard to accept as human and humane language.
The yardstick for any comparison between now and the past actually exists and Museveni does not fair well at all on it. On his own admission, as already given, 2.7 million were uprooted from their homes through brutal operations in which many were massacred (his own words) and the living lost everything. The war zones are more extensive and contain more people in them than at any time in the past. Entire villages have been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people have been herded in Concentration Camps to die or to live precariously on hand-outs from humanitarian organizations. Thousands of people known as lodgers or prisoners of war have died in jails or barracks under Museveni. The jails and barracks have never contained so many thousands of people as under Museveni. Schools, hospitals, and dispensaries in the war zones have been destroyed with obvious consequences. Economic structures and the people's means of livelihood have, in the war zones, equally been destroyed. Death or massacre in Luwero is as painful as in any other District but the Gigantic Fraud asserts that genocide in the North and East is not painful and the wiping out of millions of the people therein is seen by the international community as great improvement from the past. It is a most curious and inhumane yardstick.
In the case of Luwero, some tentative evidence of what happened there have begun to come out to the embarrassment of Museveni and his Revellers. First, for over three years, the Luwero people have not flocked to Museveni's Human Rights Commission to recount their ordeal. The reason being that they see the perpetrators of that everywhere in the present regime. Secondly, a group who lived on one temporary camp for destitutes in Luwero, picked up courage and went to the Commission. The gist of their evidence was that in May 1982, a unit of the UNLA which was protecting their camp was redeployed elsewhere and after the unit had departed, the camp was savagely attacked "by people who were not UNLA" and that some one hundred inmates of the camp were massacred and the camp was ransacked by the attackers. These simple people could not be shaken by the Commission on their evidence. Alas, they are likely, in the present circumstances, to be the only ones to say any such thing publicly. Two things happened after their evidence; they disappeared and second, the NRA and Museveni's Secret Police went to Luwero and threatened the people with dire consequences should anyone try to repeat such evidence which malign the good name of the NRA. A third event is that the International Alert sent to Uganda in January 1989 a "fact-finding mission" headed by Mohammed Babu, former Minister in the Government of Tanzania. The mission went to the Districts of Arua, Gulu, Kitgum, Lira and Luwero. In each case except for Luwero, the Report of the mission gives short commentaries on Security, Food, Rehabilitation, Health, Education, opinion of the people on the situation and major Non-Governmental Organizations (in the Districts). The Report also attempts to give who or what group met and held discussions with the mission in each of the Districts except, again, Luwero. The mission actually was in Luwero for the whole of January 14, 1989 but in the mission's Report there is no mention of who or what group, in "Luwero District" met and held discussions with the mission. Further, the Report does not, in any way, not even in one line or one word give any inkling as to the "opinion of the people (of Luwero) on the situation". Babu's Report on Luwero is blank except for the fact that it correctly reports the presence of the mission in Luwero on January 14, 1989. Why?
I am reliably given to understand that the Babu mission had a very rough time in Luwero District. The mission was called names and branded as killers. Wherever the mission went, in Luwero, the attitude of the people was the same; the wrath of the people against the Museveni regime was poured onto the mission. The Babu mission saw no rehabilitation work and that is some three years of the Museveni rule and against colossal sums of money in Uganda shillings and hard currencies donated for rehabilitation work in Luwero.
The money as Appendix Four shows, never reached Luwero but Radio Uganda had in 1986 given much publicity of the millions which were pouring into the Fund. The Babu mission was, therefore, in a fix as to what to include in the Report on their "fact-finding" mission to Luwero. The fact which the mission found and included in its Report was as follows:
"January 14, 1989: Visit to Luwero District. 19.00 Discussions with Caroline Lamwaka, journalist of New Vision and Hope Kambunchu of Action for Development".
The total failure of the Babu mission to get anything with which to project and revel Museveni and the wrath of the people against Museveni and his regime by the Luwero people, much as it may have perturbed the International Alert was actually ignored as a sign of warning to the Organization that it had been fraudulently duped to give support to the Museveni regime. Babu will probably give, after reading this, a different picture of his visit to Luwero on January 14, 1989 after which, in the evening, he had discussions with two lady journalists both of whom are not from Luwero. However, what is important is that his was a "fact-finding" mission and Luwero being the reference point of Museveni's Revellers, why is it that the mission said absolutely nothing about Luwero. What was the reason for the reticence or exclusion from the Report some of the wonder achievements (if any) of the Museveni regime in the rehabilitation of Luwero which could be used elsewhere in Uganda. In my opinion, the "fact-finding" mission was in fact a ploy to gather materials to be twisted and used to conceal Museveni's genocide. That is exactly what happened in Oslo in April, 1989 when the International Alert presented, at a Conference, the Babu Report as the basis for Peace and Reconstruction in Uganda - under Museveni - and for an all-out effort to mobilize funds and technical assistance, on the international scale, for "Peace, Development and Conflict Resolution in Uganda".
The Oslo Conference was a classic exposure of how far Museveni's Revellers accept his frauds and are prepared to conceal his crime of genocide by detracting world attention from it to something else. In the Oslo Conference, the wars and the fact that the Babu mission did not visit Soroti and Kumi Districts because of the wars, were of no importance. What the conference regarded as most urgent and very important was the flow of funds, provisions and supplies of various kinds to Uganda.
The introduction to the Report of the Conference is headed "You can not eat peace" meaning that there was already peace and supplies, particularly food were urgently required to sustain the peace. The Babu mission had visited only District Headquarters - Towns - and held discussions for only a few hours in each place with officials of the regime and a few others who could not speak their minds for obvious reasons. The International Alert used its contacts in the media and the agenda for 1989 became peace and democracy as if in that way the wars and the concentration camps would go away. It was after discussions with the Babu mission that Museveni announced the holding of "elections for the expansion of the National Resistance Council". The Revellers went into euphoria because their man had promised in 1986 to hold elections in 1990 and was now going to do so a full year ahead of time.
It is one of the contradictions in Uganda's present agony that a man who does not believe in elections and is unabashedly authoritarian can be said to be working to promote a democratic process. The hollowness and the fraudulent nature of Museveni's elections was seen only by the UPC which officially issued a Statement to that effect. The basic question is how does a Movement (NRM) which does not practice democracy within itself believe in democracy. Museveni's NRM is a most peculiar political organization. It has no paid up members and there is no office anywhere in Uganda where anyone who wants to be a member can go and be enrolled. The only members are apparently those called "Historical" meaning presumably that they were in the Movement before January 25, 1986. But if so, why is it that recruitment of members stopped as of that date. The most crucial question is how does one become a member of the NRM. The corollary is whether a man like Paul Ssemogerere is now a member of the NRM by virtue of having stood and got elected to the National Resistance Council which is both the supreme body of the NRM and the Interim-National Legislature. These questions are not academic or idle because objective answers to them give the nature of the gigantic fraud in Museveni's 1989 elections. The essential point is that there were no elections to the Uganda Legislature of the nature of the election of 1961, 1962 or 1980. Museveni's 1989 elections were as the "law" for them specifically stated for the "Enlargement of the National Resistance Council (NRC)". The fraud was hidden in the fact that there are or there should be two NRCs; one purely the organ of the NRM, Museveni's new political entity in the pluralistic Multi-Party Uganda and the second, the imposed NRC of the NRM as the Interim Legislature for Uganda. Museveni designed his elections to cater for both with no distinction between candidates who wanted to join the NRM and those who wanted to be in the Interim Legislature.
In other words, the exercise was for the recruitment of office and job seekers.
Legal Notice No. 1 of 1986 (the New Constitution) issued after the NRM/NRA seized power provided that the NRC of the NRM shall be the Legislature for Uganda but the said NRC existed apparently in name only for it was also provided that the President would appoint its members. Had it been the UPC, for instance, in those circumstances, it would not have been necessary to include the latter provision in the Legal Notice. This is because the National Council of the UPC, the legislature of the Party, is an elected body and the President of the Party has no power to appoint its members and its composition is fixed by the Constitution of the party - a most illuminating difference on the internal democracy as practiced by the UPC and the NRM within the two Parties (see Appendix Five). Thus, Museveni's Legislature as composed in 1986 had members of the NRM and Ministers, who were ex-officio members but not necessarily members of the NRM and the name given to this body in accordance with the language of the Legal Notice was "national Resistance Council". The fraudulent exercise which was called Parliamentary elections was for the "Enlargement" of that Council as well as establishing other Councils below the national level. The word "enlargement" here though straight forward in its ordinary meaning of expanding size and composition did also carry another meaning that it was not the Legislature alone which was to be enlarged but also the organ of the NRM known as the NRC and that of the two, the latter took precedence. The law, called Statute, which was enacted for the "Enlargement of the National Resistance Council" shows that the NRM had no Constitution of its own and that it was that Statute which gave the NRM a Constitution for the first time. The Statute, for instance, created the Executive Committee of the NRC (an organ of the NRM) and its ex-officio members show that no such Committee existed when Museveni was in the bush, in the West during the Okello interlude or even after January 25, 1986. By subterfuge, this Committee of the NRM, the political entity, was also made to be the Standing Committee of the Enlarged Legislature. All in all, Museveni, who knew and knows that his NRM, like his UPM in 1980, would be trounced if he allowed Political Parties to compete in the elections, chose to bar politics altogether from the show.
Since politics and political programs and affiliations of the candidates did not feature in the so-called elections, neither Museveni nor his Revellers can deceive anyone but themselves when they argue that the electorate exercised political decisions in the bogus show.
Since the electorate was given no choice of programs by Parties or even by individual candidates, the show was thus clearly designed to appear as elections when in reality it was a ruse with the objective of giving Museveni an additional base for personal arbitrary rule. The leaders of the DP decided to participate in the show despite its fraudulent nature believing very much like in the 1962 Lukiiko elections, that the DP would capture the majority of seats which would then enable the DP to take over from Museveni. The DP did not attain that majority and some of its stalwarts including the Secretary General and former members of the National Assembly were defeated. However, by participating, the DP had given its blessing to the fraud. The DP leaders hoped to use the fraud to their advantage. Instead, it has created much bitterness and wrangling within the Party with one wing, led by the Secretary General and Treasurer, campaigning for the DP to pull out of the regime, while the President, leading another wing, is equally determined to stick to the regime.
Regulations for the fraudulent show was patterned with modifications on the UPC regulations for elections to its organs. That this was a show principally for the recruitment of members to the NRM comes out clearly in the Regulations. The originals of the Nomination Papers for all the candidates and the Personal Data for every candidate were to be sent to the NRM Secretariat. Although the Regulations specifically forbade "campaigns" including "the addressing of the public", Louise Pirouet asserts that "candidate had to campaign as individuals". Campaign, according to the Regulations, was made an offence punishable on "conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years" and in addition, disqualification "for a period of five years...from holding an office on any Resistance Committee or being a member of any Resistance Council". The "elections" were not on the basis of "one man one vote"; it was, except at the village level, indirect through electoral Colleges and the electors were to line up behind candidates. Those who have been, since 1962, condemning any form of the indirect elections to the National Assembly, including leaders of the DP, happily participated in this farce. It was a farce in several ways:
The interests, the internal politics and the structural organs of the NRM as a political entity were made to be the same as those of the Republic of Uganda; and men and women were thus lured, in a very difficult economic situation, to join the NRM in order to have a reliable means of income at the price of abandoning their Parties or political beliefs.
Competitive politics and ideas, through political Parties or even individual candidates were suppressed. Serious issues such as wars, genocide and the collapsing economy where, for instance, the masses are unable to pay for the education of their children were not allowed to be raised or debated.
The electors were given no programs from which to choose their representatives. Choice had to be on the personality of the candidates.
No period was given as to the tenure of the Committees or Councils.
Direct secret ballot was discarded in preference to Electoral Colleges, themselves not directly elected, and this was to be fraudulently presented as the first free and fair elections, since independence, when in fact it was a managed show in which the electorate in their totality were excluded.
There can be no doubt that if I and the UPC had mounted the Museveni type of February 1989 elections, those who now praise Museveni for that fraud would never have recognized it let alone praised it. The fraud was staged not only because the Revellers advised it as a means to legitimize, albeit fraudulently, a gunmen regime but also because Museveni saw that he had only one year left to detract attention from his lie of 1986 that this was to be an interim regime and that he would arrange for elections at the end of four years. Ugandans took the promise to mean direct secret ballot and that the political Parties were to participate. Only those who did not know how much Museveni hates elections must have believed him. However, the DP leaders who knew that in a fair contest, Museveni's outfit by whatever name called had no chance of winning, somehow also believed that Museveni would commit a political suicide and hold elections. When faced with the 1989 fraud, the DP leaders still believed that they would be able to turn it to their advantage particularly since the UPC was not going to participate. They failed and began to plan and hope that another chance would come after the four year period of the NRM/NRA rule in early 1990. In October 1989, Museveni addressed a secret meeting of his enlarged NRC and told them that the NRA had decided that the interim period be extended for another five years. He gave them the reason for that decision of the NRA. Paul Ssemogerere attended the secret meeting and a few days later left for the meeting of the UN General Assembly. The Executive Committee of the DP denounced the extension when it was made public. Word went round that the DP would pull out of the regime after January 26, 1990. Nothing of the kind has happened.
The reason which Museveni gave in the secret meeting for the extension of the NRM/NRA rule for another five years turned out to be the basic reason for the fraudulent elections of February 1989. The nature of that reason and the fear with which the NRM/NRA regards it had to be countered by a fraudulent voice of the people namely the "elected representatives of the people". A Statute was passed to effect the extension by the elected representatives of the people and so the argument goes, done democratically. That this vital matter was not put to the electorate is conveniently regarded as beside the point. A series of reasons were advanced in the "legislature" to justify the extension. They included even the construction of roads for easy movements in 1995 during elections. The roads as they existed in February 1989 elections had apparently become unusable by the end of that year. The publicly stated reason were all fraudulent. The cogent and real reason for the extension and, therefore, against direct secret elections after the four year period was given by George Kanyeihamba, the Attorney General/Minister of Justice.
The Exposure No. 29 of December 1989 reported: "...when talking to a lawyers gathering in November, the Attorney General Professor George Kanyeihamba, said that one of the reasons he thought there should be no election was that there was a possibility of the UPC winning these elections and then calling on Milton Obote to lead the country once again. He said, "what will NRA do if such an eventuality takes place"?
That was, in fact, the reason which Museveni gave in the secret meeting and was the reason for the fraudulent exercise of February 1989. The specter of the UPC replacing the NRM/NRA regime haunts Museveni. He is now reported to be in cohort with some UPC apostates and voluntarists in a scheme to divide the Party by imposing on it a leader acceptable to him. The scheme will not save him or his regime and the Gigantic Fraud is already tearing at the seams.
Genocide in Museveni's Uganda is fact. Wars in a very large part of Uganda many times the size of Luwero are facts. Uprising by the people in those war zones to defend lives and property against the massacring NRA soldiery is fact. The abject destitution of the undead is fact. Herding people in houses and setting the houses ablaze by the NRA is fact. Surrounding villages or homesteads and massacring the populace therein by the NRA is fact. Destruction of foodstuff in whole villages to starve the people to death is fact. Poisoning water sources or dismantling the same is fact. Concentration Camps were many, particularly children die daily and the women inmates are abused in the presence of their relatives or husbands by the NRA soldiery even those known to have HIV are facts. Total destruction of the economic structures and means of livelihood in the war zones is fact. That the International Community has not reacted to these facts and others is an enigma. Ugandans are alone in a World where there is much talk about human rights.
The gravity of the situation is strenuously concealed both by the regime and its Revellers. Organizations such as International Alert and Minority Rights Group would appear to want that the regime should "finish off the dirty work" quickly. There is no peace in Museveni's Uganda and there shall be no peace so long as Museveni's regime lasts. The genocide in the North and East will not stop there, new killing fields will be found. The objective of the regime is total docility in all parts of Uganda.
In a world where the present trend is for multi-Party systems, Museveni proposed in March 1990 to his Executive Committee, the banning of all Political Parties. His trembling courtiers contended themselves with asking how the Revellers abroad would view such a decision and it turned out that Museveni had not given any thought to the reaction of his Revellers. The Committee, therefore, decided that Party activities be banned for another five years.
Meanwhile, the NRM is to be financed by the taxpayer for another five years. There is no magic in 1995 - just as there was no magic in the four year "interim period". The interim period of four years has been stretched to nine years. Those who believe or think that the NRM would face the electorate in a multi-Party elections - secret ballot - are dreaming.
In addition to the call to end genocide, Ugandans of all political spectra have a duty also to wage struggles for the demise of Museveni's Police State.
There can not be any nationalist compromise on the grave matters of ridding Uganda of genocide and a rapacious Police State.
April 1990, Lusaka, Zambia
The late Mr. Obote was president of Uganda