Uganda: Notes On Concealment Of Genocide In Uganda By Dr. Apollo Milton Obote: April 1990 – Part IV

Dr. Apollo Milton Obote who died in 2005
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Dr. Apollo Milton Obote in his hay days

 

The Junta’s rule of six months was never popular anywhere in Uganda, not least in the North including Acholi from whence the Okellos come. The fall of the Okello Junta was seen as a poetic justice throughout Uganda except in Buganda where the DP organized a big rally to welcome the start of Museveni rule and for overthrowing a Junta in whose Cabinet the three top DP leaders – President, Secretary General and Treasurer – were members.

 

Gulu- Uganda: 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 consideration 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, Bazillio 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 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, soldierly and two allies simply fled. The UNLA had no artillery in the Western Region which the Junta had, way back in 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 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 come. The fall of the Okello Junta was seen as a poetic justice throughout Uganda except in Buganda where the DP organized a big rally to welcome the start of Museveni 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 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 NRA in the prosecution 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 wrong with Museveni’s regime. Being a Minister in Museveni’s regime would appear to them to be of a 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 brutality. 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 remised 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 stocks of arms. 

 

 

 

 

The Acholi soldiers who were in UNLA feared Amin's type of killings

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