Who is this man who has mortgaged Uganda ‘s future around himself, selfishly disregarding every institution, every person, and every thing as long as he remains in power? Does he love power all that much or does he fear crimminal charges that he faces if he leaves power? Who was the hand behind the murder of prominent Ugandans during Idi Amin’s rule between 1971 and 1979, doing that in order to tarnish Amin’s standing among the world?
He has sowed the seeds of anarchy in the Great Lakes region of central Africa where there was once stablity. Northern Uganda has remained a wasted land wasteland and kept deliberately behind on orders of Museveni. Hundreds of Acholi have had their lips and ears cut off by Museveni’s special hit squads and cleverly blamed on the elusive leader of the LRA, Joseph Kony. Since the beginning of Nov. 2005, western tourists and aid workers have been killed in Northern Uganda on orders of Museveni in a move to play on western governments’s feelings of insecurity and have the killings blamed on Kony. According to a recent top secret Central Intelligence Agency report, that it was Museveni who masterminded the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the deliberate killing of thousands of Tutsis and Hutu civilians in order to blame it on the Hutu-dominated government. Who shot down the aircraft carrying Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi on 6 April 1994? Who engineered the assassinations of President Laurent Kabila of Congo , President Melchior Ndadaye of Burundi , and Major-General Fred Rwigyema, the first commander of the Rwandan Patriotic Army?
Sincerely why has the CIA only recently realised that it was Museveni who exterminated the Tutsi of Rwanda in that genocide or the hundreds of thousands of Congolese civilians between 1996 and 2002? Why did the world fail for a long time to connect the Rwanda massacres in which bodies were found without skulls and the thousands of skulls discovered in Luwero Triangle a decade earlier?International investigators say that the helicopter carrying John Garang of the SPLA/SPLM came down inside Uganda and not southern Sudan. Why is the Ugandan government refusing to cooperate with the investigators into the crash, if it was a crash? Who removed the altimeter of the helicopter from the cockpit before take-off on 30 July 2005 from Uganda to Sudan ? With popular unrest against him growing every week and demonstrations breaking out among Makerere University students, the respected Bataka elders of Buganda , and supporters of Dr. Kiiza Besigye who was arrested on 14 Nov., 2005, Museveni is now desperate.
What will a desperate Museveni do if he is not stopped by local pressure and if necessary military intervention from the international community? It is important for decision makers, diplomats, and the wider Ugandan public to know whom they are dealing with.
If we are not careful, Museveni’s psychiatric condition will worsen as the political pressure leading to 2006 mounts, the man will start doing crazy things like burning Uganda’s historic sites and buildings like how the Roman Emperor Nero, who was mad, ordered the burning of Rome! The sequence of Museveni’s strange decisions and erratic public statements is convincing many Ugandans that Museveni could be clinically mad.
How can a normal man who is educated tell the authorities to cut down Mabira forest to clear land for “investors” when he knows how this will upset the environment and climate? A confidential report from British intelligence cabled to London on 27Oct.,2005 outlined Museveni’s deteriorating mental condition and said “He has a viracious appetite for all kinds of pleasures, and the instincts of a killer untroubled by remorse. He can be engagingly charming one moment, and ruthlessly destructive the next. Someone affected by hypomania sleeps little and is ceaselessly physically active.” Many people are still puzzled by what happened at the High Court buildings in Kampala on Wednesday 16 November 2005 when 30 armed men wearing black T-shirts and camouflage trousers entered the compound of the Court and beseiged it in front of a crowd of onlookers, diplomats, journalists, and supporters of Colonel Kizza Besigye. Many equated it with the abduction of the late Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka at the same High Court buildings in 1972 by unknown men. Who abducted Kiwanuka? Was it Idi Amin’s soldiers? Read this document after which the High Court incident in November 2005 will make sense and add up.
We appeal to Museveni’s staff and aides, ministers, army commanders and others around him to take maximum caution. Museveni might be unbalanced mentally but he is also very cunning. He knows that his aides and close ministers and commanders are the same people who will be testifying against him once he is overthrown or is no longer in power. We appeal to these people in Museveni’s inner circle to take maximum caution because at this rate he is going to start bumping them off one by one to silence them. It is not Kiiza Besigye who is in danger from Museveni. It is Museveni’s own inner circle. This is the most dangerous time in Uganda since 1966! This intelligence briefing issued as a national duty to help Ugandan voters, political parties and the international community make the appropriate decisions. Millions of people even many of the leaders in the DP, FDC, UPC do not yet really understand whom they are dealing with. It is a horrifying story of a cunning mind that ruled Uganda for 20 years
Material for this dossier on Museveni has been sourced from newspaper archives in the Library of Congress, the British Library, websites, a number of informants within the state security agencies in Uganda, academic publications and books, and a number of contacts in Uganda, Sincerely we want to thank in particular the staff of the British Library who have been helpful in locating reference documents.
3.168] “Those who said of their brethren whilst they (themselves) held back: Had they obeyed us, they would not have been killed. Say: Then avert death from yourselves if you speak the truth.” — The Holy Qur’an
Museveni’s origins are mysterious. Many versions of where he was born and his true nationality are claimed. Those who know him view the vague picture surrounding his origins as deliberately created. He one time said that he was born in Mbarara hospital and does not know his exact date of birth. That was in Mbarara in 1992, April. But later he changed and said it was Ntungamo! This ignorance of his exact birth date is not typical of a man who otherwise boasts of having an incredible memory and ability to recall events that many people have forgotten.You see, this unclear picture of Museveni’s origin comes from the stigma that Rwandese and Ugandans of Rwandese origin have been subjected to.Yoweri Kayibanda, a.k.a, Rutabasirwa was born around 1943 in Butare, Rwanda. Let him stop lying us that he was born in Uganda ! The most informed sources who have known Museveni since his early child hood insist that he and his mother, the late Esteri Kokundeka, came to Uganda from Butare town where he was born around April 1943. One of these sources Gertrude Byanyima the wife of Boniface Byanyima, the national chairman of the Democratic Party says Museveni came to Uganda as a child from Rwanda . He spent part of his early teenage life in the Byanyima family home in Mbarara town in western Uganda . Byanyima used to pay Museveni’s school fees or at least part of it. Let him deny it! One time when she was speaking to party supporters at her home in Mbarara on 2 March, 1996, Mrs. Byanyima said:
“Museveni is just like us here. He came here at 16 and it’s us who brought him up. He was never a good academic performer. The cupboard you see there [in a corner of the living room] was Museveni’s library. When you check in it you’ll find his books, a lot on imperialism, with his former names Yoseri Tubuhaburwa.”
When Byanyima claimed that Museveni “came here at 16”, it was not so clear whether she meant that Museveni came to Uganda at the age of sixteen or that he first visited the Byanyima home at that age.
After she made that claim, some of Gertrude Byanyima’s children Martha, Winnie, Abraham, and Anthony wrote a joint letter where by they apologised to Museveni for any embarassment caused to him by their mother’s claim. But mark you, they did not specifically refute or question the substance of what she said!
Gertrude Byanyima referred to Museveni as “Yoseri” rather than “Yoweri” and said those were his original names. It should be noted that during his university days, Museveni used the initial “T” from a name Tibuhaburwa he had given himself. In full, it comes from the Runyankore expression “Obwengye Tibuhaburwa”, meaning intelligence is natural born, not learned. In a thesis which he wrote in 1971 titled Fanon’s theory on violence: its verification in liberated Mozambique , the author gave his byline as “By Yoweri T. Museveni.” Many people from western Uganda hold this same view of Museveni’s Rwandese roots and among them are the Banyarwanda of western Uganda or the Rwandese refugees who lived for forty years in Uganda before returning to Rwanda in 1990. Most of these people give his origins as in Rwanda . Some of these people who know Museveni point out the fact that his mother never spoke any Ugandan language fluently in all her life, but only Kinyarwanda, the national language of Rwanda .
Many times Museveni has been challenged to prove his Ugandan roots by showing the public any graves and burial sites of any of his grandparents in Uganda but he has always avoided commenting on that. Those challenging him to do so bring up the issue because they know that there is nothing to show and want to put him in an embarassing position. The rumours around Museveni’s origins grew intense in 1992, leading him to appear in army combat uniform before a live national television audience where he listed a number of Runyankore names that he claimed were his. In Feb. 1994 while on a visit to Gulu, Museveni addressed a public rally. Some teenagers from St. Katherine Girls’ Secondary School began to shout at him complaining that his NRM government was filled with Banyarwanda. “Look at him,” they remarked, “He is a Munyarwanda proper!” Museveni heard the comments and commented: “These girls are saying I am a proper Munyarwanda. Maybe they bore me and they are in a better position to explain to us.” The embarassed headmistress of the school, Beatrice H.A Lagada suspended six of the girls. Museveni, though, did not confirm or refute the girls’ claim.
In 1966, Museveni suddenly back slid from many of the fundamentalist Christian views he had once held. This, he says, after British missionaries in Uganda whom he knew advocated non-aggression in their response to the unilateral declaration of independence by Southern Rhodesia ( Zimbabwe ) in 1965. Museveni and some of his friends favoured an armed struggle to overthrow the Rhodesian government of Prime Minister Ian Smith. Something is not right here. Museveni had been a fanatical believer in the message of the Bible. That all changed suddenly in 1966 and he then swung around to embrace a totally opposite out look to life which had armed struggle at its core. In his later years and after assuming the Ugandan presidency, he would give his rejection of the gospel as coming from his disagreement with white missionaries over how to respond to the political crisis in Rhodesia . That would have been a good reason to present, but this change in Museveni ran much deeper. Where he had once been sober and strict in his lifestyle, he started becoming sexually promiscuous, a development in his character that would have nothing to do with the declaration of a white supremacist regime in Rhodesia .. We want to know the reason be for this drastic change.
During her years in Ankole in the mid 1960s, Museveni’s mother had become a convert to the born again Christian faith. She sometimes visited Bweranyangye Girls’ Secondary School and took part in mission outreach programmes in Ankole. Many people who observed her became convinced that her eldest son had taken his personality from her. She was eccentric and was fond of wearing woollen clothing. In some way Esteri Kokundeka was ahead of her time. The main fashion of the day among the ordinary women in Ankole at the time was the traditional robes. Kokundeka on the other hand took a liking for European fashions and so stood out as odd whenever she went about in public, wearing woollen clothes and western-style dresses, some of them above the knees in length. At first some people wondered who this strange woman was, who was so different from the rest of her contemporaries in a society that was still very traditional. She did not have an education and had not traveled widely out of her home area but looked to be very modern. Moreover she was a modest woman and a devout Christian.
In between periods of depression and silence, she experienced high energy. During her excited phases that was when the common village fellas started to feel that she might be mentally disturbed. What was beyond doubt at the time was that Museveni’s mother was suffering from some kind of mental disorder. She certainly showed all the signs of what they call bipolar disorder. (Madness, to call a spade a spade.) Bweranyangye Girls’ Secondary School in Ankole, where her daughter Violet was studying, is a place where Kokundeka used to visit a lot to preach. She was dreaded and shunned by many of the girls. They saw her as a tyrant, a complicated and extremely difficult woman to get along with. On some occasions when she visited the school, girls would avoid meeting her and hide in the dormitories. She did not display the normal affection and motherly traits that would be expected in a parent, even toward her own children. She was not affectionate and was too unreasonable and hard to understand. Many became convinced at Bweranyangye that Kokundeka had a mental problem.
In 1967, she did have a mental breakdown. The details of that are not so clear. But she was admitted at the Butabika Mental Hospital on the outskirts of Kampala that year. Her mental disorder combined with the series of traumatic experiences in Rwanda that affected her so drastically as to lead her to reject her son, are the rock on which the crisis in Museveni’s life originated. That crisis in Museveni’s life lies at the root of the personality that we shall examine in forthcoming pages.
People who knew him during the mid 1960s say the change was brought about by rejection from his mother, Esteri Kokundeka. It was not Rhodesia , for God’s sake!
How she rejected him, why she rejected him, and when she rejected him is something we don’t know. I will not lie that I know. But it seems to have been very painful to him to rock the foundation of his whole entire life. Maybe he had tried to probe her to tell him who his real father was and she dismissed his questions.
Maybe he persisted with his questions and in impatience, his mother finally disclosed to him the circumstances of his birth. What brought her from Rwanda to Uganda reportedly either still pregnant with Museveni or when he was still an infant? Those who knew Museveni’s mother all through her life in Uganda remarked at how bitterly she hated and resented Rwanda . In 1982 during Museveni’s guerrilla war, one of Museveni’s most trusted commanders, Kahinda Otafiire, was charged with smuggling her out of Uganda through Rwanda and then on to Nairobi, Kenya where she would see her son. Museveni’s mother protested vehemently saying she hated Rwanda and did not want to go there ever again in her life. After repeated begging, Otafiire managed to get her into Rwanda from where the two went on to Kenya .
This gives us an interesting look into Museveni’s origins.
Sincerely why should his mother resent and hate Rwanda so much unless she had once lived there or had heard too much about it or maybe had experienced enough about Rwanda that even to talk about Rwanda made her feel so bad? It is one thing to hate Rwanda . It is quite another for your son’s commander and aide Otafiire to want to take you safely out of Uganda to Kenya at a time of high risk and yet you would rather remain in harm’s way in Uganda than set foot in Rwanda.
What was it about Rwanda that Museveni’s mother hated so much?
We can guess the following things.
She knew Rwanda much better than the average illiterate village woman. She definitely hated the country. She seems to have either lived there for some time or even originated from Rwanda . She seems to have had such a terrible experience in Rwanda that her outlook toward that country was clouded by all sorts of resentment. What terrible memory was this? Was she raped as a girl or young woman or sexually molested by someone in Rwanda ? Or even more traumatic, had she become pregnant while in Rwanda by a relative, so that she had to live with the stigma of having an incest sexual relationship hanging over her and bringing her distress? Did she become pregnant by a brother, a father, and uncle and unable to stand the shame of the affair, decided to flee Rwanda for Uganda , bringing with her the illegitimate son? Maybe this could explain her hatred of anything to do with Rwanda . If this is true, we have the correct understanding why she rejected the young Museveni. An ordinary terrible event in Rwanda like clan or tribal fighting or a dispute between two families would have made her resent the Rwanda society at large but bring her closer to her son.
But she resented both Rwanda and rejected her son. Our conclusion is that she might have concieved her son with a close relative, or a servant in the homstead in Rwanda and there is a chance that this might even have been a forced sexual encounter. She would then see her son and in him a reminder of the ashaming incident in Rwanda that led her to abandon her home and flee the country for Uganda . So it seems that she must have directly or indirectly told Museveni of the circumstances of his birth and parentage and once he knew this, a deeply traumatising personal crisis shook him. Sincerely it is not easy dealing with such ashaming news, more so from your own mother. Museveni’s biological father was an itinerant Rwandan peasant called Kayibanda. Current sources indicate that Kayibanda lives in Tanzania while others say he lives in Butare town in Rwanda . Other reports have it that Kayibanda died in Tanzania in the 1990s. We are not sure and where we are not sure, we shall not pretend to know.
According to some reports, Kayibanda and his wife Esteri Kokundeka came to Uganda when Museveni was a toddler. There is a story common in Ankole but difficult to prove for its accuracy, about how Museveni’s parents ended up in Uganda . This version has it that Museveni’s mother was of royal Kinyarwanda Tutsi stock. Apparently during one of her many idle moments at the royal court in Rwanda , she was seduced by or seduced one of the court workers, a Mutwa named Kayibanda. Museveni was the result of this laison, making him paternally a Twa and maternally a Tutsi.
Her proud Tutsi royal family had to quikly chase her for ashaming them. So she fled to Uganda for ever. Because of the disgrace she had brought upon herself by this liason with a despised commoner, she, the commoner, and their son Museveni were banished and fled across the border into Uganda . Being desperate to find means of supporting the woman and their child, Kayibanda the journeyman was given employment as a herdsman by a young cattle owner named Amos Kaguta. Kaguta was also of Rwandese stock and his brothers are reported to have remained in Rwanda when he migrated to Uganda . It was not long before Kayibanda eyed on Kaguta’s wife. Kaguta angrily banished Kayibanda from his home and Kayibanda fled to Tanzania with Kaguta’s adulterous wife. But Kaguta retained Kokundeka and her child Museveni as his wife and child. Kayibanda and Kokundeka had a second born child, a girl who later got married to a Rwandese Ugandan named Nathan Ruyondo. Ruyondo would became a Ugandan civil servant in the town of Masaka . Museveni, therefore, had one direct sibling, this girl who got married to Ruyondo. The day before he started his guerrilla war in 1981, Museveni travelled to Masaka and spent the night in his true sister’s home, on 5 Feb., 1981. He used Ruyondo’s Peugeot 304 to drive to the Kabamba army barracks for the attack the next day, 6 Feb., 1981. When he narrates his attack on Kabamba in Sowing The Mustard Seed, Museveni describes Ruyondo as “one of my acquainatnces.”
How with a sensitive life-and-death attack coming could he borrow the car of an ordinary “acquaintance” without being worried that this acquaintance could betray him to the authorities, if the car’s ownership was traced back to Ruyondo? These are all his lies. This Peugeot 304 belonged to Museveni’s brother-in-law, something he never admitted because in Masaka town, it was commonly known that Ruyondo’s wife was pure Rwandese. And so for Museveni to even hint at a close relationship with Ruyondo or to admit that Ruyondo’s wife was his direct paternal and maternal sister, would have confirmed to many that Museveni is really Rwandese.
Kaguta, having retained Esteri and Museveni later had a child in 1949 with Esteri. She was named Violet Kajubiri because she was born in the “year of the jubilee”, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Protestant church in Uganda . Meanwhile, in the late 1950s there was heavy activity of Arab hides and skins traders, especially in the cattle corridor of western Uganda . These Arab traders had traveled back and forth along the route between the East African coast of Kenya and Tanzania and the western interior of Uganda for several generations. Their ware was hauled over this long distance by among others Yemeni drivers who came from families that had settled in Mombasa along Kenya ‘s Indian Ocean coast. In his 1997 book Sowing The Mustard Seed, Museveni confirms this trade link between the East African coast and Ankole when he explains his early years:
“In the days of my early childhood…cattle were literally central to our whole lives….For clothing I wore the skin of a premature calf…although at the time it was no longer the common way of dressing. Even before the Europeans came, people were wearing textiles brought by long-distance travellers from the Swahili coast.” (page 4)
One of these Mombasa Yemeni lorry drivers met Museveni’s mother who was known to be a little loose and a child was born to them in 1960 named Salim Saleh. That is why Saleh who is also known as Caleb Akandwanaho has never used the name Kaguta as his middle name even after he became a senior government official. That by itself is more proof to the idea that Kaguta is not Saleh’s father. When Museveni came to power in 1986, rumours that he was Rwandese filed Kampala . You think Salim Saleh would not have used Kaguta’s name in order to be respected if Kaguta was really his father?In a Boston Globe article published on 1 May, 2005, a former U.S ambassador to Uganda Johnnie Carson referred to Caleb Akandwanaho (Salim Saleh) as Museveni’s “half-brother”This fact whih was widely known in Uganda is one of the signs that Museveni’s blood father was different from Saleh’s. The name of Salim Saleh’s biological father is not known. Maybe he can tell us himself.
During the 1979s exile, the Museveni family lived in the Upanga Estate next to Sebender Bridge in the Shimo la Udongo area of Dar es Salaam , Tanzania .
They teenager Saleh was very close to the Arab and Somali community although the rest of the Museveni family was polite but distant from their Arab and Somali neighbours. These Somali and Arabs regarded Salim Saleh as one of their own. Many people assumed that he was a Somali or coastal Tanzanian.
Saleh in his younger years was slim and light-skinned in complexion and you ould easily see the phycical features of one with Arab and possibly Somali blood. You look at Saleh’s flat hips and curly hair properly next time when you see him. You will see! It was only in the 1990s as he grew too bulky and his HIV condition began to darken his skin, that he started to blend in more with the general Ugandan population. Museveni became close to Colonel Gadhaffi of Libya because he used Saleh’s Arab blood to convince Gadafi that he was really pro-Arab causes. We shall see later why Gadhafi also became close to the Toro kingdom through another of Museveni’s manipulations. Meanwhile when Museveni came to power in 1986, his biological father Kayibanda came to Uganda from Tanzania to visit his son and share in the new-found recognition and fame as President. Museveni gave his father a blasting that he never forgot! He gave him money and angrily told him never to come back again. Museveni’s mother came to Uganda pregnant with the boy Rutabasirwa. That is Museveni’s real name. Forget the Museveni nickname. His middle name was adopted from his stepfather Kaguta and he only began to use the middle name Kaguta after he became president. According to Museveni’s inner family members, Kaguta’s brothers live in Rwanda .
This proves that even Museveni’s half-sister Kajubiri is Rwandese and not Ugandan as we assumed all along. It was strange for many years that Amos Kaguta did not seem to have immediate relatives in Uganda and yet there were never any reports of any of them having died and been buried in Uganda . In addition, during the 1930s and 1940s and even right up to the 1950s, there was tremendous prejudice among the Banyankole tribe of the Ankole kingdom Uganda against Rwandese, particularly the Tutsi. Ths prejudice ran much deeper among the peasants. You think with Esteri Kokundeka being a Rwandan Tutsi, it would have been possible at the time for her to get married to a Munyankole man, more so if she already had a child from another man? Not possible! Only when you know that Kaguta is a Rwandese Tutsi then you see why Kokundeka got married to him. One of Museveni’s closest childhood friends was Eriya Kategaya whose mother was Rwandan Tutsi and father a Munyankole. The bias that the Banyankole felt toward the Banyarwanda at the time would have made it difficult for Museveni and Kategaya to be so close, unless at least one of Museveni’s parents was Rwandese.
In the 1990s, Museveni made a habit of publicly promoting the Runyankore language, praising the Ankole cultural heritage and saying he was compiling a Runyankore-English dictionary. (By the way, where is the dictionary? We have never seen it.) Those who know him and watched him commented that this was a bid to make himself look a true Ugandan and deflect any remaining rumours that he might be Rwandese. The very first sentence on the very first page of Sowing the Mustard Seed is revealing. Museveni writes: “I was born among the Banyankore Bahima nomads of south-western Uganda in about the year 1944.” In this first line, Museveni would once and for all have dispeled the rumours about his origins by stating categorically “I am a Munyankore Muhima.” He was careful not be specific about that. Instead he vaguely says he was born among the Bahima.
Museveni’s school days and first job
Museveni attended Kyamate primary school, Mbarara High School , and Ntare School , all of then Anglican Protestant schools. During his time in secondary school, his schoolmates found him strange and many thought he might be mentally unstable. His radical views and eccentric behaviour while at Ntare School made him stand out. He was an ardent member of the school’s debating club and Scripture Union, the study group of the Anglican church in Uganda . Members of the Scripture Union found him to be domineering and even in a religious setting, he was always trying to force his views on the association. Instead of a conciliatory Christian stance when others expressed views contrary to his, Museveni during unguarded moments displayed a militant attitude. Museveni’s behaviour at Ntare School in Mbarara was similar to that of his mother’s. Even when his friends and classmates made an allowance for his behaviour being part of the normal turbulent teenage years, some of it was not. One time in 1965, Museveni called a strike which became so violent that a prefect in the school was beaten to death. Museveni was arrested and taken to the Mbarara Police Station. He was taken to the Mbarara district commissioner at the time, Edward Athiyo. When Athiyo saw this young boy who was so thin and had no buttocks almost, he could not believe that Museveni could cause such chaos. So Athiyo ordered Museveni to be given 12 strokes of the cane and released. That is how people went on underestimating Museveni for many years. They always think he is weaker than he looks, politically and physically. It was troubling because Museveni did not do things on the spur of the moment. He thought things out appeared to know what he was doing. But what he did was not the acts of a normal person.
One of the persistent statements that Museveni had started making was that he was determined to be the president of Uganda one day in the future. He was laughed off as a clown by his schoolmates who saw this as one more of his characteristic outbursts. He kept mentioning this time and time again. He was ignored and dismissed by onlookers as out of his mind, as usual. Something that has never been analysed is his obsession with being Uganda ‘s head of state that began to rule Museveni from his late teens. The young man was too ditermined to be president that one has to ask sincerely why be so consumed with being leader of a ramshackled African country without any other career ambition? He never explained what he planned to do when he achieved this dream. There is not definite evidence in this regard, but it can be assumed that Museveni went through a terrible experience as a teenager either being mocked for not having no ethnic and family roots or watching with deep envy his friends and other schoolmates with families and a sense of social belonging and he with none. What was also known by people at the time is that Museveni’s mother was widely rumoured to be a part-time prostitute. That is part of the reason she came to have four children from three different men.
Museveni was teased and mocked over the fact that his half-brother Saleh was an Arab and these insults cut deeper into Museveni. The rumour that she was or had been a prostitute persisted everywhere she went, to the point that it seemed to have at least a grain of truth to it. A humiliated Museveni must have developed a great need to compensate for his too shameful background. There could only have been one way to do this and that would be to become the powerful head of state, thus rising even above the traditional kings of Ankole, Toro, and Bunyoro of western Uganda whose subjects he lived and studied among. To be president required simple Ugandan citizenship which he could claim to have. One did not beyond that need to be from a particular ethnic group because the presidency was not hereditary. He had to dominate and domineer those who had insulted and mocked him. After sitting his advanced level exams in 1966, he passed to go to Makerere University in Kampala in 1967 to read Law. In his A’Level exams, he scored three principals: DDD in History, Economics, and Literature. What he got in the compulsory supplementary subject, General Paper we do not know.
One day a journalist should ask him at a press conference to tell us how much he got in General Paper. But even if Museveni got only DDD in his principal subjects, he knew many things because he used to read widely. So there is a big chance that he scored highly in General Paper. Someone can even assume that he got a Credit 3 or maybe Distinction 2. But you can see why he feared to tell us how much he got in A-Level when he wrote the Mustard Seed because if Ugandans knew he got DDD they would wonder about the only man with a vision to rule Uganda! DDD even in the 1960s was not a result to make you celebrate with delicious chicken. Makerere at that time was one of Africa ‘s most prestigious institutions of higher learning. But Museveni was unable to complete his first year there. Museveni has claimed the reason he did not attend Makerere University , saying that he originally put his first choice as Dar es Salaam and Makerere only as a second choice. According to a source then working in the Office of the President at that time, Museveni got a mental breakdown at Makerere. In a panic, Uganda ‘s Prime Minister Milton Obote quickly had a letter written and arranged for Museveni to be flown to Sofia , Bulgaria in eastern Europe where he was admitted in a psychiatry hospital. Because of this, he was unable to continue at Makerere. Explain why did Obote get involved in the personal matters of an obscure student from western Uganda ? The reason is that Museveni had been a youth winger and member of the ruling Uganda People’s Congress party. Obote was well known for his loyalty to even the young people affiliated with his party. President Obote rang up his Tanzanian counterpart President Julius Nyerere and said he wanted Nyerere to recommend “this illustrious young man” Museveni to the University of Dar es Salaam . A letter was later written to President Nyerere formally requesting him to help gain admission for Museveni at Dar es Salaam . It is not clear what triggered off Museveni’s mental breakdown. Maybe it had something to do with his mother’s breakdown that same year and therefore was part of a cycle of mental breakdown by mother and son or was an incident isolated. It is not known. Much later in life as President, Museveni was hostile to Makerere University in a funny way. Some now trace that hostile feeling back to the haunting memories it gives him of his mental illness in 1967.
At Dar es Salaam University between 1967 and 1970 he studied law for his first year but owing to his insignificant performance, he was transferred to the Political Science department for the remaining two years at the university. On the first day of the law class, the lecturer asked each of the students to stand up and introduce themselves. They did so in turns. Museveni was seated right at the back of the class. When it came to his turn, he stood up and said, “I am Yoweri Museveni of Rwanda .” Some Ugandan students in the class were surprised, as most of them had always assumed that he was a Ugandan from Ankole. Knowing his stubborn ways, they dismissed this statement as one of his pranks and attempt at humour. He soon became involved in radical nationalist and leftist politics. During his second year at Dar es Salaam University in Sept. 1968, Museveni visited the military camps of the Mozambican independence group, Frente de Liberatacao de Mocambique (FRELIMO), and acquainted himself with their goals. There are some people who doubt his claim to have seen combat action in Mozambique , but anyway let us give him the benefit of the doubt. At Dar es Salaam University , Museveni was one of the leaders of a radical student association, the University African Students’ Front (UASF), a discussion group that advocated pan-African unity and advanced the struggle for Africa ‘s independence. The university published a Marxist magazine called Che Che, whose main theme was revolutionary causes and African liberation. In one of its issues, Museveni wrote an article in which he compared President Nyerere to the 19th century German leader Otto von Bismarck. An aide to Nyerere read and was impressed by the article and sought out this Museveni who had understood Nyerere in such visionary terms. A mentor-protégé friendship between Nyerere and Museveni soon grew.
In 1969, Museveni visited Makerere University from Dar es Salaam University where he was a student. He went to speak at a seminar on African liberation.
He had recently returned from Mozambique where he watched the FRELIMO guerrillas train and was impressed by their level of organization and in particular, their interpretation of the role of a soldier in Africa ‘s independence struggles. In a speech to the students at Makerere, Museveni passionately argued that war the highest form of political struggle could only be conducted by political fighters not by politically neutral soldiers. This speech at Makerere spelt out Museveni’s beliefs and because he emphasised them so forcefully, we can surmise that he had now come to the conviction that war was to be, henceforth, his principal vehicle for the pursuit of his ambitions and the application of his political ideas. One day late in 1970 while at Dar es Salaam University , Museveni suffered another mental breakdown. Like the breakdown in 1967, it was not a breakdown caused by fatigue, stress, or any result of a work overload. It was a breakdown that was definitely triggered off by mental illness. This time he was flown to a psychiatric hospital in Oman in the Middle East . After undergoing treatment, Museveni returned to Dar es Salaam . After completing university in Tanzania in March 1970, Museveni applied for and got a job in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. President Obote met Museveni again in Aug. 1970 and was impressed enough by the young man that he had him transferred to the Office of the President at the parliamentary buildings in Kampala . There, Museveni joined a branch of the Ugandan intelligence service, the General Service Unit. Prior to its founding in April 1964, the General Service Unit was an off shoot of the Protocol Department in the Office of the President. This branch was called the State Research Bureau and was headed at that time by Picho Ali. His brother, Albert Picho Owiny, was also a youth activist with the ruling UPC party. Museveni also worked with the head of the research department in the President’s Office, Wilson Okwenje (who later became the minister of public service and cabinet affairs in Obote II regime in 1980.)
Museveni’s official title was Assistant Secretary for Research.
Among the other young men in the research department of the President’s Office were Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, Zubairi Bakari, Kintu Musoke, Yuda Katundu, Michael Micombero-Mpambara, Kasendwa-Ddumba, Erifazi Laki, Edward Rugumayo, Moses Musonge, John Ateker Ejalu, Abbasi Kibazo and many others. The overall director of the country’s intelligence services was Obote’s own cousin, Naphtali Akena Adoko. Museveni’s colleagues in the General Service Unit found him to be too impatient and quarrelsome in dealing with people. He was always secretive in the office and appeared to find it difficult to trust people. He never opened up to his colleagues and they felt sure he was holding back much of himself from them. It was Picho Ali who knew best how to deal with Museveni.
Ali was an extremely intelligent young man with good command of English. He would dismiss Museveni’s petty bickering with one single word which would leave Museveni boiling like a volcano and the rest of the office cheering. Like it or not, Museveni was not popular. Explaning in the Daily Monitor newspaper of Kampala on 16 Oct., 2005, Wilson Okwenje said:
“It was in my capacity as head of research in the President’s Office that I met Yoweri Museveni for the first time in 1970. He had come to us after graduating from Dar es Salaam University . We worked together up till the military coup of 25 Jan., 1971.
At that time, as an assistant secretary, he was just another face in the crowd, as a matter of speech, although I came to know that he harboured political ambitions and I suspected that he was using his work at the President’s Office as a stepping stone.”
The question is, how was Museveni “using his work” as a stepping stone to his real ambitions? It goes without saying that someone in that position would have enjoyed a certain amount of access to secret government files and information. He had security clearance and made sure that his position benefitted him in a far-reaching way than just gaining an office desk for administrative experience. In 1970 unknown to most people, Museveni had began to collect weapons for reasons known to himself. How he got the arms in the first place without being questioned or arrested, is equally unknown but he used his security clearance to get them in without causing sucpision. Museveni kept the rifles and pistols hidden in a location in Salaama near Kibuye along the road to Entebbe . He also tried to recruit some of his friends into what was a future armed struggle. Many of them did not take him seriously that a junior intelligence officer actually meant what he said when he claimed to privately own guns and was planning an armed struggle.
Murder of Brigadier Pierino Okoya
On 25 Jan., 1970, the commander of the army’s Second Infantry brigade, Brigadier Pierino Yere Okoyo and his wife Anna Akello Okoya were shot dead outside their home at Layibi, just outside Gulu town by unknown assailants. Brigadier Okoya was buried together with a sheep. Okoya had been one of the most vocal in criticising the army commander Idi Amin for fleeing the scene of an 19 Oct., 1969 assassination attempt on President Obote at Lugogo in Kampala . As soon as news of the attempt on Obote’s life became known, Brigadier Okoya drove from Jinja, 80 km from Kampala and gave orders for the army to remain in the barracks and restrain themselves. Okoya accused Amin of being a coward and wanted disciplinary action taken against the army commander. He went on to suggest that Amin might have had something to do with the assassination plot. At the time Okoya was shot dead, Amin had been flown to his hometown of Arua toward the border with Sudan by an Acholi pilot. Obote ordered an inquiry into Okoya’s murder. The first suspects in the Okoya murder were four men Captain Frederick (“Smutts”) Guweddeko, an airforce officer; Patrick Mukwaya, a businessman; Siperito Kapalaga, also a businessman; Fred Kyamufumba, a flight technician; and two other men, Kalule L. Lutalo and Sebastiano Lukanga. These men were allegedly paid of murder Okoya. Two young women Milly Nantege and Mary Kajjansi who were girlfriends of two of the accused, were also arrested and tortured to obtain confessions since it was assumed that they would know something about the plot.
President Amin appeared before the panel investigating the murder of Okoya on 15 May, 1971, less than four months since coming to power. Speaking before Justice Richard Dickson, Amin said he did not ask Captain Guweddeko to recruit civilians to assassinate Okoya. On 16 June, 1971, an 86-page report by Dickson was published in which it was stated that the killers of Okoya remained unknown to that day. According to Guweddeko speaking in 1972, he had been arrested at a barber’s shop in Wandegeya, a trading centre just outside the city. He said a police C.I.D officer tortured him continually in order to force Guweddeko to admit that ‘it was General Amin who gave them the money to hire people to kill Brigadier Okoya,’ The People newspaper said. Investigations following the crime revealed that the kind of bullets that had been used to kill the Okoya couple were to be found in only two sections of the security forces, the army barracks in Mbarara and the General Service Unit intelligence agency.
This brings two scenarios. The first thinks that the person who ordered Okoya’s murder was either connected in some way with both the army in Mbarara and the General Service Unit or one of them. The other scenario thinks that the master planner behind the murders used people in the army based in Mbarara or agents in the General Service Unit. It is the combination of Mbarara and the General Service Unit that makes the picture more interesting.
To add pepper to salt, The People newspaper, owned by the UPC party, quoted a government statement issued on 13 April, 1972 in which the government explained reports of missing people allegedly murdered by the military regime:
“Most of the people reported missing, the statement says, are from [the southwestern Bantu and Hamitic] Ankole and Kigezi districts, which districts were areas of concentration for recruitment to the defunct General Service Unit.” (The People, 14 April, 1972). This is the UPC paper speaking, mind you. We get from it we get credible and independent proof that the General Service Unit intelligence agency was not dominated by officers and agents from Obote’s northern Nilotic Acholi and Langi tribes as most people think but by agents mainly “from Ankole and Kigezi districts.” We had some well known characters in GSU from the west in the shape of Michael Micombero-Mpambara from Kigezi and the Yoweri Museveni from Ankole. Let us focus on Museveni the thin man without buttoks who caused the Ntare strike in 1965. Okoya was murdered in Jan. 1970, at a time that Museveni would have still been a student in Tanzania . So how could he feature in the killing of Okoya unless we are telling nice fiary tales?
You see you must always know how a triky man thinks. Museveni was not like you and me. It seems he grew old be fore his time especially in matters to do with state security and the workings of the government system. While most of his classmates were leading ordinary lives and harbouring ordinary career ambitions, Museveni was different. Too different! By 1966 he was already aflame with the passion of African revolution. He followed news events in Uganda keenly and behaved much older than his age. On 30 July, 2005, in Mbarara, Museveni told a bridal giveaway party (“Okuhingira”) that he had first planned to wage war against the Obote government in 1967. “I was to start the war against dictatorship when I was still a student at Ntare School in 1967 when Obote abrogated the constitution, but mzee [James] Kahigiriza advised me not to because it would cause more problems,” Museveni said. The date he referred to there was actually Feb. 1966 not 1967 if your have seen his explanation in Sowing The Mustard Seed. By this age, Museveni had developed an understanding and appetite for armed struggle and political violence. It is common knowledge that Museveni as a student at Dar es Salaam not regular in the time he spent at campus. We said before that he had visited the guerrilla-held areas of Mozambique in 1969 where his encounter with the FRELIMO guerrillas made a deep mark on him.
Even more important but which Museveni does not refer to it publicly, he had joined the intelligence service earlier than he openly admits. This had happened while he was still a student at Ntare School . In the chaos atmosphere following the attempt on Obote’s life in 1969 the young Museveni who is so cunning calculated that killing Okoya would inevitably bring the blame on Amin. In a book published in 1976 to explain the Israeli side to the 1976 hostage crisis at Entebbe , the deputy editor of the Israeli airforce magazine, Y. Ofer, revealed details that appear to spare Amin of Okoya’s murder. The book titled Operation Thunder: The Entebbe Raid: The Israeli’s Own Story, mentioned this detail on page 60. Read it yourself and see:
“One day when a Ugandan brigadier-general named Okea [Okoya], a member of the Acholi tribe, had been murdered, President Obote planned to exploit the assassination to oust Amin, and he started the rumour that the [army] Chief of Staff had been involved in it. Idi Amin was then in Cairo…[The Uganda minister of defence, Felix Onama…investigated the matter and learned that Obote was planning to detain Amin on his return to Uganda on the trumped-up charge of having assassinated the brigadier-general.”
We should bear in mind that Museveni had secretly been acquiring arms in 1970 and hiding them at Salaama. We canot rule out the chance that he might have at least hired out guns in Jan. 1970 for the assassination of Okoya. A big evidence linking Museveni’s possible role in Okoya’s murder came in Aug. 1985 shortly after Obote was overthrown for the second time.The elderly father of the late Okoya told a tribal meeting in Gulu that his son had not been murdered by Amin.
Even more surprising speaking also in Gulu nine years later in 1994, the former Ugandan head of state General Tito Lutwa Okello told a public gathering that Amin did not murder Okoya. Tito Okello had escorted President Museveni on 1 Feb., 1994 for the opening of the Koch Goma health centre in Gulu. Okello was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 1960s army under Obote and knew enough about the army and Uganda ‘s politics to know what he was talking about. Speaking in Luo language in Gulu that day to his own tribesmen the Acholi, Okello added something intriguing.
He said: “There are some people who up to now know who killed Okoya but they are quiet. Okoya was killed in the same way that Colonel Omoya was killed… right now you have started to gang up again under the system and the people who killed your sons.” Who was Okello referring to when he said the people who murdered Okello were in Uganda at the time he spoke, in 1994? This was a political murder. Okello did not mention people by name. He could only have remained silent about their identity if they were influential within the Acholi community and he did not want them to be shunned by their tribesmen, or the killers were in the government at the time and he did not want to invite their wrath. It was one of the most puzzling statements made by a political leader during the 1990s. Okello criticised the Acholi for ganging up “under the system and the people who killed your sons.” Was he referring to the Acholi rebel leaders like Alice Lakwena and Joseph Kony? If that is the case their rag-tag armies and rebel groups were a joke and you could not say they were a “system.”
By early 1994, both of these Acholi rebel leaders had come to be regarded as too weak to seriously threaten the Museveni government and so it was pointless for Tito Okello to bother about cautioning the Acholi over these rebel leaders. Okello said also that the Acholi had “started” to gang up under the system that had brought suffering to them and killed their sons. By stating that he could only have been referring to the National Resistance Movement government under President Yoweri Museveni. An Acholi-led military coup and government headed by Okello himself had ruled Uganda six months before Museveni came to power and the Acholi supported that. For 30 years, the Acholi had given their support to the UPC and DP governments of Milton Obote and Benedicto Kiwanuka. So they could not have “started” giving their support to a system and got Tito Okello’s criticism, unless he saw them as supporting a new system that they had historically not supported or known. Tito Okello’s intriguing statement in Gulu in Feb. 1994, clearing of Amin’s role in Okoya’s murder by the Israeli airforce magazine boss in 1976 tells us that it was not Amin. Because the bullets which shot Okoya and his wife came from the GSU or from Mbarara barracks makes one to believe that it was Yoweri Museveni who killed both Brigadier Okoya and Colonel Omoya in 1970. You see when the Acholi hate Museveni for 20 years we can wonder if there can be smoke without fire! Acholi have shunned Museveni with more rebel groups than all other tribes and this can make one to wonder if maybe they possibly know that Museveni killed their Acholi military sons. On 7 Oct., 1970, President Obote, President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, and President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania went to Makerere College in Kampala to attend a ceremony in which it was to be officially made a university; the University of East Africa. The heads of state were applauded. But when Amin was introduced, he received a standing ovation and cheers from the students assembled for the occasion.
On 11 Jan., 1971, President Obote summoned Amin to his office and told him that the army had overshot its budget by 2,691,343 Pound Sterling . He also told Amin about the report into the killing of Okoya. Five days later on 16 Jan., 1971, Amin called a news conference and said that Obote planned to have him arrested using intelligence agents. Sincerely why should Amin do this, addressing a press conference charging that the commander-in-chief was planning to have him arrested, an action in breach of army discipline? Amin was definitely aware that the climate in Uganda had turned too political than usual. By addressing a press conference, he tried to appeal for support directly from the public where, he must have known he enjoyed sympathy to make such a direct charge against the President worth the risk.
FRONASA takes on Amin (1971 – 1979)
On 25 Jan., 1971, Major-General Idi Amin came to power in a coup staged by officers and men of the Army. Most of the coup makers were Muslims from the West Nile or of Sudanese Nubian origin.
On the same day as the coup, Museveni and a group of friends opposed to Amin fled to Tanzania . Those ones were Zubairi Bakari, Abbasi Kibazo, Erifazi Laki and Yuda Katundu. These were GSU spies like Museveni. They later decided to launch an armed insurrection against the new military regime. The Amin coup was one of the most popular events since Uganda won independence from Britain in Oct. 1962. You could think as if Uganda had won the World Cup. Mamoth crowds greeted Amin everywhere he went in Kampala , as he drove himself in an open jeep accompanied by troops. The coup was most welcomed and popular in Buganda . Some people have wondered why Museveni and his fellas speeded to exile the next day after the coup. How did Museveni instantly see that Amin was a dictator when the champagne was still flowing and people were drinking like fish and dancing like night dancers on the streets? Unless he tells us that he has a sixth sense like a magician. Museveni has always tried to appear a hero by claiming that he was one of the few who decided that they could not serve under Amin’s dictatorship. In Sowing The Mustard Seed, Museveni says on the afternoon of the coup he sat down with his friends and calmly saw the legacy of Idi Amin (before it was even a day old!) and they concluded that they could not work under the Amin “system”, a system that was yet to even get full control of Kampala, let alone the rest of the country. One cannot judge the character of a regime on its first day unless you are God and Museveni is not God. The answer to the puzzle is that Museveni had been part of a small team of intelligence officers pressing Obote to arrest army commander Idi Amin. Museveni’s colleagues Laki, Kibazo, Bakari, and Katundu were intelligence officers like him. The army’s former quartermaster boss a Langi army officer by the names Lieutenant-Colonel David Oyite Ojok, had also been one of those urging Obote to arrest or at least put Amin under control. Tensions were building in the army and some in the UPC government felt Amin was becoming a threat to Obote. Obote, as usual, had been indecisive over this issue. But at the urging of Museveni and others, Obote ordered the arrest of Amin while the president was attending a Commonwealth summit in Singapore . Museveni, like Oyite Ojok, fled Uganda shortly after the coup because he knew Amin would have arrested him had he stayed around Uganda and keep him in jail like a rat.
Museveni also knew he had a case to answer over the murder of Okoya because he had been trying to pin the blame on Amin and now Amin was in power.
If Museveni killed Okoya and it was Okoya who had accused Amin of deserting Obote on the day of Obote’s escape from an assassination, then with Amin now in power there would have been nothing for Museveni to fear. If anything, Amin might have offered Museveni a prominent position in the new government and Museveni, with his well-known love for power would only too willingly have taken up such a position. Museveni who killed Amin’s chief critic Okoya could only have won himself Amin’s support. But you see a guilty man runs before they raise the alarm so Museveni fled immediately into exile. Let him explain the Okoya murder and you will see how his heart beats with fear and guilt.
Amin’s huge popularity
As we saw even before he took state power, Amin was too popular even from the reception he got at Makerere University on 7 Oct., 1970 when he accompanied the three East African presidents to the inaguration of the university. Amin’s taking of power on 25 Jan., 1971 had been greatly welcomed in the most heavily populated and most politically and economically populated part of Uganda , Buganda . Many hundreds of thousands of Baganda welcomed Amin’s coup to the extent that he could even be made a prince if he had wanted to. Removing the man who the Baganda never forgave for humiliating their late king, Edward Mutesa II and abolishing the kingdom they were so loyal to made the Baganda madly in love with Amin. Speaking during his first press conference to local and international journalists on 26 Jan., 1971, Amin warned the public against removing portraits from government offices and other public buildings previous leaders including that of Obote the leader he had just deposed. If it was him, Museveni would have called them swine and removed all the photos for sure! If these portraits were removed Amin said, “Then you will not be able to write the history of the country.”Amin even said that Obote was a good man “but he was wrongly advised by his selected and trusted people.” Everyone wondered when he said this! Amin appointed Ben Kanyanjeyo, from Ankole, as his Press Secretary. A student association founded during the Obote regime and regarded as a recruiting pool for youthful supporters of Obote, the National Union of Students of Uganda (NUSU), continued to exist even after Amin took power. At the time of the coup, the national president of NUSU was Omwony Ojwok. Even the UPC paper The People continued publication even after the coup up to 1973. Amin made Baganda mad with happiness on 31 March, 1971 by returning the body of Mutesa from London to Uganda where he was accorded a state funeral with full military honours. Amin came from the small Kakwa tribe in the West Nile near the border with Sudan . He was also from the minority Muslim faith. But overnight, by the Jan. coup and the return of the Kabaka’s body for re-burial, Amin had won the hearts of the tribe and people whose loyalty mattered the most in Uganda . He spoke Luganda, the language of the Baganda fluently. They even said his physique resembled a Muganda. In Aug. 1972, Amin announced that Ugandan Asians holding British passports would be given a month and a half to pack up and leave Uganda . They had refused to give up their British citizenship when the government ordered them to chose allegiance between Uganda or Britain .
The Asians from the Indian sub-continent controlled the economy of Uganda in the areas of retail and wholesale trade and their dominance was resented by indigenous Black Ugandans all over the country. With the announcement that these Asians were to be expelled, Amin’s popularity, already at its greatest in Buganda , now spread to the rest of the country, until Uganda was like a nightclub with dancing everywhere. Booze flowed like the River Nile and Lake Victoria . The expulsion of the Asians could even have been greater for Ugandans than the 1971 coup itself. This is because a Ugandan leader had shown the balls to deal with the resentment that Ugandans felt at having won independence but still dominated by the Indians whom they regarded as foreigners. A lecturer at Makerere University , Phares Mutibwa, in his 1992 book Uganda Since Independence, commented: “Praise of Amin was not confined to the Baganda or indeed to the African population; even some important members of the Asian community added their voices to the general euphoria at Amin’s emergence.” (Uganda Since Independence: A Story of Unfulfilled Hopes, Phares Mutibwa, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 1992, p. 84). Everything Amin did as president between 1971 and late 1972 was like a midas touch for the majority of Ugandans. He had been brought to power with British and Israeli support and was too popular in the West throughout 1971 and the first half of 1972. To make matters worse for the anti-Amin exile groups, in Sept. 1972 at the Munich Olympic Games, John Akii-Bua shocked everbody except himself by winning Uganda ‘s first Olympi gold medal in history. Akii-Bua’s victory was like the end of the world for sports lovers! It sparked off national celebrations like those at the time of the 1971 coup and independence celebrations in 1962.
Amin, a former East African heavyweight champion and keen sports lover embraced the Akii-Bua victory. Akii-Bua was given a new car a Peugeot 604 brand new and a house by the government, while a road in Nakasero was named in his honour. Many sports fans in the country gave credit to the president for this sports glory of Akii Bua because he loved sports.Amin was too popular in 1972 that he could even move without bodyguards like any other civilian.With such genuine support for Amin in Buganda and Uganda like wildfire, the anti-Amin groups based in Tanzania faced a serious challenge. Removing Amin was now going to be much more difficult than Uganda sending a man to the moon. Or Uganda manufaturing a car.
In March 1971, Museveni formed the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), a Marxist guerrilla group along with the four friends who had fled Uganda shortly after the coup. But before FRONASA, Museveni and six of his collagues operated a rebel group called “Commitee Seven” because it was made of seven people not because of Museveni’s name. Museveni was asked to be the liaison offier for Committee Seven in Tanzania because he knew Tanzania like the palm of his hand. But after some time Committee broke up and a new group called FRONASA was founded. FRONASA in its original form became redundant and then dead between March 1973 and Sept. 1976. Museveni got a part-time job in Aug. 1974 in Moshi in Tanzania . When FRELIMO came to power in Mozambique in 1975, Museveni says he sent 28 young men to the newly independent country for military training in the hope of inflitrating them back into Uganda . He taught development studies and economics at the Moshi Co-operative College and later moved to the capital Dar es Salaam in Sept. 1976. In Dar es Salaam , Museveni lived in a flat located a row or two overlooking another flat where Uganda ‘s future head of state Colonel Tito Okello lived. Museveni was given 50,000 U.S dollars by President Nyerere, who had developed interest in Museveni after Museveni claimed Nyerere was Bismark. Nyerere detested Amin and was determined to support any group or person who launched a campaign to oust Amin.
By 1972, FRONASA had 200 young recruits. The Africa Contemporary Record edited by scholar Colin Legum wrote about FRONASA: “It was formed in March 1971 by a group of Obote’s student supporters who felt that his policies of preparing for an orthodox army invasion of Uganda would not work…Obote did not disown them or their methods; nor did they disown Obote.” (Africa Contemporary Record, Annual Survey and Documents, 1972-73). The FRONASA manifesto was mailed from Kenya late in 1972 to sympathisers inside Uganda .
The manifesto had four main objectives:
1) To stop the senseless murder, rape and looting of the people of Uganda and all other forms of brutality; 2) to ensure an enlightened government for the people of Uganda that will guarantee peace, security and dignity and all other human rights as set down in the United Nations Charter of Human Rights; 3) to salvage what remains of the economy of Uganda and nurse it back to health; 4) to work relentlessly to improve the image of Uganda in the eyes of the world.
Museveni while in Tanzania had quickly moved to integrate himself in the Tanzanian intelligence community. He did so believing that Tanzanian intelligence was respected by Nyerere and had the president’s ear. Museveni also did this in order to gain the upper hand among the Ugandan exile community. He informed the Tanzanians of the activities of his fellow exiles and was also kept informed of the Ugandans’ plans and lifestyles. Already you can see how this Museveni of yours was as far back as that time. The man knew that in this militarised atmosphere of Tanzania and Uganda the ultimate decisions were always going to come from the military and he had to be within range of that power structure if his prospects in a future post-Amin Uganda were to be bright. That is how he has always been able to outsmart both his colleagues and his rivals. All along, Museveni had insisted that the best way to remove Amin was not by a direct military attack on Uganda . He instead favoured a gradual process which he described in Communist way as a “protracted people’s struggle” involving grassroots participation of the peasants and masses.
The ousted president Obote and most other exile groups favoured the approach of engaging Amin’s army in battle or launching a sudden invasion and hoping that the disgruntled Ugandan population would rise against Amin. Most people have asked as to why Museveni and Obote preferred different approaches to ousting Amin. It was Obote’s belief that the UPC as a party was still the most popular political group in Uganda inspite of Amin’s widespread popularity. The UPC might have lost much popularity in the central Buganda area and a few other places following the 1966 crisis and the abolition in 1967 of the kingdoms.
But by and large, the UPC was still organised and therefore to Obote it still enjoyed nationwide support. Therefore, the best way to oust Amin would be from Obote’s view to launch a surprise military strike and following it the population would rise up and Amin’s government would fall. How do we explain as to why was Museveni so serious on a protracted struggle against Amin, unlike the UPC and Obote who preferred a direct military invasion of Uganda in the hope that Ugandans would rise against the Amin government? Once you know Museveni’s obsession with power there is nothing surprising anymore. It was not like him to prefer to gradually build support in Uganda . There was another reason. Museveni who harboured political ambitions of his own recognised that he was an unknown factor in Ugandan politics. Nothing he could do at that stage could win him enough support across Uganda to make him president.This bitter truth disturbed him right up to the end of the 1970s. As we said earlier, he had expressed ambitions to one day be president of Uganda since his high school days. He never hid that ambition and in Tanzania it was burning as hot as ever. It was impossible that such an ambitious person could prefer a gradual process to oust Amin if an immediate and daring raid on Uganda could achieve that goal within a few days or weeks.
Explain how come he advocated the gradual approach?
Museveni was realistic enough about his chances to know that a strike at Amin’s regime followed by the downfall of the military government could only favour Obote. Instead of Amin, Obote would be the natural replacement since it was Obote’s government that Amin had overthrown. Uganda ‘s neighbours in the East African community, Kenya and Tanzania , would have supported Obote’s return, since that would restore the landscape in Uganda to what they were familiar with. Museveni was an unknown figure in Ugandan politics and it was unrealistic to imagine that Amin’s downfall would see Museveni chosen to succeed Amin. Museveni hoped to use a gradual struggle to undermine Obote’s support in Uganda , which he knew, as a former GSU intelligence officer, was widespread and was the real barrier standing in the way of Museveni’s ambitions. The removal of Amin, by itself, would be no consolation to Museveni if this returned Obote to power. An attack on Uganda by FRONASA guerrillas in conjunction with Kikosi Maluum a guerrilla force loyal to Obote was launched on 17 Sept., 1972. President Amin got to know beforehand of the invasion. He even knew the codeword they planned to use: “The Cow is about to Calve.” Museveni secretly passed the codeword on to Amin’s security so that the invasion would fail and he gets credit for opposing a military invasion. That is why most of Obote’s Kikosi Maluum suffered casualties when the attack was repulsed by government troops loyal to President Amin, but Museveni survived without even fighting.
What fighting did he do?
One of his friends Black Mwesigwa was so bitter with Museveni for betraying FRONASA and not doing actual fighting when the others in FRONASA were fighting. Little did Mwesigwa know that he was dealing with a snake. The Africa Contemporary Record reviewed this abortive invasion: “There were a number of miscalculations and mistakes on Obote’s side to account for the failure of the invasion. It came at a time when a strong current of popular support was running in Amin’s favour over the impending Asian exodus…Expectations that the invasion would lead to popular uprisings were not fulfilled.” (Africa Contemporary Record, Annual Survey and Documents, 1972-73, page. B277). Obote and his supporters in Tanzania had not understood how quickly the political climate had changed since Obote was last in power. They had not understood that Amin’s simple education and his public image as a jokster and simple-minded crowd pleaser resonated with the majority of Ugandans who could not relate with the academic socialist and pan-Africanist ideology of the former Obote government. Moreover the squence of events in Uganda and the moves taken by Amin to consolidate his first wave of support had revealed this army general to be much more alert and politically savvy than people expected. Museveni understood better than Obote what was going on in Uganda , hence his view that a gradual effort was what was needed to remove Amin from power. But we need to remember that Museveni also betrayed his own fighters to Amin’s army so that he could be seen to be special at predicting disaster.
How was FRONASA going to overcome the huge obstacle, namely Amin’s popularity?
How were they to convince enough Ugandans to start doubting Amin so they as FRONASA could achieve their goal of gaining power? In the history of Uganda this question is not explained. It is agreed that Amin was initially welcomed by huge crowds and was very popular, but within a few months, he turned against his people and began what is termed his “reign of terror”.For sure it seems people don’t care to ask as to why a leader who was enjoying such genuine support across much of the country, who traveled with only a handful of bodyguards should turn around and begin to terrorize the very people who had so welcomed him to power and continued to support him. The only reason to explain the terror that was going on in Uganda after late 1971 was that these were acts of sabotage by anti-Amin guerrilla groups. FRONASA, operating from Tanzania as well as inside Uganda , adopted a covert method to achieve its objectives. Most of the intellectual leaders of FRONASA like Eriya Kategaya and Augustine Ruzindana, Jack Maumbe Mukhwana did not know that Museveni was carrying out violent sabotage behind their back. This is a crucial part of Ugandan history known by very few people. Museveni was a plotting, far-sighted fellow. He was a non-drinker a non-smoker, and had no time for leisure. He sensed that regular political organisation and a conventional approach to politics would not work to his ends. He had to try something radically and horribly different.
What he did kept a top secret even from some of his senior commanders and political associates was to engage in covert activities that would undermine Amin’s international credibility while at the same time eliminating the challenges that Museveni would face in his quest for power. Thus the Museveni doctrine called for a process of elimination of rising to the top by bringing down those at the top. Becoming the only towering national figure by eliminating instead of competing against those who were also heavyweights. That’s what Museveni tried to do to Colonel Kizza Besigye in February 2001 when he hatched a plot to shoot down the plane carrying Besigye to a campaign stop in Ajumani, but it was aborted when Besigye’s campaign aide Okwir Rwabwoni insisted on being with Besigye. Okwir’s brother Noble Mayombo who was part of the plot pleaded with Museveni that he could not face his family if his brother was killed by the government and he was part of the plan.That is why there was a scuffle at Entebbe Airport as military police and military intelligence tried to seize Rwabwoni so he could escape the assassination. You can see how Museveni works when he spread the false story that Besigye intended to kill Rwabwoni and blame it on the NRM government.
Read more of this doument then you will be left wondering at what kind of man is Museveni. Museveni’s doctrine in 1971 was to be effected through political assassination. It was not mere assassination; the assassinations had to be carried out in such a way so as to achieve the maximum revulsion among the population and international opinion against Amin. A prominent Ugandan would be kidnapped, killed, mutilated in the most grisly way and then have this act leaked to the exile community as proof that Amin was a brutal dictator.
With its manifesto published, FRONASA settled down into full-time guerrilla work. Some of the original members of FRONASA were Raiti Omon’gin, Yoweri Museveni, James Karambuzi, Joseph Bitwari, Severino Kahinda Otafiire, Haruna Kibuye, Zubairi Bakari, Abbas Kibazo, Victor Amanya, Samuel Kagulire Kasadha, Jack Maumbe Mukhwana, Eriya Kategaya, David Kagoro, Yoga Adhola, Fred Rubereza Nkuranga, Ahmed Sseguya, Chefe Ali, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, Augustine Ruzindana, James Kanagwa, Abwoli Malibo, Rev. Fr. Christopher Okoth, Valeriano Rwaheru, Martin Mwesiga, William Mwesigwa a.k.a Mwesigwa Black, David Livingstone Ruhakana Rugunda. The field commander of the FRONASA military forces between 1976 and 1979 was Chefe Ali.
Museveni undermined the Amin government using agents he would place within the system. Recounting to the Sunday Monitor of 8 May, 2005 his experience of working for Amin, Professor Edward Rugumayo who was appointed Amin’s second minister of education in June 1971 recalled his first meeting with Museveni in Sept. 1972:
“Shortly before the invasion [of guerillas from Tanzania in Sept. 1972] [Ruhakana] Rugunda came to me with a person I had not known before. He introduced him to me as Museveni. I had never seen him before. We discussed a number of things. Then the next day Museveni came alone. We discussed a number of things like Who was Who in the army, who opposed the regime. He was interested in the army in particular.”
This was Museveni in his true form. He wanted to find out the centre of power in the army and who in the Amin government was disgruntled. And he did not want his colleague Ruhakana Rugunda to know what he was thinking and planning. This is why he came alone the second time to meet Rugumayo. Most of Museveni’s more intellectual colleagues in FRONASA were kept in the dark about what FRONASA really did. They remained convinced that it was an intellectual group resisting Amin’s rule. Had they taken the time to read Museveni’s written material, they would have realised that he was very differrent in outlook from them. Violence lay at the heart of his every mission.
Museveni’s doctrine of political violence
In that 1971 paper Fanon’s theory on violence: its verification in liberated Mozambique , Museveni outlined many of the political beliefs and military doctrines that would shape his career. The very title of the thesis, focusing on violence as a political instrument, begins to define him. On page 5 and 6 of the thesis, Museveni states: “This is the interpretation Fanon put on the role of the revolutionary struggle, whose highest form is armed violence, in the lives of former colonial subjects. This is what I wanted to test in one Sub-Saharan area. I used Nangade district of Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique , as my experimental area. Nangade district is in North-Eastern Mozambique. It is inhabited by a Bantu-speaking people, the Makonde. The Makonde, according to many reliable accounts, are fearless and brave people…But it is worth pointing out that the imperialists, and other bourgeois confusionists, have been spreading the lie that the Makonde are ‘the brave people of Mozambique’; that the other tribes like the Nyanjas ae soft people. This is a bankrupt way of looking at things. ” Museveni was saying in this paper that he went among the Makonde people and subjected them to brutal violence in order to test or prove his point that the idea of bravery or cowardice is not inherent, but rather borne of conditions to which people are subjected. What was this violence that Museveni put the people of Mozambique ‘s Nangade district through? He does spell it out in grisly detail on page 8 when he notes: “Hence in Mozambique, it has been found necessary to show peasants fragments of a Portuguese soldier blown up by a mine or, better still, his head. Once the peasant sees guerrillas holding the head of the former master, the white man’s head cold in death, the white skin, flowing hair, pointed nose and blue eyes notwithstanding, he will know, or at least begin to suspect, that the picture traditionally presented to him of the white man’s invincibility is nothing but a scarecrow.” If that is the way Museveni looked at the world in 1971, then it was going to be visible in his actions in Uganda in the following years.
Deaths of Martin Mwesiga, Valeriano Rwaheru, Raiti Omon’gin, and William (“Black”) Mwesigwa. It is generally well-known that some of Museveni’s best boyhood school friends were Mwesiga, Mwesigwa, and Rwaheru. Museveni himself has said that many times. They all died in the 1970s during their guerrilla struggle against Amin. Milton Obote claims that their deaths were mysterious, speculating that they knew Museveni well, were probably as ambitious as he was and therefore he had to get rid of them, seeing them as threats to his ambitions. We shall examine the circumstances of their deaths to acertain whether or not Obote’s claims are founded. During the invasion, one of Museveni’s closest friends, William (“Black”) Mwesigwa was killed. Museveni’s former colleague in the intelligence services, Picho Ali, wasalso arrested by Amin’s army and later killed for attempting to overthrow the government. Picho Ali, as was seen earlier in this narrative, was a constant thorn in Museveni’s side during their intelligence service days just before the Amin coup. Museveni felt humiliated and overshadowed by this very intelligent young man. There are several reasons for believing that Ali was betrayed by Museveni to Amin’s forces as a way of settling the scores between Museveni and Ali. Sources in the 1970s anti-Amin struggle have said that because Museveni had an insider relationship with Tanzanian intelligence, he was able to anticipate the moves being made by the other exile factions opposed by Amin and engaged in an armed struggle. Several times during the 1970s, several leading exiles like Ateker Ejalu, Major Patrick Kinumwe, and Robert Serumaga who headed armed groups attempted to invade Uganda from Kenya and Tanzania through Lake Victoria . But no matter what security precautions and what secrecy they tried to maintain, their plots were always uncovered and the boats and other landing crafts were more often than not bombed by the Ugandan army.
They could not understand or explain their unending misfortunes until after the end of the war against Amin in 1979. That was when agents in Museveni’s FRONASA force told them that all along, it was Museveni who would was learning of these plots through his contacts with Tanzanian intelligence and leaking them to his contacts in Amin’s intelligence. That is how Obote’s former information minister, Alex Ojera, another former minister Joshua Wakholi, and Picho Ali were captured by Amin’s forces in 1972, based on information secretly supplied to the Amin army by Museveni himself. More will be explained about this in the coming sections of this document.
This is how Mwesigwa met his death.
In Sowing the Mustard Seed, Museveni mentions the death of Mwesigwa on page 71. It occurred during the abortive September 1972 invasion of Uganda from Tanzania :
“The whole invasion experience had been very traumatic for our movement and there were many recriminations…I was accused of militarism, dictatorial tendencies, and so on.
Of course I felt a sense of personal responsibility since about half of the people in my platoon were killed, including my good friend Mwesigwa Black. At first I thought that perhaps I should not have associated myself with the plan; but as soon as I reflected on that, I realised that such a course of action would have been totally unhelpful to us.” In this passage, Museveni casually mentions the death of one of his closest friends going back to secondary school, a friend who was with him right to the end. It is hard to believe that the death of someone who presumably meant so much to Museveni could be stated in a single line, before Museveni returned to trying to justify the course of action he had taken. In later years, people from families close to both Museveni and that of Mwesigwa remarked at how indifferently and, to some degree, even cruelly Museveni treated Mwesigwa’s son when this young man approached him for assistance once he had assumed the presidency. Mwesigwa would have been a senior member of Museveni’s fighting section because of his education and courage. And yet we are told by Museveni that Mwesigwa was killed in action in Mbarara. Doubts about the circumstances of Mwesigwa’s death gain credulence when the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Museveni’s other friends are examined. In Sowing The Mustard Seed, Museveni explains the deaths of Mwesiga and Rwaheru starting on page 78 under the sub heading “Tragedy in Mbale” which happened shortly after Museveni says he re-entered Uganda in Dec. 1972. According to Museveni, Mwesiga was killed in the eastern Ugandan town of Mbale . Judging by the flow of events he outlines in his book, Mwesiga died either very late in Dec. 1972 or Jan. 1973. Museveni narrates: “Martin Mwesiga, [Wukwu Mpima] Kazimoto and I travelled to Mbale to join the group, without knowing that its presence had been detected…As we were driving away, we saw a suspicious-looking Peugeot 404 coming out of a nearby road, but we continued on our way to Mbale. When we got to Mbale town the same Peugeot pulled up alongside our car for a few seconds and then drove off…At around 5:00 p.m., we saw a contingent of about 15 military policemen coming through the estate….They surrounded the house in an unprofessional manner, without cocking their guns.I had the car keys and one of the soldiers, poking a rifle into my side, told me to open and enter the car. Taking them by surprise I jumped over the hedge.”
Museveni then narrates how he escaped from the soldiers pursuing him while his unfortunate colleagues were killed.
The story so far is believable, even though it remains to be explained how in that tense and fear-filled atmosphere of the siege, Museveni could have been able to tell that all 15 military policemen had “in a very unprofessional manner” not bothered to cock their guns. These are the same soldiers of Amin whom Museveni in another context would have been sure to describe as trigger-happy, willing to shoot innocent civilians at a moment’s notice, presumably suggesting that they went about with their guns cocked. Museveni also tells of how “taking them by surprise”, he jumped over the hedge. If these were violent soldiers who, as Museveni would have it, shot innocent civilians on sight without provocation, how much more would they have shot on sight anybody in or around that house they suspected of being a guerrilla.As such, Museveni could not have taken them by surprise. They had come to arrest or kill the suspected guerrillas and there could have been no surprise whether in the overall sense of knowing what they had come to achieve or in the sense of somehow relaxing once they got to the house and forgetting to keep their guns trained on Museveni. Museveni next tells of how that evening after the incident he was walking near the Mbale army barracks when he met a young man walking in the opposite direction “who asked where I was going.”
He continues: “I told him that I was going to town to catch a bus to Kampala . Who was I, he wanted to know? I told him that I was a student, and he advised me very strongly not to proceed any further in that direction. I should instead go back where I had come from. When I asked him why, he told me that some guerrillas had fought a battle with some soldiers in the town. Two of the soldiers and two of the guerrillas had been killed but one of the guerrillas had escaped. It was then that I realised that my two colleagues , Martin Mwesiga and Wukwu ‘Kazimoto’ Mpima had been killed.”
A sister of Mwesiga’s, Margaret Kyogire, told a Ugandan newspaper 30 years later that during all that fateful day her brother had been cheerful and relaxed while Museveni was quiet, pensive, and tense. Secondly, Museveni gives a most unconvincing explanation of the brief chat he had with the young stranger later that evening. Considering the danger he had just escaped and not knowing what had happened to his friends after his narrow escape, Museveni would not have been heading back towards the barracks to find out what had happened to them. Or if he did so, he would hardly have entered a casual conversation with a strange man in that area at 7:00 p.m., with the sun having gone down and darkness setting in. And when the stranger asked who he was, Museveni claims on page 80 of his book that he replied that he was a student. On page 79, Museveni had mentioned that in a discussion just prior to his escape he had wanted to open fire on the military policemen but “Martin Mwesiga, however, dissuaded me, arguing that, firstly, we had student identity cards…”
If they had student identity cards, it is definite that after Mwesiga and Mpima were shot dead, their bodies were searched by the military police for clues about who they were, what they were doing in that house in Mbale and whom the friend who had escaped might be. All through the first pages of Sowing The Mustard Seed, Museveni is at pains to elaborate on his exceptional instincts, his quick sense of judgement in all sorts of situations and how these qualities have helped him survive endless danger. Bearing in mind all that, how would he the ultimate survivor have risked his life by talking to this stranger, especially when the stranger began asking the sorts of questions that would have put Museveni on guard? This man tells Museveni what had happened and just so happens to be speaking unknowingly to the one guerrilla who managed to get away. In his narration, Museveni does not say what effect it had on him that this young man who was inadvertently saving his life was also unaware that he was speaking to the guerrilla who had just made a dramatic escape. The usually suspicious and resolute Museveni is unconvincing when he tells us that he acted on a total stranger’s advice to turn around and simply walk back toward the place he was coming from without for a moment wondering who this stranger might be. He could have been a spy, a soldier in plain clothes, or a friendly and well-meaning citizen and Museveni would have wondered whether he might be lured into an ambush.That is what makes Museveni’s version of the story hard to believe.
As for Rwaheru’s death, which took place shortly after Mwesiga’s, there is also in that story an element of distortion as well from the way it is given to us by Museveni.Museveni narrates it on page 84 of his book:
“A few days after [Daniel] Kangire’s arrest, at around 11:00 a.m., while Rwaheru was at Kyambogo with [James] Karuhanga, a platoon of Amin’s soldiers surrounded the house. Karuhanga, who was in the sitting-room, was arrested and told to show the security men around. Meanwhile, Rwaheru had locked himself in the bedroom and when the soldiers failed to open the door, they demanded that Karuhanga tell them who was inside. Karuhanga told them that it was his wife who had been frightened by their coming to the house. Meanwhile, Rwaheru climbed on to a bed, cut the ventilator netting over the door and lobbed a stick-grenade into the midst of the soldiers who were crowded into the corridor of the house….Karuhanga fled into the toilet and locked the door. The grenade exploded, killing all the men in the corridor. Rwaheru then opened the bedroom door and lobbed another grenade into the sitting-room, killing more of the enemy. In all he killed eleven of them. Unfortunately, when he was preparing to throw a third grenade, it exploded in his hands and killed him.
James Birihanze a graduate of literature from Dar es Salaam University , had also been in the house that day, but we have never been able to find out what happened to him as his body was not recovered from there. He may have run out of the house wounded and died in another place. After bringing reinforcements, and realising Rwaheru was dead, Amin’s thugs entered the house and got Karuhanga out of the toilet where he had hidden himself. In March 1973 Karuhanga was publicly executed in front of his parents in Mbarara.” A vivid account, no doubt.
What Museveni does not tell us is how he, who was nowhere near the scene, got to know all these details about what happened that day. All the guerrillas in the house that day — Karuhanga, Rwaheru, Birihanze — died without speaking to Museveni or their relatives. Had Karuhanga the sole survivor told anyone the story of what happened that day, it could only have been to the army or the intelligence services under interrogation.
Even then, Karuhanga would not have known what was going on in the locked bedroom where Rwaheru was hiding. Nor would Karuhanga, who was locked up in the toilet, have seen how the grenade killed Rwaheru. There is no way Museveni could have learned of what happened in enough detail to describe what happened to Rwaheru, who had locked himself inside a bedroom, climbing “on to a bed.” Certainly under the circumstances of complete destruction by grenades, Museveni would have had no way of knowing how it was that a third grenade exploded in Rwaheru’s hands and not, say, in his pocket, the floor, or on a nearby table. None at the scene escaped alive to tell the story. And yet Museveni gives the sort of detail that only an eye witness could have. How did Museveni come to know all these details, if he was not there that day or not distorting what happened? How, given this clear distortion, are we to believe in the first place that these men died on the day, in the place, and in the manner described by Museveni? Eleven soldiers were killed by Rwaheru and yet Museveni says the army brought in reinforcements. This can only mean that there were some soldiers who took part in the action who went back to their barracks and returned with other soldiers. There is, regardless, a small detail that is most questionable. Museveni says “After bringing reinforcements, and realising Rwaheru was dead, Amin’s thugs entered the house and got Karuhanga out of the toilet where he had hidden himself.” If Rwaheru was accidentally blown up by the grenade he was holding in his hands while inside the house, then his shattered body would have been where he was blown apart, inside the house. Therefore the correct sequence of events would have been that the soldiers first entered the house and then realised that Rwaheru was dead, not first realised that Rwaheru was dead and then entered the house.
Clearly, Museveni is not telling the truth in his narration of the death of his friends. This makes it difficult to believe much of what else he has to say in his book about some of the other colleagues who were close to him, were outspoken, and who somehow died during the 1970s. If on the other hand Museveni’s description of what happened to Rwaheru is accurate, then it seems to follow that Museveni was working at this stage with government intelligence agents and might even have directed them to the house where his friends and fellow guerillas were staying. These intelligence agents would then have briefed him on what had happened. It lends credence to Obote’s claim that Museveni had a direct hand in the death of his equally ambitious comrades. In April 1990, Obote published a paper titled Notes on Concealment on Genocide in Uganda .
Under section 32 of the Notes titled “The Real Museveni” Obote gives this assessment of his former protégée:
“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…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…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 Mwesigwa Black, Raiti Omongin, Miss V. Rwaheru (Museveni’s housekeeper) and Martin Mwesiga.
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 Feb. 1973. One of those present when Margaret gave this account was Enoka Muntuyera, the father of the present Commander of the NRA, Major General [Gregory Mugisha] 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.”
We pause here to assess what Obote claimed.
Obote quoted Mwesiga’s sister named Margaret Kyogire as saying on each occasion that she asked about her brother “Museveni gave her a different version of where Mwesiga was.” The last version he gave her confirming Mwesiga’s death appears to be the one about a battle in Mbale in Feb. 1973. In the account Museveni gives in his autobiography that has already been discussed, Mwesiga’s death would have occurred late in Dec. 1972 or at the latest, sometime in Jan. 1973, not Feb. 1973 as he told Kyogyire. As has been stated and made clear already, Museveni is regarded, even by his enemies, as possessing an extraordinary memory and can recall events and places in minute detail. Museveni, according to Obote, told Mwesiga’s sister Kyogire that Mwesiga died in Feb. 1973 but Enoka Muntuyera and “another Ugandan” had told Mwesiga’s sister that they had stayed in the same hotel in Tabora as Museveni and Mwesiga in April 1973, confirming that Mwesiga was alive after the Mbale incident. Museveni and Mwesiga even came together to Makerere University in mid 1973 to visit Museveni’s half-sister Violet who was staying at a flat of a British lecturer. As for Raiti Omon’gin, the truth about his death sheds further light on the death of Mwesiga. Omon’gin, from Karamoja, had been a UPC Youth League leader in the early 1960s. He got involved in the anti-Amin struggle shortly after the 1971 coup. According to Museveni, Omon’gin died or disappeared in Sept. 1972 during the guerrilla invasion of Mbarara. This is the way he explains it:
“Although nobody had fired at us during this encounter, I lost not only my driver but also a few others of our comrades, including Raiti Omongin, who simply fled into the valley and across the opposite hill. We shouted after them but they did not return. I kept hoping they would find their way back to us, but we did not see them again.” (Sowing The Mustard Seed, p. 66)
Having just explained the disappearance of Omon’gin on page 66 and giving the impression that he lost contact with Omon’gin, Museveni goes on in the very next page to contradict himself. Here on page 67, he gives another version of the death of Omon’gin:
“We stayed in the forest until 2:00 p.m., resting and reflecting on our losses, while Amin’s soldiers randomly lobbed shells at us with light mortars. Many of my comrades, not to mention Obote’s supporters, had either been killed or lost in the stampede created by the 106mm gun in the morning.
These included close comrades such as Mwesigwa Black, Raiti Omongin, Kahunga Bagira, and others who were all subsequently captured and killed by Amin’s troops in the days that followed.” (Sowing The Mustard Seed, p. 67)
Having first stated that Omon’gin simply disappeared, Museveni now positively affirms that Omon’gin and others were captured and killed by Amin’s troops.
How he came to confirm that Omon’gin was captured and killed, Museveni does not explain. Margaret Kyogyire traveled to Dar es Salaam from Arusha in 1974 to seek Obote’s help in getting her other brother, Sam Magara, into Dar es Salaam University .
In Obote’s house that day was another Ugandan, Enoka Muntuoyera.
During their conversation, Margaret Kyogyire told Milton Obote that Museveni killed Omon’gin. She said that her brother Martin Mwesiga had told her that he witnessed Museveni shooting Omin’gin. According to Kyogyire, Valeriano Rwaheru’s sister Hope was also present when the shooting took place. At that time, Hope was Museveni’s live-in girlfriend. Museveni later departed with both Mwesiga and Hope and nothing has ever been heard about the two again.
Writing in The Monitor newspaper on 8 Feb., 2004, Yoga Adhola, a UPC member but who for a time had joined FRONASA, recalled a meeting of a few radical Ugandan exiles in Nairobi in 1975: “Something else to note happened at this meeting. At the end of the meeting, the chairman called for the customary any other business (AOB). Museveni who was seated just next to me, on my left, raised his hand to speak. ‘There is this question of the death of Raiti Omon’gin.’ Museveni said. ‘People say I killed Raiti Omon’gin. Yoga here can defend me on this issue…’
‘No. I cannot,’ I interrupted him.”
Museveni’s statement here confirms that rumours regarding his hand in Omon’gin’s death had already become well known.
Secondly, the fact of these rumours and Museveni’s failure during this Nairobi meeting to state that Omon’gin had been killed by Amin’s army — as he would later claim in his book Sowing The Mustard Seed — confirm that Omon’gin was murdered by somebody other than Amin’s army.
Thirdly, Adhola’s blunt refusal to speak for Museveni and defend him during that meeting regarding Omon’gin’s death, indicates that Adhola and some other people believed or at least suspected that Museveni murdered Omon’gin.
The inconsistencies in Museveni’s account of what happened to his close friends in the guerrilla struggle are glaring enough to do more than simply question his history- and story-telling skills.
Writing in a Ugandan newspaper, the Daily Monitor on 4 July, 2005, Francis A.W. Bwengye, a lawyer, former head of the Uganda Freedom Movement guerrilla group and a former presidential candidate in the 2001 presidential election, observed:
“For a long time…Museveni and his colleagues…have been feeding Ugandans on quite a number of stories as to how the armed resistance…started, how it was fought, who fought where and who killed who.
In some instances cold-blooded murders and political assassinations have been blamed on those who never committed them, or circumstances regarding them have been intentionally distorted or covered up to escape the long arm of the law or future vengeance of the followers and relatives of the victims.
Even Sowing The Mustard Seed by…Museveni, a book that would have been a source…of information…generally left out certain scenarios, situations, and unexplained events.” (emphasis added)
Given what Bwengye said about Museveni’s tendency to distort the history in which he is an actor, Museveni’s explanation of the mysterious disappearanes of practically all his close friends presents a disturbing insight into the motives and mind of the real Museveni.
[4.129] “And you have it not in your power to do justice between wives, even though you may wish (it), but be not disinclined (from one) with total disinclination, so that you leave her as it were in suspense; and if you effect a reconciliation and guard (against evil), then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” — The Holy Qur’an
How Museveni met Janet Kataha
By 1972, as Obote mentioned, Museveni was living with Hope, sister of Valeriano Rwaheru. For all intents and purposes, Hope was his wife. Living in the same house — presumably to share the cost of rent, since they were refugees — was another couple, Black Mwesigwa and his wife Janet Kataha. After Museveni murdered Mwesigwa, he started to befriend Mwesigwa’s wife, Janet Kataha. Here, it is unclear whether he murdered Mwesigwa because the equally ambitious Mwesigwa was a potential rival within their guerrilla group or because Museveni sought to get Janet for himself. Nevertheless, he and Janet became close. Janet started to view herself as Museveni’s rightful mate and began to pressure him to explain as to how come if he was devoted to her he stuck his guns with Hope.As already explained, according to sources close to these four people in 1972 Museveni killed Hope because she, along with Martin Mwesiga, was an eye witness to Museveni’s murder of Raiti Omon’gin. Following Hope’s murder, Museveni and Janet Kataha gradually grew closer and became more or less wife. But Museveni had got a child with Hope, a boy named Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Museveni and Janet would later have three daughters: Natasha Kainembabazi, Patience Kokundeka, and Diana Karemire. If this is how he dealt with the colleagues, friends, and even wife closest to him and with whom he endured the greatest uncertainty, took the greatest risks, and shared the deepest hopes, how would he deal with his enemies? It is clear from what we have discussed that Museveni is not what he has passed himself off to be for all these years.
But who is he?
The answer to this question, once understood, casts a dark and frightening shadow over Uganda and the Central African region.
Idi Amin’s reign of terror
The massacre of Acholi and Langi solders, 1971
Following the 1971 coup, telexes were sent and phone calls made to Acholi and Langi pilots and technicians who had been sent for training abroad and were out of the country at the time of the coup. The messages urged to return home immediately. Soon after returning, they were massacred or disappeared one by one.
Allegations were made by the Ugandan exile community in Tanzania that between 4,000 and 5,000 Acholi and Langi officers and men had been massacred through much of 1971 following the Jan. coup. Amin in responding to questions about the killing of Langi and Acholi officers, always denied involvement and blamed atrocities on guerrillas backed by Obote who were based in Tanzania . On 12 Oct., 1971, the Uganda Argus newspaper published a front-page interview of Amin in which he refuted an interview given to the British Broadcasting Corporation by Naphtali Akena Adoko, the former director of intelligence, in which Adoko said three-quarters of the pre-coup army had been killed. Said Amin: “I will say that a few soldiers were killed during the military takeover in exchanges of fire while they were defending themselves from each other.” On 18 Feb., 1972, the Uganda government issued a statement further denying the allegations. The statement said that there were only 6,000 soldiers in the Uganda Armed Forces at the time of the military coup. “This is common knowledge and needs no elaboration or proof,” the statement read. It added:
“It would not have been possible for 4,000 to 5,000 Langi and Acholi to have been overpowered and annihilated as claimed by a mere 1,000 troops comprising the balance of the armed forces….
It has been claimed that the only survivors of the original 4,000 to 5,000 Langi and Acholi soldiers are the 23 men alleged to have escaped massacre at Mutukula and fled to Tanzania . This allegation is yet another example of how the facts have been falsified. Within the Mubende battalion alone with a total strength of 1,400 troops, there are today 973 Langi and Acholi soldiers. Some of these troops have been in the army for upwards of twenty years…Furthermore, many of them have recently been promoted to senior ranks and appointed to responsible posts throughout the Uganda Armed Forces. To mention but a few: Lt. Colonel Mwaka, Major Tarensio Okello, Major [Pangalasio] Onek who incidentally was the parade adjutant during the recent celebrations of the first anniversary of the Second Republic; Captain Odur, Alele, etc.”
The government is not aware of the thousands of persons that are alleged to have disappeared since the establishment of the Second Republic . A number of persons that were presumed dead or missing at the time of the military take-over have turned out to be the very persons who have either been writing back to their colleagues or friends in Uganda or who have since joined the ranks of guerrillas and are actively campaigning against the government of Uganda. There is ample evidence that some of these persons paraded at Pangale as escapees from Mutukula prison. Oyite-Ojok who claims to be their rebel leader has in the past year been writing numerous letters to members of the Uganda Armed Forces with the sole intention of destroying their morale and pitting them against the government of Uganda…There is obvious similarity between the contents of Oyite-Ojok’s letters and the reports of the stage-managed interviews which have appeared recently in the Tanzania Standard.”
Yet even as hundreds of thousands of people continued to support the new military government and Amin remained popular, rumours were beginning to spread countrywide that this 6ft. 4in. giant of a leader was, in fact, a murderer of a cold-blooded and bone-chilling kind. In mid 1971, there were reports that Amin had carried out a purge of Acholi and Langi officers and men in the Uganda army, having thousands of them massacred and secretly buried in western Uganda . As these reports of the gruesome massacre of Acholi and Langi officers in Mbarara’s Simba battalion barracks continued to circulate in Kampala, two Americans, a journalist and an heir to a United States brewery fortune Nicholas Stroh, 33, and a Sociology professor at Makerere University, Robert L. Siedle, 48, decided to investigate the reports and traveled to Mbarara town. On 5 July, Stroh cabled the Washington Star newspaper and informed the paper that he intended to investigate allegations of massacres of Acholi and Langi army officers and men in the Simba Battalion barracks in Mbarara in late June. Stroh and Sidle drove to Mbarara and checked into the Ankole Government Rest House on 7 July, 1971. Captain C.E. Mukasa, a former adjutant at the Simba Battalion barracks who was later transferred to the Office of the President, said Stroh had visited the barracks on 7 July, two days before Siedle and he disappeared. Captain Mukasa advised Stroh to make an appointment and meet the commanding officer of the battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Waris Ali the next day at 10:00 a.m. Mukasa said Stroh told him that he had contacted senior government officials regarding his proposed investigation, including the acting chief of staff of the army, Lieutenant-Colonel Valentine Ochima. According to Mukasa, Stroh said Ocima had told Stroh to “go ahead” with the investigations. On 8 July, the two Americans told the caretaker of the Rest House, Isaac Kamya, that they were going to Kikagati near the Tanzania border to see what was happening there.
They then returned from Kikagati and back to the Rest House and then, according to Kamya’s testimony given in 1972, they went to an undisclosed destination. A cook at the Rest House, Muhamud Kawooya, said that on 9 July, Siedle was picked up by four men wearing shirts that looked like army uniform. The account best known to the public and in the history books is that the two Americans were last seen alive on the night of 7 July, 1971 as they entered Mbarara’s Simba battalion barracks where they were murdered.
Amin and his soldiers were blamed for the murder of these Americans which they committed allegedly to cover up the massacres of the Acholi and Langi. From the eye witness accounts quoted above, we see that the two Americans were actually alive even on 8 July. David Martin, a correspondent for London ‘s Observer newspaper and author of the 1973 book General Amin, interviewed a former officer in Amin’s army who had since fled into exile in Tanzania . He was named as Lieutenant Silver Tibahika. He was from the Bakiga tribe in southwestern Uganda , although he lived in Mbarara. The interview, published in London’s Observer newspaper on 9 April, 1972, had Tibahika claiming that Stroh and Siedle were murdered in the Mbarara barracks by two Muslim officers, one Colonel Ali and one Major Juma. The Africa Contemporary Record reported Tibahika’s testimony this way:
“He gave a detailed account of how they [Stroh and Siedle] had been murdered. [Tibahika] put the blame on [Lieutenant-Colonel] Waris Ali and [Major] Said Juma, and precisely located where the car [a Volkswagen Beetle owned and driven by Stroh] could be found.” (Africa Contemporary Record, ibid., page B280) this way: ” Record reported Tibhika’ . Tibahika, speaking from Tanzania , described this further detail to the Observer of what happened to the Americans: “They had been slashed to death with pangas [machettes], then burned, and the remains buried in a nearby bush to be later exhumed and thrown into a river. Their car was burnt and then later taken to Mountains of the Moon, 250 miles northwest of Kampala . There a party of school children found it and Judge Jones and his assistants identified it from the number plates and parts of the chassis. Nicholas Stroh was killed because he was so proud.”
On the surface of it, it would appear that Lt. Tibahika’s narration matches the facts as they happened.There is, but, a problem with the reliability of the facts. Firstly, Tibahika told the Observer that “Nicholas Stroh was killed because he was so proud.” This goes directly against the generally held view that the Americans were murdered by the Amin regime in order to suppress the findings of their investigations into the massacre of thousands of Acholi and Langi soldiers. Secondly, a separate report on what happened to Stroh and Siedle was given, contradicting Tibahika’s claims. A former Ugandan army officer, who spoke anonymously, gave the International Herald Tribune newspaper of 3 Sept. and 4, 1977 “detailed evidence” of how the two Americans had been “slaughtered” in Mbarara barracks. This officer said the two men who murdered Stroh and Siedle were Captain Stephen Taban, who was the chief technical officer in the Uganda Airforce, and Colonel Dusman Sabuni, who later became Amin’s minister of Industry and Power. If we bear in mind that Lt. Tibahika gave a “detailed account” of how the two men died and who killed them, and yet here was another former Ugandan army officer giving directly contradictory but supposedly “detailed evidence” about the same incident, it creates the problem of how credible the two claims were. A further element in this story must be borne in mind: Tibahika was, like Museveni, from western Uganda and most of the core of FRONASA were from the western part of the country. Furthermore, it introduces the question of either misinformation about the facts or perhaps even brings into question the whole basis for pinning the blame on the two men’s deaths on the Amin regime. To complicate matters even further, President Amin commissioned an inquiry into the circumstances of the two Americans’ deaths. A British-born judge, David Jeffreys Jones, headed the inquiry. He left the country for Kenya but posted his report to Uganda from the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa .
Solid proof of Tibahika’s background that enforces this point, came on 25 May, 1972 during the hearings into the two murders. On that day, Lieutenant-Colonel Ali defended himself against Tibahika’s accusations that it was Ali who had ordered the murders: Ali said Tibahika had worked under him before he was sent to Makindye military police prison in Kampala . Ali also revealed that Tibahika was once a member of the now disbanded General Service Unit of the 1960s. (The People, 26 May, 1972) Titled “Commission of Inquiry into the Missing Americans Messrs Stroch and Siedle held at the Conference Room, Parliament House”, part of which read: “From paragraphs 9 and 10 of the [Tibahika] affidavit, it is obvious that the two Americans died an unnatural death. They were in fact murdered by personnel of the Simba Batalion of the Uganda Armed Forces. The culprits included the [Commanding Officer Mbarara] Waris Ali, his second in command Major Said Juma, Lt. Silver Tibahika, and Stephen Taban.”
By the way, Tibahika was mentioned in the report as one of the killers of the two Americans and yet in his interview with David Martin of the Observer, Tibahika had pointed the blame at Ali and Juma. Jones also named as one other culprit Ali Fadhul who as a brigadier Amin would later name his Minister of Provincial Administrations. Three different sets of people were separately accused of murdering the Americans. In all three instances, the evidence given was “detailed” and seemed to have been from credible eye witnesses to the murders. Tibahika claimed that Major Juma owned a Volkswagen Beetle car while Ali said Juma actually owned a Datsun. How could all three versions of the story appear to be authoritative and yet they were completely in conflict with each other? The only constants in the story are that two Americans were murdered and that the murders took place in Mbarara’s Simba battalion barracks. This conflict in the versions can only be explained when subversion and sabotage by an exile group or guerrilla force is factored in as spreading these accounts as part of their disinformation campaign.
On 25 May, 1972, Lieutenant-Colonel Ali gave perhaps the most damning fact of all about Tibahika: “Later, he [Ali] said, he [Ali] learned that Lt. Silver [Tibahika] had run away, but he did not know any reason why Lt. Silver decided to ran to Tanzania…He did not know why Lt. Silver is trying to involve him into this matter of the two missing men.” (The People, 26 May, 1972) We should ask the most important question: if Waris Ali, Said Juma, Stephen Taban, Silver Tibahika, and Ali Fadhul were all implicated in the murder of the two Americans by Judge Jones’ report, explain as to why is it only Tibahika who fled into exile shortly after the report was published and not any of the other men? Convince us as to why did Tibahika go into exile in Tanzania when his name was mentioned in Judge Jones’ report as one of the accomplices to murder, unless he knew that he was in friendly territory in Tanzania? Tibahika later returned to Uganda in 1979 as part of Museveni’s Tanzanian-backed FRONASA fighting force during the war to remove Idi Amin’s government. This, more than anything else, suggests that FRONASA killed the two Americans on orders of FRONASA’s leader, Yoweri Museveni. From Colonel Ali’s statement about Tibahika’s past as a GSU agent — an intelligence agency Museveni once worked for and from the inference drawn so far — it is clear that Tibahika was probably a FRONASA saboteur assigned to the Amin army but working secretly with Museveni to undermine Amin from within the army.
A piece of evidence that proves that Museveni knew and was in touch with Tibahika is found in Museveni’s own book Sowing The Mustard Seed, on page 51:
“During my stay in Bukoba [in northwest Tanzania ] I made trips with Ojok to the Ugandan border trying to make contact with the people inside the country. We went to Murongo to wait for a Lt. Silver, for whom I had earlier left a message in Mbarara, but he failed to turn up. After waiting fruitlessly for some time, Ojok said that he knew a policeman at Kikagati who might be of some help.” This clear link between Museveni and Tibahika naturally suggests that FRONASA was the hand behind the murder of the majority of Acholi and Langi army officers in 1971, and not Amin as has been widely assumed. Tibahika might well have been the killer of the two Americans and was trying in his testimonies made in exile to put the blame on Amin’s army. Notes found in Stroh’s car had details of interviews conducted by the two Americans with eye witnesses to the killing of 160 Acholi army officers in late June. If Tibahika and therefore FRONASA were involved in the murder of the two Americans, it follows that they were killed to hide the evidence of the murder of the 160 Acholi officers, the testimony of eye witnesses to which was contained in the notes discovered in Stroh’s car. It would have been the natural tactical move by a ruthless guerrilla like Museveni. But having done a mediocre work of it, they ended up with conflicting versions of the story. Museveni knew perfectly well that the death or even disappearance of just two Americans would be enough to swing the U.S. state machinery into action and if an accusing finger could be successfully pointed at Amin, this would achieve FRONASA’s goal much better than a month of fighting on the battlefield. The full facts and significance of this method of planting FRONASA agents in institutions for them to sabotage the government from within will be explored when we come to what happened in the 1980s in Uganda under the second Obote administration.
On 11 July, 1971, in another denial of involvement in the murder of Acholi and Langi soldiers, there was a departure from simple denials by the president. During a state visit by Amin and the First Lady Sarah Mariam Kibedi Amin to London at the invitation of the then British Prime Minister Edward Health, two days of riots broke out in the Simba battalion barracks in Mbarara protesting at the harassment of Acholi and Langi soldiers.The riots spread to the Moroto barracks in northeast Uganda and to Magamaga barracks in Uganda’s second largest town Jinja where the unrest was at its most intense. Two days later on 13 July, 1971, the acting army commander, Lt. Colonel Charles Arube, said in a statement that guerrillas had attacked several army units and killed 17 soldiers. On 14 July, 1971, President Amin issued a statement in London in which he said Mozambican-trained guerrillas and Tanzanian troops had attacked Jinja and Moroto on 11 July and 12. Amin added that three Chinese advisors had participated in the attacks.
Some analysis is required here.
If it is true that there was an uprising across the country in protest at the killing of Acholi and Langi officers and men, at the very least it shows two things: either the Ugandan army was still made up of troops from many different tribes. As such, these tribesmen were angry and shocked at the killing of their comrades and this led them to rise up in protest. That in itself suggests then that Amin’s army was truly a national army, representing the broad section of the country’s ethnic makeup. This would make it a professional army and not a band of “thugs” as Museveni and other opponents of Amin tried to make it appear. Or alternatively, if Amin’s opponents were correct in arguing that from the beginning Amin was eliminating the Christian Acholi and Langi tribesmen from the army in gruesome massacres and replacing them with Muslim Nubian, Sudanese, and West Nile tribesmen who were loyal to him, then by mid 1971 the army had taken on this new ethnic composition. If the army was now dominated by Amin’s illiterate Muslim West Nile and Nubian tribesmen, it leaves open the question of who then it was that was rioting and protesting the purging of the Acholi and Langi from the army. If it was these Sudanese, Nubians and Amin’s own tribesmen from the Lugbara and Kakwa who were rioting, it reveals something very important. It shows that these soldiers from Amin’s tribe and the others from Sudan , far from being vicious killers and indisciplined thugs as we were made to believe, were in fact patriotic, well-behaved, sensitive, humane people who were hurt that Amin was killing their fellow soldiers just because they happened to be from Obote’s tribe.
To see it either which way presents a problem for Museveni’s version of history. In the preamble to their manifesto, FRONASA laid all the blame for what was taking place in Uganda on Idi Amin and his army: “While the people go short of items from salt to medicine the army has all it requires. General Amin has let the army loose among the people where they have gone on a spree of rape, murder and looting. The most barbarous soldiers have been the ones most highly rewarded with promotions. The death toll currently stands at 83,000, a figure representing a cross-section of the population of Uganda .” The FRONASA manifesto states in its preamble that “While the people go short of items from salt to medicine the army has all it requires.” In the very next sentence, FRONASA charges that “General Amin has let the army loose among the people where they have gone on a spree of rape, murder and looting.” Obviously the authors of the FRONASA manifesto were not alert to the contradiction and dishonesty in their claim Sincerely if FRONASA stated, the Uganda army had “all it requires”, convince us as to why would Amin let the same well-paid well-facilitated army loose on a population which up to that time still supported Amin? Sincerely why should someone risk losing all that support when the army that had all that it required and was happy with the way things were and therefore there was no need for the president to divert its attention by unleashing it loose on the population?
Sincerely things do not add up!
And now in July 1971 we see this army rioting, not against the civilian population, not rioting over a lack of food or over delayed wages, but rioting in support of the very Acholi and Langi soldiers that such a brutal army would have been eager to eliminate. The events started with the murder of Americans Siedle and Stroh, then turned into riots protesting the massacre of the Acholi and Langi, and finally with Amin and the army commander saying that the army had been attacked this time not by guerrillas loyal to Obote, but by Mozambican-trained guerrillas.Who would these guerrillas be who were trained in Mozambique, possibly backed by Tanzania and backed up by Chinese advisors? Who else but the FRONASA guerrillas led by Yoweri Museveni! Furthermore, if Amin’s army was protesting the killing of soldiers from Northern Uganda related to Obote and as the FRONASA manifesto stated, Amin’s army was loyal to him, then the killing of the Acholi and Langi soldiers would not have been Amin’s directive either or else these rioting soldiers who were loyal to Amin would be supporting rather than opposing him. It could not have been the same army to kill the Americans as a way of hiding the evidence of their murder. The reason is that in the first place, the army would have not been murdering the Acholi and Langi and as such would have nothing to hide from the American investigators. All logic and the military intelligence which for once did not blame the attacks on the army units on Obote-based guerrillas, leads rather to Mozambican-trained guerrillas backed by Chinese advisors who were obviously a Marxist-driven group. This attack on the barracks and the murder of the two Americans, it follows, was the work of FRONASA.
The manifesto also cited the murder of a number of prominent Ugandans. The acting director of Uganda Television, James Bwogi, disappeared on 24 Aug., 1971.
They included one Mulekezi, a former district commissioner of Bukedi district in eastern Uganda ; and one Nshekanabo, the manager of the government-owned Rock Hotel in Tororo in Bukedi district. Mulekezi and Nshekanabo both disappeared on 23 Feb., 1972. According to FRONASA, Nshekanabo had been trying to persuade a group of unruly soldiers to pay for the drinks they had drunk and the Rock Hotel’s bar. Among the others purportedly murdered by Amin’s regime and providing justification for the launch of their struggle were John Kakonge, the former secretary general of the Uganda People’s Congress party; Ali Kisekka, former cabinet minister in the Obote government James Ochola; one Sebalu, the UPC administrative secretary in Ankole, Nekemia Bananuka, and the lawyer Patrick Ruhinda. The president of the Uganda Industrial Court , Michael Kabali Kaggwa was murdered in Sept. 1971. His charred body was discovered in his burnt out on 10 Sept.. A prominent politician and early pre-independence era agitator Joseph (“Jolly Joe”) Kiwanuka, and many other public figures were cynically murdered by FRONASA assasins on orders of Museveni. FRONASA reported that a Roman Catholic priest, Father Clement Kiggundu, the former editor of Uganda ‘s oldest newspaper, the Catholic Munno, had disappeared and his burnt body was found in his car on 15 Jan., 1973. The postmortem on his body revealed that Kiggundu had died before being burnt. The doctors who performed the postmortem disappeared a few days later. It is worth bearing in mind that Michael Kaggwa and Fr. Clement Kiggundu were murdered in exactly the same way — they were shot dead first then their bodies placed in their cars and burnt. FRONASA said the two men were dragged off by the soldiers commanded by one Colonel Toloko and never seen again.
How did FRONASA come to know of all these incidents and in such detail?
After the aborted attempt to overthrow Amin on 17 Sept., 1972, there followed a wave of murders of prominent people in Ankole in western Uganda . Businessmen, chiefs, lawyers, army officers, and other government officials from Mbarara, Bushenyi, and other towns in Ankole were murdered, many of them mutilated. These shocking killings were blamed on Amin and his army. What was not explained was something odd — practically all the people killed in Ankole that Sept. and till the end of the year were from the majority Bairu sub-ethnic group. The royal sub-ethnic group, the Bahima, whom Museveni had grown up among and whom he identified with, were untouched. Amin would not have known or cared about the differences between Bairu and Bahima. After all, if support for the guerrillas had come from Ankole, it mattered not who was a Mwiru or a Muhima. On 13 April, 2005, former President Milton Obote narrated this episode to The Monitor newspaper of Kampala :
“Masaka was a failure, Mbarara was a failure. Our troops fought gallantly but against heavy odds and were beaten. Many including Alex Ojera, Picho Ali and Capt. Oyile were captured and later executed by Amin. Amin’s army then went from House to house and picked up our leaders and killed them. Among those killed was [the UPC’s administrative secretary in Ankole Nekemia] Bananuka together with his three sons.
Later, I was told that the man whom our troops picked before Mbarara town who was supposed to be part of Museveni’s imaginary army, was the one who went house to house and made Idi Amin’s people pick up people like Bananuka.”. Here is a suggestion from an independent source that points to Museveni as the hand that directed the soldiers on whose house to visit and whom to kill.
President Museveni read this article in which Obote stated this allegation, but to date has not responded to it, even after first threatening to sue Obote and The Monitor over this series of autobiographical recollections by Obote. These selective killings that targetted Bairu and left unscathed the Bahima, were the first indications of what extreme measures Museveni’s FRONASA was willing to take in order to undermine Amin’s regime. Others victims of this FRONASA terror were Obote’s former Internal Affairs minister Basil Kiiza Bataringaya. Bataringaya had been part of a delegation of officials from Ankole who met President Amin and affirmed their support for him following the coup.Bataringaya’s wife Edith was murdered in 1975, her body burnt.
Death of Makerere University vice chancellor Frank Kalimuzo. The vice chancellor of Makerere University , Frank Kalimuzo, who was a close friend of Amin, was kidnapped and disappeared. There is a direct connection between what happened to Kalimuzo and what happened to Nekemia Bananuka. Explaining what happened to her husband, Esther Kalimuzo told the Daily Monitor newspaper on 6 Oct., 2005 of this sequence of events:
“He had had a friendly relationship with Amin but the coup really worried him. He sought an appointment with Amin but was never granted one, which led friends to warn him to be very careful. Later the same year, Amin came to the university to be installed as Chancellor and even had a meal in our house. There was no obvious sign of danger.” The problems began close to the invasion of September 1972. Frank told me he was receiving anonymous letters threatening him with death. State Research Bureau people came and told him that ‘You are number two to Ben Kiwanuka, on the list’ [of those to be killed]. Friends advised him to flee into exile, but he kept saying ‘I have done nothing to Amin.’ During that September, just before the invasion, unknown people surrounded our Makerere house at night then rang the bell. We refused to open. They went away. The following day, Frank contacted people in security and reported the incident. He was told: ‘we are the ones who sent them. It was a mistake not to have opened for them.'”
“My husband was immediately arrested and taken to Makindye, where he spent a day being questioned about bad relations he was alleged to have with some university students. He met “the students.” They could name neither their academic courses nor their halls of residence. He was told there was no case and he was released the same day. The next day, we went to [the southwestern town of] Kisoro…While we were there, the invasion happened and Mbarara and Masaka were attacked….After the invasion was defeated, we decided to return directly via Mbarara and Masaka in a civillian convoy with an army officer friend at the front….The following day, Radio Uganda, UTV and then BBC announced that ‘Vice Chancellor Frank Kalimuzo has disappeared to Rwanda with [Basil] Bataringaya and [Nekemia] Bananuka.’ We had already learnt that those two had been murdered by Amin. Frank was shocked to listen to the media saying he had ‘disappeared’ with them!”
Since, as we have already seen, Bananuka was murdered along with others in Ankole on orders of Museveni, the fact that Kalimuzo’s name was given as having disappeared together with Bataringaya and Bananuka to Rwanda , when they were in fact already dead, suggests that Museveni’s FRONASA had a hand in Kalimuzo’s murder too. Explaining Kalimuzo’s disappearance, the government said he had dissapeared “after being arrested by men masquerading as security officers.” That is indeed what happened. The State Research Bureau, had it felt that Kalimuzo was cooperating with the guerrillas, would not needed to send him anonymous letters threatening him with death. They would have come and arrested him in their official capacity as a state security agency. A pattern that ran through Museveni’s guerrilla activities and method of work was the idea of anynymous letters, as we shall see much later in this document. Another prominent death was Amin’s former aide de camp and later army chief of staff, Lt. Colonel Valentine Ochima, who was killed in Oct. 1972. He had been released from prison by Amin on 2 Jan., 1972 along with 12 other soldiers. They were involved in a coup plot against Amin and imprisoned in Makindye military police barracks. FRONASA falsely claimed that Ochima was taken to the Makindye barracks and murdered there. Also killed that month in the same barracks was Joseph N. Mubiru, the former governor of Bank of Uganda, the country’s central bank.On 16 Nov., 1972, the former UPC secretary general John Kakonge was abducted and disappeared, with later reports saying his testicles had been cut off and stuffed into his mouth.
The murder of Kakonge is one that should be examined.
The charismatic Kakonge, who came from western Uganda , presented more a real threat to Museveni’s ambitions to one day be president of Uganda than he did to Obote. When Museveni took power in 1986, some military officers in Museveni’s army told the Kakonge family that Kakonge’s death had been orchastrated by Obote. How so? They claimed that Obote had written letters purportedly to Kakonge but in such a manner and placed in such a location as to make sure that Amin’s security agents would get to see them and end up arresting and killing Kakonge. Because the regimes of Amin and Obote were consistently discredited, it is easy to believe these kinds of reports at face value. But the truth is so different. To begin with, it had been claimed by FRONASA in its 1970s propaganda campaign that Kakonge was murdered on orders of Amin. But, soon after Museveni assumed state power in 1986, his officers began to claim that Kakonge was murdered through a trick by Obote. That contradictory set of explanations alone should have raised the suspicion of the Kakonge family.
With virtually no exception, all the prominent Ugandans who “disappeared”, presumed dead during the 1970s, were the victims of FRONASA’s deadly guerrilla work. As part of their subversive activities against the Amin administration, FRONASA also used to compose letters purportedly written from Tanzania by the Obote aide, Lieutenant-Colonel Oyite Ojok, and listing Oyite Ojok’s postal address. Agents working for FRONASA used to distribute leaflets and pamphlets designed to spread a message of subversion against Amin using secret guerrilla cells. One of the FRONASA cells that Museveni used to achieve this was made up of Lieutenant Ahmed Seguya and Musa Hussein Njuki. These men operated a cyclestyle machine which they used to reproduce these documents.Oyite-Ojok’s address was given in these letters as “c/o Bhoka Munanka, State House, Dar es Salaam.” It is fairly well-known that there was one Ugandan exile who frequented the official residence of Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere and that was Yoweri Museveni. Obote also was in touch with and maintained a close relationship with Nyerere. But it did not reach the extent of somehow using State House Dar es Salaam as a personal postal contact. Certainly Oyite-Ojok would have had less access at State House than Obote. This rules out or brings into question the claim that either Obote or Oyite-Ojok were the authors of those letters.
In Sowing The Mustard Seed, Museveni inadvertently exonerates Oyite-Ojok and incriminates himself in the matter of those mysterious letters, when he writes:
“Ojok himself was quite a courageous individual. The problem with African leaders, including soldiers, is not a matter of personality but arises from their view of the world and of politics. Although Ojok had some good personal attributes, his way of thinking was very different from ours.” (page 50) . For Museveni, who rarely concedes positive attributes in people other than himself — and especially in someone like Oyite-Ojok who was very close to Obote and a long-standing rival of Museveni — this admission of courage and “good personal attributes” on the part of Oyite-Ojok positively comments on what must have been a very good and decent man in Oyite-Ojok, hardly the kind of person to mail letters to prominent Ugandans in order to get them arrested or killed by Amin.
These letters were addressed to selected prominent Ugandans and “leaked” to the state security agency, the State Research Bureau, in order to lead to the arrest and, if possible, murder of the person in question. Museveni had several calculations by this deadly covert action. Obote’s Kikoosi Maluum armed faction was, as noted already, the main rival of FRONASA. If these subversive letters were written purportedly in the names of Obote and Oyite Ojok, not only would they endanger the lives of the targetted prominent Ugandans; if that truth were ever found out, it would create a deep hatred and resentment for Obote and Oyite Ojok in Uganda.
On 2 Jan., 1972, The People quoted President Amin as commenting on these subversive letters being distrubuted in Uganda from Tanzania: “The President, however, disclosed that a number of army officers have been receiving what he described as ‘dirty correspondence’ from Ojok who was a former Lt. Colonel in the Uganda Army and who is now in Tanzania. The President regretted the fact that among those officers who have been in contact with Ojok, is Lt. Colonel S. Kakuhikire who works in the President’s Research Office. He received a letter dated 4th December, but never bothered to inform the President about it.” (page 1)
Amin had now found out that one of his senior officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Sarapio Kakuhikire had been receiving these letters allegedly from Oyite-Ojok. Kakuhikire did not deny it and Amin expressed his disappointment at this silence on the part of Kakuhikire. Did Amin, the world-famous tyrant drag Kakuhikire off to his death? No. Kakuhikire probably did not think much of the letter he received and knowing that he was not involved in any conspiracy against Amin, let matters be. In 1977, Museveni ordered his FRONASA men to murder Kakuhikire. He was kidnapped right in front of the main Post Office buildings in downtown Kampala by Museveni’s agents inside the State Research Bureau and murdered. As usual, the blame was put on Amin.
Sincerely why Amin should murder this officer trained at the Royal Academy in Sandhurt, that is assuming Amin was intimidated or envious of his better training?
He should have chosen to do that toward the end of his rule rather than purge him immediately after Kakuhikire’s possession of the alleged Oyite-Ojok letter came to Amin’s attention in late 1971. FRONASA had a problem because no matter how much they tried to implicate prominent Ugandans in “plots” to overthrow the government so that Amin killed them, he would not do that. When their scheme failed, they decided to murder these people themselves. Amin would ordinarily have had these people arrested and then brought to court, whether a civilian court or military tribunal, whether a genuine or a mock trial, but it would have been in his interest to make the public (which still supported him) believe that he was pursuing the course of justice. That did not happen. FRONASA turned to abducting prominent Ugandans and making them “disappear”, since they had failed to get them arrested by Amin.
“[17.33] And do not kill any one whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause, and whoever is slain unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority, so let him not exceed the just limits in slaying; surely he is aided.” — The Holy Qur’an
Murder of DP leader Benedicto Kiwanuka
A well-publicised murder was that of Benedicto Kagimu Kiwanuka, the president general of the Democratic Party and at the time of his death, chief justice of the Uganda High Court. He is generally believed to have been murdered on orders of Amin allegedly for collaborating with the exile groups in Tanzania . He was then reportedly dragged out of the High Court building in Kampala in Sept. 1972, forced into a car boot, and taken to the Makindye military police barracks where he was killed. What really happened to Kiwanuka? Two days before Kiwanuka was kidnapped, Obote had allegedly received a letter from him, presumably to affirm Kiwanuka’s support for Obote and the anti-Amin struggle. But, as just stated, these letters allegedly written by Obote or Oyite-Ojok were actually penned by FRONASA. A revealing piece of evidence that points to FRONASA’s hand in Kiwanuka’s murder came in an interview with the African current affairs magazine Drum in 1980 by Kiwanuka’s widow, Maxensia Zalwango Kiwanuka. Asked about the circumstances of her husband’s death, which at that time she blamed on Amin personally, she told the reporter V.P. Kirega-Gava: “To prevent any information from reaching us, some Banyankole who were present as my husband was being butchered by Amin were killed under mysterious circumstances.” Several questions arise out of Mrs Kiwanuka’s interview. To begin with, few heads of state in the modern world would personally carry out executions when they had squads of agents who could easily carry out the deed while leaving the president looking innocent. There have been claims that Amin personally executed many of his victims. This would not be possible if Amin had vehemently denied any role by his government in their killing. Secondly, even if this one head of state Amin was the kind to personally murder his opponents, almost all accounts of Amin’s alleged brutality mention that he surrounded himself with and relied on trusted and vicious Nubian, Sudanese, Lugbara, and Kakwa killers from his West Nile home district and southern Sudan. A few others have mentioned that Amin’s State Research Bureau intelligence service also employed Rwandese Tutsi refugees who had lived in Uganda since 1959. If these accounts are correct and typical, what then would Amin have been doing with Banyankole men at the time he was personally killing Kiwanuka? Yoweri Museveni had made the Banyankole his adoptive tribe and here a few clues begin to avail themselves. It would be unusual for Amin, especially when personally killing a prominent Ugandan like Kiwanuka, to trust the Banyankole or any other tribes from southern Uganda to be at the scene of his deeds.
Amin knew that he was being opposed by the guerrilla leader Museveni. Since Museveni came from Ankole, army and security officers from Ankole were potential supporters of Museveni. Amin would not have taken the risk of murdering Kiwanuka while in the company of these Banyankole who might pass details of these killings by Amin himself to the anti-government groups in exile in Tanzania or Europe . If indeed he committed the deed himself, Amin in all probability would have been accompanied by only the most trusted and loyal of his own tribesmen from the West Nile area. Could these Banyankole whom Maxensia Kiwanuka referred to in her Drum interview have been the FRONASA agents working for Museveni and whom he later ordered killed to cover up his role in Kiwanuka’s murder?
After all, if Banyankole security agents in the company of President Amin could be killed to prevent any information from reaching Kiwanuka’s family, so too could security men from any other tribes. Amin who came to power through a military coup would know enough about conspiracy to be aware that anybody, even people from his own tribe, could pass information on to Kiwanuka’s family either for money or after becoming disgruntled with Amin in later years. In 1974, a Tanzanian intelligence officer, Deusdedit Kusekwa Masanja, captured in Uganda gave an account of Kiwanuka’s death to Drum which published it in the March 1974 issue of the magazine. Masanja said he witnessed Kiwanuka being killed in the Makindye military police barracks in Kampala on 28 Sept., 1972. The most striking part of Masanja’s account was his failure to reveal that Amin personally killed Kiwanuka or the failure by Drum to mention that, if indeed this is what happened. Any credible news agency or publication would know that an eye witness account of Amin’s personal hand in the murder of his former chief justice would be the news story or news feature of the year, if not the decade. Sincerely why was this not mentioned, if Amin was responsible?
Former FRONASA assassins more than 30 years later admitted that Kiwanuka had been abducted and murdered by FRONASA. According to these former FRONASA agents, Kiwanuka was abducted from the High Court buildings and killed by FRONASA. On 16 July, 1987, the Citizen, a weekly newspaper with ties to the Democratic Party explained in some detail what happened to Kiwanuka: “He was abducted on the 21st September 1972 from the High Court Chambers by three armed men in civilian clothes. He was driven in a Pegueot 504 No. UUU 171 towards Kampala International Hotel. Since then not a shred of light has been shed on the manner in which he was killed nor the place where the murder took place.”
A government report on Kiwanuka following his kidnap said: “He was arrested at the High Court by three persons posing as security officers. Their true identity and the fate of the Chief Justice remain a mystery.” The three men who abducted Kiwanuka were FRONASA assassins and according to former FRONASA fighters, at least two these three men sent by Museveni to abduct and murder Kiwanuka were from the Baganda tribe. Museveni, even after he took power in 1986, continued to use the method of assigning Baganda hit-men to assassinate prominent Baganda.
The role of John Wycliffe Kazzora in Museveni’s guerrilla activities. On 2 Dec., 1972, Amin met three senior Roman Catholic leaders in the country who had come to him to petition him over 58 white western missionaires who had just been expelled from Uganda . Amin issued a warning to the clergymen about letters that they were allegedly distributing in collaboration with the guerrillas to “spread confusion in the country.” These three leaders were Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga, the archbishop of Kampala , Bishop Ddungu of Masaka diocese, and Bishop Kyangire of Gulu diocese. One of these letters was reportedly written by a Ugandan lawyer and businessman based in Nairobi named John Wycliffe Kazzora. It had been written to Cardinal Nsubuga seeking his help in the struggle to overthrow Amin. Three days later on 5 Dec., 1972, a letter appeared in the Daily Nation newspaper of Nairobi by Kazzora in which he denied having written the letter referred to by Amin. Kazzora said that letter was a forgery. It was important for Kazzora to clear his name. But sincerely why did Kazzora take that move? His British-influenced pretensions and mannerisms notwithstanding, Kazzora was by and large a respectable man whose law practice was established and to be seen to be part of conspiracies against the Uganda government would not have done him any good. After all, following the 1971 military coup, Idi Amin toured the country including in Aug. 1971 the Ankole area where Kazzora originated. The UPC newspaper, The People of 17 Aug. quoted Kazzora addressing Amin on behalf of the people in the area: “Kazzora, congratulated President Amin and the members of the Uganda Army and Airforce for their successful take-over of the Obote corrupt regime. He told the President that he could have taken over the government many years back but because of his sincerity…the General did not do so until it was absolutely necessary.”
Amin, aware of Kazzora’s education and influence — he was the first lawyer in Ankole — respected him and sought to involve him further in national affairs.
In one instance, Amin ordered that Kazzora represent Uganda in a regional meeting of the East African Airways. In a letter dated 22 Sept., 1971, a few weeks after his praise of Amin, the President’s staff wrote the following letter: “His Excellency the President of Uganda has directed that at tomorrow’s meeting of EAA Corporation board of directors J.W.R. Kazzora will represent Uganda instead of [Adrian] M. Sibo. Make arrangements that will enable Kazzora to participate as a full member representing Uganda .” That was the relationship between Amin and Kazzora. But suddenly by 1972 it had all changed. Kazzora was now firmly anti-Amin and was by that time in exile in Kenya .
Kazzora became one of Museveni’s most ardent and important supporters in his campaign against Amin. What happened to turn this from mutual respect between Amin and Kazzora, to one’s fleeing the other into exile, in fear for his life? How did Kazzora, a prosperous lawyer, come to be entangled in Museveni’s dark world of guerrilla subversion? Museveni mentions this in Sowing the Mustard Seed:
“It was at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi that I accidentally met the Kazzora family in December 1972…Soon after this first meeting with Kazzora, and his agreement to work with us, Amin put pressure on the Kenyan government which obliged him to leave for England . Kazzora had thus already left by the time I returned to Nairobi in Jan. 1973, but he nominated Janet to work as a liaison and courier between himself and me.” (page 87)
It is interesting the way Museveni says he “accidentally met the Kazzora family.” Kazzora, wealthy, from Ankole, well-educated, with important contacts in Britain , was just the sort of ally Museveni needed for his guerrilla campaign. Museveni orchestrated a false series of events and by that manipulated Kazzora into believing that Amin wanted to murder him and so Kazzora fled into exile. Then with him now established in Nairobi , Museveni “accidentally” met him and thus began many years of collaboration between the two men. Museveni once again gives himself away by stating in his memoirs that soon after their first meeting at the Nairobi Hilton, Kazzora would have been so suddenly convinced to join Museveni in fighting Amin. It would have been one thing for Museveni to meet Kazzora in Nairobi and their casual conversation about the state of affairs in Uganda led Kazzora to agree with Museveni that Uganda was in a crisis; it would have been quite another thing for this one accidental meeting to create such resolve in Kazzora that it was sufficient to turn him into one of Museveni’s closest allies.
Museveni had to have worked toward just such an outcome by manipulating Kazzora into detesting the same Amin he had so lavishly praised only the previous year and whom Amin also regarded as an important official in the Uganda government.. The letter Amin quoted on 2 Dec. in his meeting with Ugandan church leaders in which Kazzora was mentioned, followed by Kazzora’s denial of any involvement in subversive activity in his 5 Dec. letter to the Daily Nation, and finally this “accidental” meeting with Museveni at the Nairobi Hilton Hotel later that Dec., provide the clearest proof of all that Yoweri Museveni — not David Oyite-Ojok or Milton Obote — was the author of these letters whose purpose was to stir up trouble against Amin. And of course, Museveni did not write the truth of how he really met Janet Kataha. The entry of Janet Kataha into Museveni’s world, according to him, began with her role as a courier. This, as we have just seen, is not true. As has been said, Amin well knew what Museveni was doing and what he was capable of. Following the 17 Sept., 1972 guerrilla invasion of Mbarara, a civil servant named Francis Gureme, who at the time was an undersecretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, was summoned by Amin for questioning. Gureme had driven toward Mbarara that Sunday morning and ran into the invasion underway. Amin wanted to know that Gureme had driven to Mbarara for. As Gureme explained it in an article in the Sunday Monitor on 30 May, 2004, “Amin…questioned me closely about what I had been doing in Mbarara that Sunday and whether I had met Museveni.” During the 1970s, the national intelligence agency, the State Research Bureau dedicated a desk headed by Adam Bizegeni, whose sole duty was to monitor Museveni’s guerrilla activities.
Murder of foreign minister Michael Ondoga
Another prominent death in point was that of the former foreign minister and former Ugandan ambassador to the Soviet Union , Lt. Colonel Michael Ondoga. He was a brother-in-law of President Amin by virtue of Amin’s marriage to Ondoga’s sister, Kay Adroa Amin. On 12 Feb., 1974, Amin summoned a cabinet meeting at which he invited a French film crew to record the proceedings. Apparently, there had been growing slackness among cabinet ministers and Amin who postured as a strict disciplinarian would not have this. He criticised the cabinet and singled out for the harshest words Ondoga, who sat uncomfortably during the meeting. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in upheaval and Amin told Ondoga that this situation could not go on. On 19 Feb., 1974, Amin announced the appointment of Princess Elizabeth of Toro as the new minister of foreign affairs. The government-owned Voice of Uganda newspaper reported the new appointment the next day, 20 Feb.: “Ambassador Elizabeth Bagaya has been named Uganda ‘s new minister of Foreign Affairs. She becomes the country’s first woman ever to be appointed a minister. She takes over from Lt. Col. Michael Ondoga who is to be assigned other duties…The President, General Idi Amin announced the appointment while addressing Makerere University students yesterday. He said he had acted on recommendation of the Defence Council.
He also announced that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is to have a planning section which will assist in the planning of the whole business industry throughout the country. Also to be formed are the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a Corporation responsible for Import and Export activities. “The tone of the news report on Ondoga’s replacement as a minister was measured, positive, and came as part of a general upgrading of the government’s policy-making apparatus. There was none of the angry yelling at the former minister that the Ugandan exile groups portrayed it to be. Ondoga was not humiliated or accused of sabotaging the government.
Where is the continuation on 2 that is referred to at the bottom of the article? Also,how is this information going to reach the ordinary Ugandan (owabulijo)? Are there hard copies translated in local languages that can be obtained in Uganda? It is very important that the ordinary Ugandan who votes gets this information.
– Posted By Bila on 10/17/2009
Keep up the good work, till not only him, but all of them are gone.
– Posted By JC Amone on 10/18/2009
Murder of DP leader Benedicto Kiwanuka A well-publicised murder was that of Benedicto Kagimu Kiwanuka, the president general of the Democratic Party and at the time of his death, chief justice of the Uganda High Court. He is generally believed to have been murdered on orders of Amin allegedly for collaborating with the exile groups in Tanzania. He was then reportedly dragged out of the High Court building in Kampala in September 1972 where he was Chief Justice of the country at the time, forced into a car boot, and taken to the Makindye military police barracks where he was killed. What really happened to Kiwanuka? Two days before Kiwanuka was kidnapped, Obote had allegedly received a letter from him, presumably to affirm his support for Obote and the anti-Amin struggle. As part of their subversive activities against the Amin administration, FRONASA also used to compose letters purportedly written from Tanzania by the Obote aide, Lt. Colonel Oyite Ojok, and listing Oyite Ojok’s postal address. These letters were addressed to selected prominent Ugandans and “leaked” to the state security agency, the State Research Bureau, in order to lead to the arrest and, if possible, murder of the person in question. Museveni had several calculations by this deadly covert action. Obote’s Kikoosi Maluum armed faction was, as noted already, the main rival of FRONASA. If these subversive letters were written purportedly in the names of Obote and Oyite Ojok, not only would they endanger the lives of the targetted prominent Ugandans; if that truth were ever found out, it would create a deep hatred and resentment for Obote and Oyite Ojok in Uganda. On December 2, 1972, Amin met three senior Roman Catholic leaders in the country who had come to him to petition him over 58 white western missionaires who had just been expelled from Uganda. Amin issued a warning to the clergymen about letters that they were allegedly distributing in collaboration with the guerrillas to “spread confusion in the country.” These three leaders were Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga, the archbishop of Kampala, Bishop Ddungu of Masaka diocese, and Bishop Kyangire of Gulu diocese. One of these letters was reportedly written by a Ugandan lawyer and businessman based in Nairobi named John Wycliffe Kazzora. It had been written to Cardinal Nsubuga seeking his help in the struggle to overthrow Amin. Three days later on December 5, 1972, a letter appeared in the Daily Nation newspaper of Nairobi by Kazzora in which he denied having written the letter referred to by Amin. Kazzora said that letter was a forgery. It was important for Kazzora to clear his name. Why? Kazzzora was an ardent supporter of Museveni in his campaign against Amin; so much so that one of Kazzora’s cousins named Janet Kataha became a go-between Kazzora and Museveni, taking messages between the two men. Museveni mentioned this in Sowing the Mustard Seed: “It was at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi that I accidentally met the Kazzora family in December 1972…Soon after this first meeting with Kazzora, and his agreement to work with us, Amin put pressure on the Kenyan government which obliged him to leave for England. Kazzora had thus already left by the time I returned to Nairobi in January 1973, but he nominated Janet to work as a liaison and courier between himself and me.” (page 87) The entry of Jsnet Kataha into Museveni’s world began with her role as a courier. In carrying letters between Museveni and Kazzora and other partners in FRONASA, she no doubt must have received some briefing to acquaint her with the dangerous nature of the work she was undertaking. The importance of secrecy, the use of aliases and other false identities, disguise in her dress, and the content of some of the letters and parcels must have all been emphasised to her. For Museveni to eventually trust her enough to make her his wife, she must have come to learn some of the most secret details of what FRONASA was doing. This fact would become significant after Museveni came to power, when his wife and family assumed more power than any First Family in Uganda’s history. As has been said, Amin well knew what Museveni was doing and what he was capable of. During the 1970s, the national counterintelligence agency, the State Research Bureau, dedicated a desk to the monitoring of Museveni’s guerrilla activities. When the pieces are tied together — the role of Janet Kataha Museveni as a courier, the letter allegedly written by Kazzora to Ugandan religious leaders, Amin’s charge that letters were being written to spread confusion in Uganda, and Kazzora’s letter to the Daily Nation denying he had written the letter — there is every reason to suppose that the letter supposedly written to Obote by Kiwanuka just before his arrest, could have come from FRONASA. A revealing piece of evidence that points to FRONASA’s hand in Kiwanuka’s murder came in an interview with the African current affairs magazine Drum in 1980 by Kiwanuka’s widow, Maxensia Zalwango Kiwanuka. Asked about the circumstances of her husband’s death, which at that time she blamed on Amin personally, she told the reporter V.P. Kirega-Gava: “To prevent any information from reaching us, some Banyankole who were present as my husband was being butchered by Amin were killed under mysterious circumstances.” Several questions arise out of Mrs Kiwanuka’s interview. To begin with, few heads of state in the modern world would personally carry out executions when they had squads of agents who could easily carry out the deed while leaving the president looking innocent. There have been many claims that Amin personally executed many of his victims. This would not be possible if Amin had vehemently denied any role by his government in their killing. Secondly, even if this one head of state Amin was the kind to personally murder his opponents, almost all accounts of Amin’s alleged brutality mention that he surrounded himself with and relied on trusted and vicious Nubian, Sudanese, Lugbara, and Kakwa killers from his West Nile home district and southern Sudan. A few others have mentioned that Amin’s State Research Bureau intelligence service also employed Rwandese Tutsi refugees who had lived in Uganda since 1959. If these accounts are correct and typical, what then would Amin have been doing with Banyankole men at the time he was personally killing Kiwanuka? Yoweri Museveni had made the Banyankole his adoptive tribe and here a few clues begin to avail themselves. It would be unusual for Amin, especially when personally killing a prominent Ugandan, to trust the Banyankole or any other tribes from southern Uganda to be at the scene of his deeds. Amin knew that he was being opposed by the guerrilla leader Museveni. Since Museveni came from Ankole, army and security officers from Ankole were potential supporters of Museveni. Amin would not have risked murdering Kiwanuka while in the company of these Banyankole who might pass details of these killings by Amin himself to the anti-government groups in exile in Tanzania or Europe. If indeed he committed the deed himself, Amin in all probability would have been accompanied by only the most trusted and loyal of his own tribesmen from the West Nile area. Could these Banyankole whom Maxensia Kiwanuka referred to in her Drum interview have been the FRONASA agents working for Museveni and whom he later ordered killed to cover up his role in Kiwanuka’s murder? After all, if Banyankole security agents in the company of President Amin could be killed to prevent any information from reaching Kiwanuka’s family, so too could security men from any other tribes. Amin who came to power through a military coup would know enough about conspiracy to be aware that anybody, even people from his own tribe, could pass information on to Kiwanuka’s family either for money or after becoming disgruntled with Amin in later years. In 1974, a Tanzanian intelligence officer, Deusdedit Kusekwa Masanja, captured in Uganda gave an account of Kiwanuka’s death to Drum which published it in the March 1974 issue of the magazine. Masanja said he witnessed Kiwanuka being killed in the Makindye military police barracks in Kampala on September 28, 1972. The most striking part of Masanja’s account was his failure to reveal that Amin personally killed Kiwanuka or the failure by Drum to mention that, if indeed this is what happened. Any credible news agency or publication would know that an eye witness account of Amin’s personal hand in the murder of his former chief justice would be the news story or news feature of the year, if not the decade. Why was none of this mentioned, if Amin was responsible? Former FRONASA assassins more than 30 years later admitted that Kiwanuka had been abducted and murdered by FRONASA. According to these former FRONASA agents, Kiwanuka was abducted from the High Court buildings and killed by FRONASA. On July 16, 1987, the Citizen, a weekly newspaper with ties to the Democratic Party explained in some detail what happened to Kiwanuka: “He was abducted on the 21st September 1972 from the High Court Chambers by three armed men in civilian clothes. He was driven in a Pegueot 504 No. UUU 171 towards Kampala International Hotel. Since then not a shred of light has been shed on the manner in which he was killed nor the place where the murder took place.” In February 2005, The Monitor newspaper in Kampala was contacted by a man who claims he actually buried the body of Kiwanuka in the Luzira area of the city. This man was willing to narrate his story, but insisted on the newspaper first securing an international amnesty for him. This again begs the question of why this man who simply undertook the task of burying Kiwanuka’s body should be so fearful for his life, considering that Amin’s regime was overthrown in 1979 and Amin (assuming he was the one who personally killed Kiwanuka) died in 2003. What would this man be afraid of? Obviously he knew that Kiwanuka’s killers were in Kampala in 2005 and in control of the government. Since Amin and his regime had unanimously been blamed for Kiwanuka’s death, any news given by the man who buried Kiwanuka’s body would not change the public’s belief that it was the departed Amin who ordered Kiwanuka’s murder, if he carried it out himself. For this man to request protection before he could speak, raised the possibility that the people he had to fear by his revelations about what happened to Kiwanuka were alive, in Kampala, and most probably in positions of power and in the security services. Another prominent death in point was that of the former foreign minister and former Ugandan ambassador to the Soviet Union, Lt. Colonel Michael Ondoga. He was a brother-in-law of President Amin by virtue of Amin’s marriage to Ondoga’s sister, Kay Adroa Amin. In early February 1974, Amin summoned a cabinet meeting at which he invited a French film crew to record the proceedings. Apparently, there had been growing slackness among cabinet ministers and Amin who postured as a strict disciplinarian would not have this. He criticised the cabinet for their late coming and singled out for the harshest words Ondoga, who sat uncomfortably during the meeting. Two weeks later, Ondoga was kidnapped and his badly mutilated body was found floating along the River Nile. The western news media and Ugandan exile groups condemned Ondoga’s murder, blaming it squarely on Amin and charging that this was further proof of the president’s maniacal dictatorship. Some evidence refutes this charge against Amin. As already mentioned, Ondoga was the president’s brother-in-law and only the most extraordinary treachery on the part of Ondoga would have led Amin to order the murder of Ondoga. Ondoga’s offence, as Amin himself angrily said during the cabinet meeting, was his lateness to work. Secondly, Ondoga was kidnapped and later murdered. Had this order come from Amin, there would have been no need to kidnap the foreign minister. It has been widely claimed that Amin’s soldiers and security agents had the habit of dragging prominent Ugandans into cars in broad daylight and on to their deaths. Following this tendency, there would have been no need for Ondoga to be kidnapped two weeks after he was reprimanded by Amin. More than a few ministers and government officials had been summarily sacked by the president in a national radio broadcast. This would not have been unusual. Thirdly, Amin had criticised his foreign minister during a cabinet meeting filmed by a French television team. The president well knew that the recording would end up being broadcast in France and through much of a western world that was increasingly hostile to Amin’s government. For the goal of discrediting Amin, there could be nothing more valuable to the Ugandan exiles than this documentary film. Amin would have been the last person to order the kidnapping and murder of his foreign minister, since whoever had watched the recording of the cabinet meeting would naturally blame the president for the murder. Finally, upon Amin’s death in August 2003, Amin’s fifth and former wife, Sarah Kyolaba Amin, was interviewed by London’s Daily Mirror newspaper. In comments published by the Daily Mirror on August 18, 2003, Sarah Amin paid tribute to her late husband, describing him as a true African hero and a loving father. Amin in his years as president liked to portray himself as a devout family man. He often participated in motor races with his wife Sarah Kyolaba as co-driver and even while receiving foreign dignitaries, his two favourite children Moses and Mwanga were often present. This image of Amin as an indulgent and affectionate family man is consistent even in the photographs, books, and magazines that have sought to portray him in the most unflattering light. In 1972 for instance, a body named the Public Safety Unit was formed to crack down on violent crime and the Public Safety Unit became greatly dreaded by the public. Amin and the head of the Public Safety Unit, Hussein Marella, insisted that these unexplained acts of public disorder and crime were being committed not by the army but by saboteurs. A commission of inquiry was created to look into allegations that the Public Safety Unit was behind the harassment and murder of prominent Ugandans. After the commission cleared the Public Safety Unit of any charges, Amin in a Radio Uganda broadcast said that the verdict “proved that people who used to say that the Public Safety Unit was bad are the very people who are carrying out those subversive activities.” Amin defended the Public Safety Unit. He was capable of loyalty. It would be unlikely, therefore, that Amin would have ordered the assassination of Ondoga his foreign minister and brother-in-law over a minor offence and yet the president had shown loyalty to some among his senior government officials who were widely feared or grumbled about by the public like the Public Safety Unit head, Hussein Marella. Incidentally, Amin’s statement that those who blamed the Public Safety Unit were the very people who were carrying out these subversive activities throws further light on the fact of what was going on in Uganda at the time and that Amin was aware that his government was being maligned by the guerrillas based in Britain, Tanzania, and Kenya. Speaking to the Daily Monitor on May 29, 2005, the former Ugandan foreign minister, assistant OAU secretary general, and Ugandan ambassador to Britain, Paul Etiang in a series titled “Serving Amin” said this of the former president: “Amin was somebody who, if you told him something, he would look straight at you very deeply and get convinced about it but keep quiet because he wanted to put some mystery to it…The way Amin was behaving, no one — not even his wives I dare say — could say that he or she had seen the totality of him. Amin in one place would behave very differently in another place. It would take a number of people with whom he worked to come together and piece the complete picture together. All the judgements about Amin tend to depict him as a terrorist not because that was his nature but because I think those are the only things remembered about him. I must say that the worst that happened to Amin is what would happen to many presidents.” (italics added for emphasis) On the morning of August 18, 2003, two days after Amin’s death, his former vice president General Mustapha Adrisi was asked by Radio France Internationale to give his verdict of the former leader. Adrisi said he had one problem with Amin — his propensity for lies and exaggeration, something that Etiang mentioned in his recollection of the Amin years. In the same interview, Adrisi said, however, that Amin was not the legendary killer he has been portrayed to be. Adrisi said Amin was loved by ordinary people and very popular all over the country. Another former official in the Amin government was Lt. Colonel Nassur Abdallah who was arrested in 1979 after the overthrow of Amin and spent 21 years in jail in Kampala before being released on September 11, 2000. Lt. Colonel Abdallah was widely regarded as one of Amin’s most notorious henchmen. As governor of the Central Province from January 8, 1975 to April 11, 1979, Abdallah was reported to have ordered crimminals and idlers in Kampala City to forcibly eat rubber slippers as a punishment for wearing slippers in the city at a time he was trying to ban the habit. He told this to the Daily Monitor on July 3, 2005: “The allegations that I made people eat slippers whenever I found them wearing [them] are baseless and I have always asked anybody to come out and challenge me but no one has done so. I never made people eat slippers and this is just politics of hatred.” Abdallah was also accused by some of being the killer of Francis Walugembe, the mayor of the southern town of Masaka, in 1972. Refuting that claim, he said: “That other story of Francis Walugembe is also fake. I never killed Walugembe and those people in Masaka can tell the truth about me.” This accusation of Abdallah is more revealing when it is borne in mind that another of Amin’s close aides, Colonel Isaac (“Maliyamungu”) Lugonzo was said by the exile groups to have personally murdered Walugembe and marched the body through the streets of the town. Either it was Abdallah who murdered Walugembe or it was Malyiamungu or neither of them. If it is true that Maliyamungu not only commited the deed but dragged the late mayor’s body through Masaka’s streets, then there were enough bystanders that day in Masaka who clearly saw Maliyamungu unashamedly drag the body about. And yet in years following, rumours began to spread in Kampala that Walugembe was murdered by Nassur Abdallah. The fact that Abdallah’s name came up at all even when Maliyamungu is supposed to have been publicly seen parading the dead mayor’s body through the streets of Masaka leads to one conclusion: the crime might have been committed by neither of the two men. As in the case of the Americans Stroh and Siedle, there is such a conflict of accuracy in the versions given of Walugembe’s murder that it once again raises the question of who it was that was distributing this misinformation and whether that party might have been the perpetrator of the crime. Walugembe, like Jolly Joe Kiwanuka, Basil and Edith Bataringaya, John Kakonge, Fr. Clement Kiggundu, Frank Kalimuzo and dozens of others, was murdered by FRONASA. Little thought has been given to the reports about the mutilated bodies of prominent Ugandan and foreign victims of the Amin “terror” found floating along the River Nile, sometimes as far north of Kampala at the Karuma Falls, more than three hours’ drive away. It made no sense for these victims’ remains to be driven all the way to Karuma to be dumped into the Nile when they could easily — and more economically with fewer risks of being discovered later — have been buried in secret mass graves or military cemetaries, cremeted, or in any other way got rid of. There has never a claim been made that the Nile was believed by these Nubian and West Nile killers to have special magical or ritually cleansing powers so that a trip to the river was worth the bother and risk of being found out. The Nile is the world’s longest river and on average about a kilometre wide, with several turns and rapids, boulders and rocks along its course. It is difficult to believe that there was always, by some coincidence, an idle person who just happened to be standing along the river’s banks and by chance somehow managed to sight what looked like a corpse. This idle person who was otherwise minding his own business then and on closer inspection (by swimming or getting a chance ride in a boat closer to the corpse) realised that this just happened to be a prominent citizen he had always seen on television and read about in the newspapers. No single photograph has ever been reported or published in which a single rotting or mutilated body was shown either being pulled out of the Nile or surrounded by shocked villagers and fishermen or police detectives. If it was not in the interest of Amin’s government to display these photographs, it would at least have been in the interest and for the benefit of the exile community and guerrilla forces to publish these photographs to reinforce to the world the scale of Amin’s brutality. These are some of the stories that have come to the surface since the end of Amin’s rule which contradict the general assumption that Amin’s rule was a reign of terror that he masterminded. Predictably, these brutalities allegedly committed by Amin’s regime came to the attention of a shocked world. Amin’s reputation slipped rapidly. On June 10, 1976, President Amin was invited to the Nsambya police barracks as guest of honour at the passing out parade of newly commissioned officers. Suddenly, three grenades were hurled at the President’s jeep, killing his driver. While in exile in Saudi Arabia in the late 1990s, Amin would explain to his family what happened that day. The grenade that hit Amin on the back and landed onto the side of the renegade jeep was a shrapnel grenade which was intended to cause maximum injury to the President and increase the likelihood that he would be killed. The explosion was absorbed by the rear tyre of the jeep and by the ground. Apparently, whoever had thrown the grenade had been either in a panic, impatient, or an amateur with shrapnel grenades which are timed to explode about 10 to 15 seconds after the lever has been released. Amin grabbed the body of his driver and dumped it back into the jeep. Amin then fixed a Motorola larynx communicator to his throat and roared off toward the Mulago hospital, all the time issuing orders for army reinforcements at the barracks and the cordoning off of the entire area around the barracks. Amin had escaped another assassination, the 13th of his presidency. Amin and most people at that police barracks did not know who the assailant with the three grenades was. The would-be assassin at Nsambya that day was Yoweri Museveni. In the commotion of the scene, Museveni escaped to the nearby Kibuli hill for refuge. Waiting for him there was Prince Badru Kakungulu, the descendant of the man regarded as the father of Islam in Uganda, Semei Kakungulu. This assassination plan was hatched and required that should it abort, Museveni was to quickly retreat to the prince’s house atop Kibuli hill. The man coordinating Museveni’s progress to Nsambya and back to Kibuli was named Anthony Butele, who would later be appointed minister of labour in the second Obote government in 1980. Many years later in the 1990s, some people close to Museveni would remark at a deeply felt sense of frustration by Museveni that he had been unable to get rid of Amin. And yet it was his tendency while speaking in public to remind Ugandans that “we defeated Amin”. This frustration, undoubtedly, sprang from from this incident at Nsambya when he came so close to personally assassinating Amin but failed. There is every possibility that Museveni might have been involved in person in a few more of the 14 attempts on Amin’s life between 1971 and 1979. In 1976, apart from entering Uganda to try and assassinate President Amin, Museveni came on a second mission: to survey the countryside and see what location was suitable for him to launch a future guerrilla war, as he had done in inspecting the Mozambican district of Nangade. The hilly areas of western Uganda Museveni found to be unsuitable for his preferred kind of guerrilla warfare. The northern and eastern parts of the country were too flat and bare as well. After perusing through maps of the physical terrain and finding out details about climate and soil conditions, Museveni settled on a district in central Uganda called Luwero. It had fertile soil, a good ethnic mixture of people, heavy tropical trees growing high enough to provide cover, and at the heart of the country, it was strikingly similar to the Nangade district of Mozambique. The death of Entebbe Israeli hostage Dora Bloch On June 28, 1976, a $16 million Boeing 707 jetliner belonging to Air France was hijacked at Athens airport by Palestinian and German terrorists on its way from Tel Aviv, Israel. During the Entebbe Air France hostage crisis in late June and early July 1976, Israel’s foreign counterintelligence agency Mossad requested one of President Amin’s former confidantes and friends, Israel’s Colonel Baruch Bar-Lev to compile a profile of Amin by which Mossad could better understand the leader they were dealing with. The profile was quoted in William Stevenson’s 1976 book on the hostage crisis titled 90 Minutes At Entebbe, page 61: “Amin is from a lesser northern tribe. He has never read a book in his life. The hijacking is the most important historic opportunity for him. The whole world is writing about Uganda and about Amin, its president. Important governments negotiate with him, diplomatic messages go back and forth. He visits the hostages every day, in a different [military] uniform each time…He is applauded by the hostages and he orders them food and drink, blankets and sheets. He has only shown anger once — when one of the Jewish hostages omitted one of the titles which must be used when addressing the field marshal-doctor-president. Idi Amin Dada’s mother [Aisha Aate] loved the Bible. In her will she ordered her son to honor the Jewish people. In his childhood he had no religion until convinced that he was a Muslim…There is no doubt he has the gift of leadership; his control of his soldiers — most of them from his northern tribes — comes largely from his tall stature, his great physical strength, his mastery of English, and his Fuhrerlike rhetoric.” This profile of Idi Amin was commissioned by Mossad and given by an Israeli who knew Amin intimately and therefore provides one of the best bases from which we can understand the former Ugandan leader. It is important to take note that the profile was written during one of the gravest political crises to face the Jewish state since it was founded in 1948 and so it is revealing that even under such circumstances, Bar-Lev was able to render an unbiased account of who Amin really was. The profile mentioned Amin’s mother ordering her son to honour the Jewish people. It refers — very crucially — to Amin’s “control of his soldiers”. It also says that he was “applauded by the hostages” at Entebbe for whom he ordered food, drinks, sheets, and blankets. Additionally, according to this Mossad report, Amin only once lost his temper, over a minor failure by one of the hostages to address him correctly. In 90 Minutes At Entebbe, it is mentioned on page 120 that an economist named Ilan Hartuv and a son of one of the hostages, 74-year old Doris (“Dora”) Bloch, was Amin’s interpreter for the hostages from English to Hebrew on behalf of Amin. Bloch held dual British and Israeli citizenship. What picture we gain of the atmosphere at Entebbe International Airport, then, is one of tension but also a surprising amount of liking for Amin by the hostages, his efforts to keep them comfortable, and his jovial or at least calm state of mind. Combining this background with information on Amin’s personality and background during the hostage crisis by Colonel Bar-Lev to Mossad, we see something important because it leads us to the question of who killed one the hostages, Dora Bloch. Almost all reports say Bloch had been rushed to Mulago hospital in Kampala on Friday July 2 after she choked on a piece of food at Entebbe airport. The reports say that when the Israeli commandos raied Entebbe, she was still admitted at Mulago. It is said that on Sunday morning July 4, several hours after the hostage rescue, Bloch was still at Mulago where she was visited by a diplomat from the British High Commission. She was later to disappear mysteriously in Uganda, presumed dead. Some accounts claimed that two security men, the director of the intelligence service, Lt. Colonel Farouk Minawa and one Captain Nasur Odongo, dragged Bloch from her Mulago hospital bed and had her killed. Following the end of the 1979 Tanzania-Uganda war in which Amin was deposed, a former officer in the State Research Bureau, Abraham Kisuule-Minge claimed early that April that Bloch was killed on orders of the bureau’s director, Minawa. Kisuule-Minge was quoted by TIME magazine in a report published on April 30, 1979: “As Kisuule-Minge tells it, she [Bloch] was brought from the hospital to the SRB [State Research Bureau]. There, Farouk made a slashing motion across his throat as she was flung to the floor. She was driven away, sobbing, to a nearby forest, where she was shot in the back.” Another claim, pointing personally to Amin, is reported by the website Crimelibrary.com: “A single Jewish woman, the elderly and ailing Dora Bloch, was released so she could be hospitalized. An Israeli commando team stormed the plane and freed the hostages. An infuriated Idi Amin is reported to have gone to the hospital and strangled…Doris Bloch with his own hands.” A third version claims that a soldier called Shaban is the one who killed Bloch. A former student at Makerere University, John Sekabira, speaking in exile, told Drum in an account published in its September 1977 issue that he had witnessed the burial of “the body of an elderly white woman” at Murchison Bay Prison Camp on August 20, 1976. Sekabira was not specific about whether this elderly woman was Bloch or any other white woman. Shortly after the end of Amin’s rule in April 1979, Mossad approached a respected Israeli pathologist, Dr Maurice Rogev, to examine and certify the remains of Dora Bloch. What then happened to Dora Bloch? The evidence must first be examined. According to the TIME magazine issue of July 26, 1976, “Amin has insisted that Mrs. Bloch was at Entebbe when the Israelis landed, but a British diplomat in Uganda reported visiting her in the hospital nearly a day after the raid. Furious at being contradicted, Amin expelled two British diplomats from his country.” To expel these two British diplomats — the chargé-d’affairs James Horrocks and Peter Chandley, who had visited Bloch in hospital — would have been percieved as an admission of guilt by Amin, unless he felt sure that he was being unfairly blamed for Bloch’s death. The claim that Amin might have been reasonable about the raid but his indisciplined and brutal soldiers decided to take their humiliation and anger at the Israeli raid out on this elderly woman are refuted by Mossad’s own report that indicated that Amin had “control of his soldiers.” A former FRONASA agent confessed in 2005 that Amin’s army was generally the most disciplined Uganda has had since independence. In an interview on the American CBS television network on July 11, 1976, a week after the successful raid on Entebbe, the then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was asked the following questions: “Q: Do you have reason to believe that Mrs. Dora Bloch has been killed on orders of Idi Amin? A: I have no other evidence until this moment as to the whereabouts of Mrs. Dora Bloch, except one — that the Government of Uganda is the sole responsible body for whatever has happened, happens or will happen to Mrs. Bloch. Because she was under the full control of the Uganda authorities while she was in the hospital. We have hard evidence that Mrs. Dora Bloch was alive Sunday morning after the operation. Therefore the full responsibility for whatever has happened or will happen to Mrs. Dora Bloch will be the responsibility of the Ugandan government and its president. Q: In the event that you should get some tragic news about the 75-year old Mrs. Bloch, what in fact can Israel do? A: I would not discuss what are the options that are open to Israel but I would like to stress very clearly that the full responsibility will be put on the Ugandan government.” Addressing the United Nations Security Council in New York on July 9, 1976, Uganda’s foreign minister, Lt. Colonel Juma Oris Abdallah explained the circumstances of Bloch’s disappearance from Uganda’s point of view: “Up to the time of Israeli’s invasion in the early hours of Sunday, July 4, President Amin had succeeded in having more than half the hostages released. In his humanitarian efforts my President was concerned not only with the release of all hostages but also about their welfare… …It was in this spirit that Mrs. Dora Bloch, who had a piece of food stuck in her throat, was immediately rushed to Uganda’s best hospital for medical treatment. When she got better in the evening of Saturday, 3 July, she was returned by the medical authorities to the old Entebbe airport to join the other hostages…. …In accordance with the understanding given by the Uganda Government to the hijackers, this was done in order not to jeopardize the lives of the hostages who were at that time still at Entebbe airport. The Israelis committed a naked act of aggression by invading Entebbe airport where the hostages, including Mrs Bloch, were being held by the hijackers.” Because the Amin regime was already much maligned in the eyes of the world, even if Lt. Colonel Oris was speaking the truth, it was much easier to dismiss this statement as a coverup and a distortion of the truth in order to absolve the “murderous regime.” President Amin was trained in Israel as a paratrooper. He was brought to power by an Israeli- and British-sponsored coup in 1971. He, more than most Ugandans, knew firsthand what the Israelis could do when angered, how swift they were to deliver justice, and how world opinion since the holocaust leaned toward them. He would have known that to harm in any way Mrs. Bloch would have invited drastic action from Israel, perhaps before long a coup to depose him and perhaps assassinate him. As erratic as Amin often was, he was a hard-nosed realist. It was not for nothing that he had survived numerous coups and assassination attempts. He would not have clumsily ordered his men to kill Bloch, knowing how this would horrify world opinion. In fact, what Amin was more likely to do would have been to carry on acting as a benefactor to the hostages, playing the role of a kind-hearted, concerned African leader. He would have wanted to visit Mulago hospital, show concern for the elderly woman, with Ugandan television cameras to record the event. Having lost the crisis to the Israelis after they raided Entebbe, there was nothing left to bargain with. Amin could only have one last chance to look like a statesman, by making it appear that he was considerate to the hostages but an ungrateful and aggressive Israel returned his kindness with an invasion. Dora Bloch alive would have been far better for Amin than her dead or injured. And here we must remember that even Mossad’s own report on Amin mentioned his “control” over his soldiers, thus ruling out the possibility that some over-zealous army officers decided to retaliate against Israel by murdering Bloch. What then was Israel’s version of what happened? Rabin was the Israeli army chief of staff during the spectacular six-day Arab-Israeli war of June 1967 just nine years earlier. He had been elected Prime Minister partly on the basis of his standing as a resolute war hero. Not only was the Entebbe hostage crisis a test of Israel’s resolve against its enemies. To be seen as giving in to terrorist groups and hostile governments would have been regarded as encouraging these enemies of Israel to grow bolder. By the end of July it was evident to all that Bloch had probably died in Uganda. And yet Israel did not take the kind of retaliatory action against Amin that the country is feared for in the Middle East — its policy of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Had Israel hit at Uganda for a second time, it would have been given more support around the world than what it got during the hostage crisis. This second military operation would be easier to execute because there would be no need to agonize over the potential for putting Israeli citizens in Uganda in harm’s way. Israel, a nation formed out of the ashes of the holocaust during the Second World War, learned through tragedy to value every single Jewish life. As they contemplated a raid on Entebbe, the Israeli government and military officials must have been agonizing to know that should the operation go wrong, some or all of the hostages they had come to rescue would end up dead. Every effort had to be made to keep the hostages as far from harm’s way as possible. This, no doubt, would have included Dora Bloch in hospital in Kampala. 90 Minutes At Entebbe says on page 123: “In the hospital where Dora Bloch had been taken, another British diplomat, Peter Chandley, checked to make sure she was safe. The elderly woman was sleeping quietly. The nurses said she was well and could rejoin her Flight 139 passengers later. Chandley said nothing to the staff about the raid and they seemed to know nothing about it. No non-Ugandan would see her alive again.” Why did Israel drop the subject of Dora Bloch soon after the July 1976 raid on Entebbe and why did the subject of what happened to her only re-surface after the fall of Amin? During Amin’s 25-year exile in Saudi Arabia after 1979, Israel never made an issue of the death of Dora Bloch. There were no reports of Israel demanding Amin’s extradition to Jerusalem to stand trial for the alleged murder by his men of the elderly hostage. In the 1980s, Israel and its sworn enemy the Islamic Republic of Iran undertook top secret arms deals in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, indicating that Israel had the pragmatism to talk to even its enemies. Saudi Arabia is almost pro-Israel when compared with Iran. It would not, therefore, have been an impossibility for Israel to enter talks with the Saudi authorities concerning the extradition of Amin to face justice in Israeli courts. Why did none of these events take place? If Amin’s director of intelligence, Farouk Minawa, was positively identified dragging Bloch screaming out of Mulago that Sunday morning in full view of the public, how come there has never been a manhunt for him in Libya where he has lived in exile since 1979? Israel went to great lengths in 1961 to abduct the former Nazi official, Adolf Karl Eichmann, from Argentina to stand trial in Israel. Israel could have easily managed the same in Uganda, a far less sophisticated country. One of the best proofs that Farouk Minawa did not drag Bloch from hospital was given by Abraham Kisuule-Minge in his April 1979 TIME account, in which he said Bloch was brought to him. As director of the national intelligence agency, Minawa hardly needed to come to Mulago hospital himself to arrest an elderly woman who posed no security or physical threat to anyone. And if reports of her being dragged out of hospital are true, it suggests that Bloch — at 74 and ill and weak enough to be hospitalised — resisted her kidnapping vigorously enough to require two strong men to resort to dragging her out. Hardly believable. Why is mention of Farouk Minawa’s name almost subdued even in latter records on Bloch’s presumed death? Can it be believed that the Israeli army that regularly demolishes Palestinian homes and buildings in the West Bank after a single Israeli soldier is shot dead by demonstrators, can be the same army to remain quiet for almost three years after Bloch’s death, knowing positively who killed her and knowing that a move to arrest Minawa will be very popular both at home and with the worldwide Jewish community, and even among most Ugandans? A photographer with the government-owned newspaper, the Voice of Uganda, James (“Jimmy”) Parma had taken photographs of the body of Dora Bloch and in order to conceal the evidence, Parma was murdered by unknown people. For Parma to have taken photographs of Bloch’s body, he had to have come close enough to the scene. That means he must have been permitted to take the photographs. Had Amin’s soldiers killed her, in the first place Parma would have been waved away from even attempting to take the photographs. Knowing the political situation of the 1970s and the reports of a murderous government in power, Jimmy Parma would have known better than to venture to take photographs of Bloch’s body, when he would have understood the consequences, if indeed it was Farouk Minawa who dragged the elderly woman to her death. If the story of Parma taking photographs is true, it is possible that the pictures he took were not of a dead Bloch, but of Bloch being dragged out of Mulago hospital by the mysterious killers. Parma worked for a government newspaper in a military government that practically every news orgnisation, academic institute, and world government considered a dictatorship. Parma was no investigative journalist working for a private newspaper and intent on estblishing for himself what had happened to Bloch. He was just doing his job and was assigned by his editors to take the photographs. These editors knew the government position on the issues of the day. Whatever the nature of the photographs he took of Bloch, they were only and could only have been of the kind that made the government look reasonable and even heroic perhaps. He would not have been assigned to take a single photograph that did otherwise. If he had ventured out on his own initiative to take damaging photographs that incriminated the government, there is a high chance that not only Parma but many of his supervisors and senior editors would have been killed by the government. After all, how was anybody to be sure that Parma had not already smuggled the photographs or negatives to his editors or out of the country to an overseas news photo agency like Camerapix or AP/Wide World? Apart from Parma, no other reporter or editor of the Voice of Uganda was killed. This leaves only one interpretation to us: Jimmy Parma took photographs of Dora Bloch looking healthy, being attended to by Ugandan soldiers and medical personnel, probably smiling, and in no way harassed. That is what a government-owned newspaper in a dictatorship would want to see published in the next day’s edition. For a government photographer to come close enough to Bloch to take her photos, could only mean that at the time he took photos of her, she was being well-treated, safe, healthy, confirming what the Ugandan foreign minister Juma Oris had told the United Nations Security Council. Whoever killed Parma did so for either of two reasons. The first, because Parma’s photographs captured those people dragging Bloch to her death and these were not government officials; or they showed Bloch looking well, thus contradicting the reports given that she had been killed by the Amin regime. For an answer to this puzzle and the reports that two men dragged Bloch from her Mulago hospital bed, we look at a detail that TIME magazine included in its July 19, 1976 news story on the daring Israeli raid on Entebbe: “The preparations…began almost as soon as the Air France Airbus, which had been seized on a flight from Tel Aviv to Paris, landed in Uganda. Within 48 hours, the Mossad, Israel’s CIA, had slipped three black undercover agents into Entebbe and two into Kampala, the nearby capital. They sent Jerusalem a constant flow of intelligence, including photographs, about what the terrorists were doing and how the Ugandan army was deployed….Rabin’s go-ahead came with less than 24 hours remaining before the skyjackers’ Sunday afternoon deadline…The Mossad operatives cut Entebbe’s communication links with the outside world and “decommissioned” the control tower, including the airfield’s radar.” Who could these five black agents have been? Were they Black Ethiopian-Israelis? Might they have been Black Americans sent to Entebbe and Kampala because they could blend in unnoticed among the generally Black Ugandan population? 90 Minutes At Entebbe gave more specific details on their identity that TIME magazine: “Black African agents hired by Israel’s Mossad reinforced the last-minute reports on Entebbe’s defences and conditions. The rescue pilots needed to know the serviceability of runways, the location of fuel tanks (should there be time to draw from them), and the degree of alertness in the control towers — one of which took care of Uganda’s fighter squadrons based on the old part of the airfield.” (page 77) Black African agents? This brings us closer to the heart of the matter. The only black African agents who could be relied upon to know Entebbe International Airport intimately enough to provide Mossad with vital and accurate information, could have been Ugandans. Moreover, for these black agents to also be able to pass unquestioned or unsuspected through sensitive high security areas, checkpoints, and military installations both at the airport and control tower, they would have had to be either military officers or intelligence agents. Who else but these men could have cut off Entebbe’s communication links with the outside world and rendered useless the airfield radar? There is every possibility that Israel dropped mention of the subject of Dora Bloch and surprisingly — apart from a routine condemnation of Amin — took no action against the Ugandan military leader after Bloch’s disappearance for what can be only one reason: there must have been a Mossad operation to snatch her from Mulago hospital. There could have been a plan to either return Bloch to the airport so that she could be rescued by the Israeli commandos along with the other hostages, or a plan to take her to the British High Commission for her safety until a later time when she would be flown out by the British government. During that Mossad operation, something might have gone terribly wrong with her. Her condition might have deteriorated or she might have suffered a heart attack and thus the rescue effort from Mulago ended in disaster. To forestall a public outcry in Israel against the government, there must have been a cover-up and it was blamed on the man, Idi Amin, whom anyone coul easily have laid the blame on. What is now clear, from these facts compiled is that Dora Bloch’s death was not the work of Amin or any of his army officers. But who were these two Black men who tried to drag Bloch from the hospital? Deaths of Archbishop Janani Luwum, Charles Oboth-Ofumbi, Wilson Oryema On February 5, 1977, agents of the State Research Bureau went to the home of the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Janani Luwum. They were searching for arms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition allegedly hidden in Luwum’s home by coup plotters. Apparently, there had been a plot hatched in Tanzania to launch a coup against Amin during the June 1977 celebrations to mark the centenary of the Protestant Anglican faith in Uganda. From all accounts to date, the plot was hatched by Milton Obote and some of his close supporters, in collaboration with a number of Anglican church leaders, including Archbishop Luwum and the Bishop of Bukedi diocese (and later Archbishop), Yona Okoth. A large cache of arms was shipped into Uganda using the facilities and vehicles of a Ugandan clearing and forwarding company, Transocean. The arms were hidden in the premises of the Archbishop’s home in Namirembe, in Kampala. In Dar es Salaam, Museveni who, as has already been explained, was constantly in the company of and obtained information from Tanzanian intelligence, got to know about the plot. Museveni then contacted a Ugandan Tutsi named Jackson Kyarikunda and told him of the plot by the Kikosi Maluum to overthrow Amin, using the cover of the Anglican church leaders. After Museveni learned of the Anglican plot against Amin, he was furious at being upstaged by Obote and also that Obote was still a force enough to rally such plots. Museveni decided to thwart Obote’s plot by leaking it to Kyarikunda, an agent in the State Research Bureau. Kyarikunda then told it to the director of the State Research Bureau, Lieutenant-Colonel Farouk Minawa. Minawa briefed the President about the plot. Amin invited the Archbishop Luwum and his wife Mary to the presidential retreat at Cape Town Villas outside Kampala City. There, Amin lectured the clergyman: “Forget all about your subversive activities and preach the word of God.” On February 14, 1977, Amin anounced to the world that a plot to assassinate him and stage a coup “with Chinese-type weapons smuggled in from Tanzania” had been uncovered. Radio Uganda reported that another cache of arms had been uncovered in Gulu town, while other arms were found near the home of Bishop Yona Okoth in Tororo. That same day, a large public rally was held on the grounds of the Nile Mansions hotel in Kampala. The news media, the foreign diplomats, the intelligence service, and hundreds of soldiers were invited to the rally. President Amin attended it along with vice president General Mustapha Adrisi and virtually the entire cabinet. The army’s chief of combat operations, Brigadier Isaac Maliyamungu, oversaw the proceedings. President Amin said that “even some ministers are going to be arrested. And some people who may be church leaders will be arrested, charged and tried.” Seated in the front row was the minister of health, Henry Kyemba, who would later in a book describe himself as “looking grim” that day as he watched events unfold, much to his dismay. Two days later, the government announced that Luwum, Oboth-Ofumbi, and Oryema had overpowered the driver of the Toyota Celica they were being driven in and in the struggle, the car had crashed, killing all three of them. At a press conference later in the week, the driver of the car, Major Moses (“Fifi”) Okello appeared in pyjamas and walking with the aid of crutches. President Amin addressed the press and attempted to absolve the government of the deaths of the three men. Accounts that emerged after the fall of the Amin regime given by exiles now back home, confirmed that there was, indeed, such a plot and the Anglican church leadership was involved. Another account unknown to many was the dimension of Charles Oboth-Ofumbi. Oboth-Ofumbi was particularly close to the Israelis and he and his wife had gone on a tour of Israel during which she visited a Kibbutz. He had confided in close friends in early February 1977 that something important was underway. At one point, he told one of his friends: “I will either come back dead or as President of Uganda.” Idi Amin had been married to four Christian women, Sarah Mariam Kibedi, Sarah Kyolaba, Norah Amin, and Kay Adroa Amin. The director of the State Research Bureau, Lieutenant-Colonel Farouk Minawa, was also married to a Christian woman from the Baganda tribe. Amin’s first cabinet in 1971 had many Christians and hardly any Muslims. Amin and Minawa, even if Muslim, could not therefore have been fundamentally anti-Christian. Amin knew the consequences of harming the Archbishop in a country with a population 92 percent Christian. He knew the uproar that even their arrest would bring upon him and his government. This was such a sensitive case that could only be handled by the most public, painstakingly fair trial, for Amin to be left with any credibility. Who is it that made sure that the archbishop and the two cabinet ministers were silenced before they could speak in court and reveal details of the coup and assassination plot? There were many reasons for Kyemba’s grim look. FRONASA agents in the State Research Bureau Kyarikunda, the man to whom Museveni leaked details of the plot, was a typical example of FRONASA’s role in undermining the credibility of Amin’s government. Kyarikunda’s parents had come to Uganda from Rwanda as exiles following the 1959 Hutu revolution. Kyarikunda had been a member of the 1960s student group known as the National Union of Students of Uganda (NUSU). He was later to join the counter-intelligence service under Obote, the General Service Unit. An intelligence officer named Yoweri Museveni might well have recruited him into the GSU in 1970. When Amin took power in 1971, the GSU was disbanded and replaced by the State Research Bureau. Kyarikunda then joined the State Research Bureau. He was later stationed in Fort Portal town in Toro, in western Uganda as a Battalion Intelligence Officer. During his time in Fort Portal, Kyarikunda was implicated in atrocities against the ordinary people, including the murder of nine prominent businessmen in Fort Portal. He was later transferred back to the State Research Bureau headquarters in Kampala. Although Kyarikunda was nominally a State Research Bureau agent, his real assignment was that of an agent of FRONASA, headed by Museveni. Kyarikunda was a FRONASA agent whom Museveni planted inside Amin’s intelligence services in order to gather first-hand information on the workings of the government, but also to commit the kinds of atrocities that would blemish Amin’s reputation. This is what lends credence to the possibility that Lieutenant Silver Tibahika — mentioned already in the July 1971 episode of the murder of two Americans in Mbarara — was also a FRONASA agent planted in the Uganda Army by Museveni. In 1977, a British-born confidante of the Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta, a former agriculture minister Bruce McKenzie visited Uganda and met President Amin. McKenzie, a former Special Air Services commander in the British army, a Kenyan white farmer, and a Jew was also reported to be working for Mossad. What had McKenzie come to discuss with Amin? He might have been in Kampala to help heal Kenyan-Ugandan relations following the Israeli raid on Entebbe. Being a Jew and working for Mossad, McKenzie might also have been trying to follow up on the fate of Dora Bloch, perhaps knowing all along that Amin had nothing to do with her death or disappearance. While he was at State House in Entebbe, Jackson Kyarikunda quietly went and planted a bomb inside a clay sculpture of a lion’s head. The sculpture was to be given to McKenzie as a present. As the private plane carrying McKenzie back to Nairobi cruised over Lake Victoria, it blew up killing all aboard. Reports, as usual, blamed the murder of McKenzie on Amin and said the bomb had been planted in the sculpture by Amin henchman, Major Bob Astles. That report was later to be proved untrue. At the same time that McKenzie was boarding his plane for the flight back to Nairobi, Major Ngarambi, another Rwandan-Ugandan Tutsi agent working for FRONASA but posing as a State Research Bureau officer, ambushed Astles near a building called Kevina House along Entebbe Road in Kampala and held him there for several hours. Why would Ngarambi do this to one of President Amin’s leading advisors? He did that in order to hold Astles up for as long as possible and thus prevent him from rushing to Entebbe and warning the security in Entebbe of the plot to blow up the plane carrying McKenzie. Could McKenzie have come to investigate a possible role by Museveni in the death of Dora Bloch? Very likely, Kyarikunda and Ngarambi were the same Black agents who were stationed by Mossad in Kampala within two days of the Air France plane landing at Entebbe and who were mentioned in the TIME news report. There have been reports that during the 1970s, Museveni was being used by the Mossad and the United States Central Intelligence Agency in their moves against Idi Amin. Some observers have remarked at how well Museveni’s FRONASA was able to carry out its activities, and yet Museveni is well know to be a somewhat poor administrator. Museveni, if these reports are true, might have contacted and offered his FRONASA agents within the State Research Bureau to work as double agents for Mossad during the hostage crisis at Entebbe. At the time of the Israeli attack on Entebbe, Museveni was still in Uganda three weeks after his abortive attempt to kill Amin with three hand grenades at Nsambya police barracks on June 10. He would have been on hand, secretly coordinating the subversion of Amin’s government during the hostage crisis. Whatever the reason for murdering and silencing McKenzie, Kyarikunda and Ngarambi working on orders of their overall FRONASA commander Yoweri Museveni in Tanzania, might have had a hand in the death of Dora Bloch. If that story is true, these FRONASA agents were the two men who were seen dragging the terrified Bloch from Mulago hospital to her death, which was then blamed on Farouk Minawa and Nasur Odonga. However, the complicated picture hardly stops there. Kyarikunda, it turned out, was not simply a double agent working for both Amin and Museveni’s FRONASA; he had also retained an emotional attachment to Obote and also worked as a spy for Obote. Early in 1979, before the Tanzanian-led forces overthrew Amin’s regime, Kyarikunda defected from the State Research Bureau and joined the invading Tanzanian/UNLA forces when they reached Mpigi town. FRONASA leader Yoweri Museveni warmly welcomed him. The FRONASA leader, however, had an urgent assignment for Kyarikunda: he was charged with identifying State Research Bureau agents from among the prisoners of war captured by the Tanzanians. No doubt these agents were later murdered by FRONASA, not because they had committed atrocities against Ugandans but because they would have known whom it was who really ordered the killings of innocent Ugandans as a tactic of besmirching Amin. Later in 1979, the new army chief of staff, Lieutenant-Colonel David Oyite Ojok, arrested Kyarikunda over the murder of the nine businessmen in Fort Portal. Might the same Kyarikunda to whom Museveni leaked the coup plot have had a hand in the deaths of the three prominent men, Luwum, Oryema, and Oboth-Ofumbi? There is every possibility. And the Amin government, having discovered that the three men were dead before it had a chance to prosecute them in court, decided to fake the car accident involving the State Research Bureau, Major Moses Okello, since it could not explain what could have happened to them while they were under arrest. A State of Blood, Henry Kyemba, 1977: the FRONASA connection On September 13, 1977 in London, Obote’s former Principal Private Secretary and Amin’s former Minister of Health, Henry Kyemba, published a book titled A State of Blood, in which he catalogued the many atrocities of the Amin regime. It is the book that was responsible, more than any other, of causing Amin to be labeled with the evil reputation that is now a matter of record. A State of Blood estimated the number of people killed by the Amin regime at between 150,000 and 180,000. Another book, Lust to Kill – the Rise and Fall of Idi Amin, by Andrew Cameron and Joseph Kamau, published in 1979, also reported the same death figures. However, in a 170-page report published on May 18, 1977, the International Commission of Jurists had declared that between 80,000 and 90,000 people had perished under the military government. The question is, why were all figures being published about the victims of the regime so glaringly contradictory? In 1972 FRONASA had claimed the figure stood at 83,000, the International Commission of Jurists put it at between 80,000 and 90,000, and now Kyemba had it as between 150,000 and 180,000. FRONASA estimated the number of people dead by late 1972 at 83,000. How did this new rebel group get to this estimate? Were there records? It is worth noting that FRONASA became the first group, organisation, or agency anywhere in the world to give a specific figure for the number of people killed by Amin’s regime. If records of such a large number of dead existed, FRONASA would presumably have wished for that to be known and so would have published as many names as possible. It might, for instance, have attached an appendix to its manifesto listing hundreds of the names of people who had been killed. It is strange that a guerrilla group that claimed to know that 83,000 people had been killed by the Amin regime could only list a handful of names in their manifesto. Why did they not publish and distribute the names of these unfortunate victims over the next few years, in order to help Ugandans understand the brutality that was their fate under Amin? How come even after Amin was ousted in April 1979, these lists of Amin’s victims were never published? It would have been in FRONASA’s interest to let as many Ugandans see as many names of Amin’s victims as possible in order to whip up the anti-government mood and perhaps get more men to enlist with FRONASA. None of this happened and the full or even partial list of Amin’s murder victims has never been seen or published. In one of the proofs that the western news media was being supplied with news from Uganda intended to malign the military leader, TIME magazine in reporting on the Israeli raid on Entebbe in its July 19, 1976 edition, said: “Survivors of Amin’s jails tell horror stories of prisoners sledgehammered to death by fellow inmates who were then forced to eat the flesh of those they had just killed. There are reports that whole villages have been machine-gunned, and the bodies fed to crocodiles.” None of those survivors of Amin’s jails has ever come out and named prisoners who had been killed in that gory way and if indeed it is true that they were made to eat human flesh. In its March 7, 1977 edition, TIME wrote: “In one particularly vengeful operation, Amin’s marines were said to have killed every civilian they could find in Akoroko, the native village of Milton Obote.” That we know, of course, is not true. Obote’s village remained populated all through Amin’s time in office as it is today. In an interesting sidebar in the same March 7 issue, TIME failed to notice the contradiction in its own story. John Osman, the East Africa correspondent of the British Broadcasting Corporation and other British journalists spent a day in the company of Amin. Osman filed this story for TIME on this encounter, which was published on pages 20 and 21: “It was a quiet Friday afternoon at Entebbe airport, near Kampala. President Amin…took us in his Range Rover for a personally conducted tour of the still bullet- and bazooka-shattered section of Entebbe airport, where Israeli troops last July staged their stunningly successful raid to rescue hijack hostages from pro-Palestinian kidnappers…My guided tour began when I was being driven from Kampala to Entebbe in [Amin’s aide Major Bob Astles’] car. The President passed by on the other side of the road in his Range Rover, stopped, turned round and joined us as we also stopped. He ordered out of his vehicle his bodyguard, an Acholi, from the tribe that, it is alleged, is being massacred in northern Uganda.” The BBC’s John Osman tells us that Amin was being guarded by “his bodyguard, an Acholi.” It is vital that we take note of the setting. Here was Amin at the wheel of his car. John Osman’s report gives the impression that there was no heavy security presence around the President or else in Uganda’s militarised atmosphere he would have mentioned the presence of menacing bodyguards wearing dark glasses. Amin was, therefore, traveling alone accompanied by a bodyguard from one of the two tribes that Amin was supposed to have spent six years persecuting. Amin was at the wheel of the vehicle and as such, the bodyguard was more in control than Amin. There had been 13 assassination attempts on Amin between January 1971 and February 1977. Two prominent Acholi, Uganda’s Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum and the minister for water and mineral resources, Lt. Colonel Wilson Erinayo Oryema, had just been implicated in a coup attempt against Amin and died. And yet Amin still casually drove himself about, caring little for security. He could have been shot dead by this bodyguard to avenge the murder of his tribesmen. But he was not. Does this not say something about Amin and how much Uganda’s history has been distorted? How did Kyemba and the other compile
– Posted By Boyi Yobbo on 10/24/2009
How did Kyemba and the other compilers of the Amin record come to catalogue these grisly acts? How did he get to know in such detail what Amin’s killers in the State Research Bureau had done or were doing? The answer is that Kyemba was fed this information by FRONASA. As a matter of fact, if most names of Amin’s supposed murder victims listed in A State of Blood were to be substituted for Museveni’s name, then the true picture of Museveni’s callous and utterly ruthless mind would be understood. As a general rule when reading A State Of Blood, it is important to bear in mind Kyemba’s connection with FRONASA. In writing that book and highlighting instances of Amin’s supposed brutality, Kyemba would have been laying emphasis on those deeds done by FRONASA in order to blemish the Amin government. In January 1971 when the coup took place, Obote’s Principal Private Secretary Henry Kyemba was part of the Ugandan presidential delegation in Singapore. Kyemba flew to Tanzania with Obote and other aides. While in Dar es Salaam, Kyemba met Museveni. During their converation, the two men decided that Kyemba returns to Uganda to continue working for the government under Amin. But in that position to know the inner workings of the Amin government, Kyemba would provide information secretly to FRONASA and generally work to undermine Amin from within his own office. That is how Kyemba’s assessment of the Amin years came to match the exact assessment by FRONASA. However, Kyemba did not know that Amin’s inner intelligence was trained and advised by Staasi, the counter-intelligence service of the then East Germany. Painstaking in their work and detail, Staasi helped Amin uncover the people working to undermine his government from inside, one of whom was Kyemba and this is what prompted Kyemba to flee into exile in London in 1977 from where he wrote his account of the Amin years. For clues to what grisly deeds that FRONASA undertook, these received special mention and emphasis in A State Of Blood. In a Radio Uganda broadcast on November 20, 1977, Amin issued orders for the following people to be brought back to Uganda “dead or alive” to face crimminal charges at home: Henry Kyemba, former Ugandan ambassador to France Paulo Muwanga, former attorney general Godfrey Binaisa, former Justice minister Godfrey Lule, and former ambassador to the United Kingdom, Fred Isingoma. This is the way the matter was analysed by the Africa Contemporary Record: “Amin was silent about his former brother-in-law and ex-Foreign Minister, Wanume Kibedi, and his other ex-Foreign Minister, Princess Elizabeth Bagaya of Toro. And he did not mention ex-President Milton Obote, whom he probably fears the most.” (Africa Contemporary Record, 1977-78, page B. 446-447) Why did Amin single out Kyemba, Muwanga, Lule, Isingoma, and Binaisa, and not the more obvious opponent of his regime, Milton Obote? The men mentioned in that November 20 Radio Uganda broadcast were some of the key figures in the anti-Amin propaganda being spread around the world. Binaisa and Lule as lawyers are likely to have been the people who provided Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists with the “estimates” of the number of people killed under Amin’s rule. Paulo Muwanga was another architect of some of the assassination plots against Amin. That Amin did not mention Obote among the prominent exiles whom the Uganda government wanted “dead or alive”, reinforces an extremely important point: it is that Amin had one of the best intelligence services in Africa at the time. Although many of the letters and phone calls that “implicated” prominent Ugandan government officials and businessmen were supposedly written by David Oyite-Ojok and Milton Obote, President Amin was informed enough to know that these “letters” were hoaxes. Otherwise, Obote would have topped the list of people Amin wanted to face crimminal charges. Oyite-Ojok, whose names appeared on most of these letters supposedly indicating that he was working with a particular civil servant or politician, would certainly have been mentioned by Amin in that November 20 broadcast. Why was Henry Kyemba mentioned as one of those people Amin wanted to have face crimminal charges? The answer is that already explained: Kyemba was a FRONASA agent working from inside the Amin administration, whose chief work of sabotage became the book, A State Of Blood. Once Kyemba’s key role as a FRONASA man is understood, it unlocks the clear interpretation of the events in Uganda during the Idi Amin years. We begin to look afresh at all the murder and assassination cases highlighted in the book A State Of Blood and ask why they were highlighted. We start to wonder what propaganda value FRONASA hoped to reap by having their agent Kyemba publish these stories. We start to wonder if these murders and disappearances of prominent Ugandans, as has been demonstrated so far, were mainly the work of FRONASA. To understand that is to better understand the Idi Amin years. This story, then, is of how Idi Amin, a man who came to power in 1971 with only the best intentions for Uganda on his mind and a wish to see Africa strong and progressive, ended up as one of the most maligned and despised leaders in history. If the contrast between the truth and the distortion is to be measured, then there have rarely been more people whose image has been as tarnished as that of Idi Amin. Amin’s naivety, low education, and inexperience were taken advantage of and exploited and as a result, his regime has gone down condemned in history and even the most authoritative and respected encycolpedias and works of reference have ingrained in stone Amin’s supposed crimes against humanity. Among Uganda’s heads of state, none before and none since has been as sincere in their motivation as Amin was. None too has been as naïve as was Amin, and this more than any other reason, including the allegations that he was a mass murderer, was to prove his undoing. No matter how many different versions of the number of people killed by Amin have been stated and mentioned, on average the actual number of individual names of people the public knew or had heard about remains between 50 and 120. Various books were published on Amin and his legacy by different authors representing different political leanings and in some cases academic backgrounds. The picture of the number of dead and the specific victims listed was always the same: Amin was a butcher who killed “between 300,000 and 500,000 people” but the actual names mentioned remain less than 200 people. This is indeed astonishing: when we bear in mind the legend of evil that Amin has become as recounted in the history books, it is staggering that with reports of “an estimated 300,000 people killed”, there has never been a single list of any kind published or reported about anywhere in the world that gave the names of the people who were directly or indirectly killed by Amin as many as 200 people! Seldom in human history has there been such complete deception as this and a deception that was believed and is still believed by some of the world’s most brilliant investigative journalists, police detectives, historians, military analysts, and researchers. The main lesson for all history from the eight-year rule of Amin is not in the decline of a once-promising African nation, Uganda. It is not even in what has been the main story of that decade, the reign of terror blamed on Amin and his henchmen. When all the distorted history is corrected one day, when all the facts have been corroborated and revealed, when the many assumptions and generalisations have been swept aside and the events of Idi Amin’s rule better understood, the most astounding and enduring story of significance will be how hollow a world this is. It will be the story of how the world was deceived about the truth of events in an East African country and how this deception that could have been checked by diligent scrutiny went on to become the permanent record of Uganda and Amin. The tragic history of Uganda, viewed two hundred years into the future will be understood not in terms of the lives lost and the nation’s vibrancy snuffed out, but how possible — and unbelievably easy too — it is to tell a lie to the entire human race and that race believes it. It will be the story that reminds us that no matter how advanced technology gets, how far wide modern scientific education and inquiry spreads and what strides are made in the adancement of knowledge, mankind remains, at the heart, a simple creature, far from perfect. The extent of this distortion of Ugandan history will be examined further in the next section of this treatise. The answer to this question of who then committed or masterminded the atrocities during the 1970s can be summarised this way: there was no such thing as Idi Amin in the 1970s spreading terror amongst the Ugandan population and horrifying the world. Idi Amin was Yoweri Museveni. Once that is understood, the next chapter of Uganda’s dark history is better understood in all its horrible detail. Part 2: The fall of Amin and the UNLF period What caused the 1978 Kagera invasion? On April 19, 1978, the vice president of Uganda, General Mustapha Adrisi, was involved in a serious motor accident. He was flown by the government to Cairo, Egypt, for treatment. Immediately after the accident, rumours began to spread that the accident had been arranged by Amin because of “tensions” between the two men over the allocation of the scarce foreign currency in the central bank. According to these reports, even after Adrisi returned to Uganda, tensions with Amin continued to grow. Amin, the reports said, had to find a quick scapegoat. On October 30, 1978, President Idi Amin ordered the army to invade Tanzania to claim the Kagera province for Uganda. It was the climax to more that seven years of tensions and open hostility between Uganda and Tanzania. When we examine deeply the invasion of the Kagera by Amin, something about it feels unreal and hard to believe. Most accounts of the invasion given in newspapers, magazines, and the history books have said the invasion was an attempt by Amin to divert his army from growing tensions and the threat of mutiny. It has been written that a supposed fallout between Amin and vice president Adrisi led to the maneouvres that in turn resulted in two opposing factions of the army ending up in northwestern Tanzania. Another theory set forth to explain the Kagera invasion was presented in January 1979 by the former President Milton Obote, in a paper which he titled “Statement on the Uganda situation.” In this paper, Obote reviewed developments in Uganda over the eight years since he was ovethrown by Amin. Here are Obote’s observations on what might have happened: “There is plenty of evidence to show that the recent invasion of Tanzania was a desperate measure to extricate Amin from consequences of the failure of his own plots against his own army. The immediate story begins in early October, 1978 when Amin was told of a plot by some officers and men from the Simba Battalion in Mbarara in western Uganda. The plot was to have him arrested or killed on or about the 9th October 1978. Not long before, Amin had sent murder squads composed of men from the infamous State Research and the marines regiment to massacre soldiers of the Chui Battalion in Gulu, northern Uganda on the ground that those soldiers supported General Mustapha Adrisi. Someone within Amin’s inner circle sent a warning to the Chui Battalion. On their way to Gulu the murder squads were ambushed and wiped out. Amin ordered the incident to be given maximum publicity on radio. The radio told Ugandans that a group of armed robbers had been killed by troops of the Chui Battalion. Unfortunately for Uganda, the chief robber himself was not amongst them. Amin even praised men of the Chui Battalion for what he called a splendid action. When the Simba plot became known, Amin chose to plot revenge on Chui for humiliating him. He ordered men of the Chui Battalion to go to Mbarara to put down a “mutiny”. That was when radio Uganda (Uganda broadcasting Corporation) first announced that Tanzanian troops of a battalion strength had invaded Uganda but that Ugandan troops were not engaging the Tanzanians! In fact the Chui Battalion was moving from Gulu to put down an imaginary mutiny at Mbarara and the Mbarara troops were later tipped to expect an attack from a force which was not disclosed. The Battle which Amin expected to develop between Chui and Simba battalions never took place because the two units had discovered the plot to have them kill one another. Amin became desperate. He now had at Mbarara two “Unreliable” units – Simba and Chui. He ordered his most loyal and best armed regiment, the marines, reinforced by a Brigade of newly passed out troops to go to Mbarara and disarm Simba and Chui Battalions. The subsequent battle saw the annihilation of the Brigade and the marines withdrew having been seriously mauled. Radio Uganda kept on with the lies of an invasion by Tanzania while in fact killer Amin was busy planning and ordering his own troops to massacre themselves. The defeat of the Marines by Simba and Chui compounded Amin’s desperation. He changed tactics. The new tactics was the actual invasion of Tanzania to be spearheaded by the Malire regiment. Malire began to move out of their barracks on 20th October, 1978. Troops were told that they would be free to take back any booty, and loot, women, movable property, cattle and anything they could carry…. ….Amin spoke and continues to speak of a second phase which would take his troops deep into Tanzania. In his utterances, he wanted Ugandans and the world at large to believe that his aggression against Tanzania and his conflict with the people of Uganda, constituted, one and the same issue. That certainly is not the case.” That was Obote’s statement on the situation inside Uganda late in 1978. The gist of Obote’s account, as with the one given just before it, hinges on a supposed power struggle between Amin and his vice president. Nobody, it seems, has ever bothered to ask why in all the years since the fall of the Amin regime, Adrisi has never mentioned any disagreements with Amin or drawn any connection between them and the invasion of Kagera. As already stated in the first section of this story, Radio France International spoke to Mustapha Adrisi on the morning of August 18, 2003, two days after the death of Amin in Saudi Arabia. Adrisi paid glowing tribute to Amin, saying the only problem he ever had was that Amin was “fond of telling lies.” He did not mention the alleged plot by Amin to assassinate him in the 1978 car accident. He did not then and has never even in several newspaper interviews since the end of their regime suggested that the invasion of Tanzania was the result of differences with Amin. In that Radio France interview, Adrisi said Amin was loved by the ordinary people and that Amin was not a killer. Adrisi would not have stated categorically that Amin was not a killer knowing well that he nearly lost his life in a car accident staged by Amin, if that was a true story. Adrisi as vice president was not such a powerful force as to constitute a real threat to Amin. Like many officers of the Uganda Army, Adrisi was very much subordinate to Amin and this is confirmed in the report on Amin compiled by Israel’s Mossad during the July 1976 Entebbe hostage crisis. Following the overthrow of Amin, Adrisi fled into exile in Sudan with his large family and only returned several years later, to live a humble and in some way impoverished live in his hometown of Arua. Once Amin was overthrown and became an international disgrace, there would have been no further incentive for Mustapha Adrisi to respect or show public support for Amin. On the contrary, it would have made Adrisi somewhat of a belated hero to play up the story that he had been involved in some kind of power struggle with Amin and that Amin’s desperation during that struggle had led him to divert his troops by staging an invasion of Kagera. Adrisi lived a near destitute life in exile in Sudan and any indication that he had stood up to the just overthrown monster of Uganda would have brought him sudden stardom and even a change in his desperate financial situation, with wellwishers offering him money for his courage in standing up to fascism. Certainly the Tanzanian government would have known, through its military intelligence, of this Adrisi bravery and treated him leniently. Adrisi has never come out and confirmed this supposed power struggle with Amin. This brings into doubt the credibility of that story. As for Obote’s claims that Amin encouraged his officers and men to plunder not only the homes of Tanzanians in Kagera in 1978, but also the homes of Ugandans living close to the border, they are contradicted by something nobody has ever disputed: when Amin was retreating from the advancing Tanzanian army in the final weeks of his rule: he did not embark on a looting spree as many Ugandans had feared. As a matter of fact, on April 10, 1979, the day before his government collapsed, he drove up north of Kampala toward Bombo town accompanied by some of his bodyguards. As he headed for Bombo, he kept stopping and greeting the people who came out to meet him. He gave away much of the money he had on him to those who came to greet him. He did not have piles of looted items with him and none of the accounts ever given of his fleeing have ever noted acts of looting or arson on his or his soldiers’ part. If, with the certainty of defeat in April 1979 Amin and his troops did not loot Uganda or carry off herds of cattle or bundles of looted property, it is difficult to believe that when they were less desparate and still controlled the government in 1978, they would have acted in the thuggish way suggested by Obote and (as we shall see), Museveni in their explanation of the havoc in Kagera. So, as we can now suspect, the rumours of an Amin-Adrisi confrontation were spread by the same kinds of people who had wrecked havoc on Amin and his government throughout the 1970s decade of subversion. Who exactly, though, would have had the cunning mind to orchestrate this set of events? Upon hearing news of Amin’s invasion of Tanzania, Museveni who was in Dar es Salaam celebrated and exclaimed: “Now my chance to be the president of Uganda has come! I will one day be president of Uganda even if I die in the process.” A Langi woman, Rose Akora, who was in the same place as Museveni in Dar es Salaam at the time later confirmed hearing him rejoice at the news of Amin’s invasion. Museveni himself in Sowing The Mustard Seed describes his feelings upon learning of the invasion: “Never since Amin’s coup in 1971 had I felt so buoyant as I did on the day following the invasion. I knew that Amin was finished…I remember walking along State House Drive in Dar es Salaam, on my way to consult with Edward Sokoine, with a feeling of complete satisfaction about the future course of events.” (page 93) The account given by Akora who overheard Museveni celebrate the invasion of Tanzania by Amin and Museveni’s own description of his sense of elation at the news, reveal what was going on in his mind. Of all the exiles working to overthrow Amin during the 1970s or simply living in Tanzania, Kenya, Europe, or North America, none has ever been quoted on record as rejoicing or otherwise celebrating Amin’s invasion of Kagera. All who came out and spoke about it, without exception, condemned Amin and expressed regret at the invasion. Museveni alone of all the exiles, is the one who not only did not condemn the Kagera attack; he welcomed it, in his own words, “with a feeling of complete satisfaction about the future course of events.” No news could have come at a better time for Museveni. He was starting to tire of the redundancy of coordinating secret guerrilla work that seemed to produce only negligible results. He was also having to live with the disappointment that came with the realisation that even with Amin’s growing international isolation, there was still up to late 1978 no sign that his regime was about to collapse. Most important, though, was how these dramatic events fitted into Museveni’s personal ambitions. He had always since his early 20s craved to one day be Uganda’s president. In light of these events and all previous events that took place in Uganda under Amin since 1971, we must approach Museveni with skepticism. If he was so successful at undermining Amin’s regime and managed to somehow shape world opinion of Amin, then Museveni was capable of anything. Might he have come up with a scheme to lure Amin into attacking Tanzania in order to trigger off a fierce counterattack and, perhaps, a fully fledged invasion to topple the military regime? The answer is suggested by Sowing The Mustard Seed, page 92 in which he fills in the blank spaces: “In August 1978, as part of the infiltration project, I visited Uganda again for the first time since 1973. I went with a man called Sabiiti to the border area of Kigaragara. We walked across the border at night, made some contacts and went back to Kakunyu village in Tanzania.” Would this have been the time Museveni was finalising his plans to tempt Amin into invading Tanzania? It seems so, for two reasons. The first we have already seen: Museveni was the only major exile for whom the invasion of Tanzania by Amin brought undisguised delight. The second comes in Museveni’s vague explanation of why Amin attacked Tanzania. It is the eye-opening key in understanding what happened. Here is the way he put it on page 92 of Sowing The Mustard Seed: “I think the main factor behind this invasion was the incapacity of Amin and his group. They must have merely been posturing: it could not have been that they underestimated the capacity of the Tanzanian army…Therefore, the explanation for this blunder must have been his ignorance…President Nyerere’s reaction was music to our ears…Nyerere sais that Amin’s attack had given Tanzanians the cause,…and they already had the will…and the means…to fight, having bought a great deal of Soviet equipment, including SAMs, MiG fighters and medium-range artillery. Amin had, therefore, played right into our hands.” Under normal circumstances, Museveni would have condemned Amin’s attack, seeking to convince the world that this brutal leader was a threat to peace and that is why they had decided to fight him right from the first day. Yet he did not. Instead, Museveni goes on to explain as the reasons for the invasion Amin’s ignorance, gullibility, and incompetence. Museveni is dismissive and scornful of Amin in that explanation. But he is, uncharacteristically, neither angry nor condemning. Why does Museveni not accuse Amin of invading Tanzania? Why does Museveni not tell us that the invasion was part of Amin’s bloodthirsty character and go on to remind us that this is the way Amin always was: a murderous butcher for whom human life had no value and Tanzanian citizens in Kagera were only the latest of this dictator’s victims? To attribute Amin’s invasion of Kagera to Amin’s “incapacity” given the fact that Amin is suppposed to have murdered 500,000 people in a reign of terror in Uganda, is such an understatement that it proves to be no statement at all, especially from a freedom fighter whose primary reason for opposing Amin was to stop the bloodletting in Uganda. This set of reasons advanced by Museveni leads unerringly to one verdict: Amin did not invade Tanzania because of a power struggle with Mustapha Adrisi; he did not invade Tanzania because he was an evil, bloodthirsty dictator; and he did not invade Tanzania because his indisciplined and poorly paid soldiers got out of hand. He invaded Tanzania because he was deliberately given false intelligence by Museveni through Museveni’s FRONASA agents stationed in Amin’s security system, well knowing that this would be, in Amin’s eyes, a “last straw” by the provocative Tanzania, which required that Uganda take preemptive action. That is why the usually judgemental Museveni, in this instance, was almost sympathetic to Amin, only pointing vaguely to Amin’s ignorance, not Amin’s dictatorial aggression. Confirmation of this is contained in this last line from Museveni’s explanation: “Amin had, therefore, played right into our hands.” To do that, Museveni would have had to supply Amin with false intelligence to the effect that Tanzania was planning a definite attack on Uganda. That could easily have been arranged using the FRONASA agents inside Amin’s State Research Bureau posing as intelligence officers. The scheme would have had to be as plausible as possible, with such pieces of “evidence” of an impending Tanzanian invasion as photographs of guerrillas posing as Tanzanian troops; perhaps faxes or telexes sent by Museveni from Tanzania purportedly from the Office of the President or the Tanzanian army headquarters. As Museveni explains, Tanzania had just acquired Soviet military equipment, photographs of which he could easily have obtained from his Tanzanian military intelligence sources. It would not have been out of question for Museveni to smuggle these photographs — of Tanzanian army leaders inspecting the military hardware — to Amin and his senior military commanders and explaining them to mean that Tanzania had assembled its equipment for an imminent attack on Uganda. Since the war, it has clearly emerged that the British government and the American secret services gave much support to the Tanzanian army in its battle against Amin. Museveni, no doubt, would have known about this from his close association with Tanzanian intelligence. Sure enough, that November Tanzania launched a counter-attack and on December 9, 1978, President Nyerere announced that the Tanzanian army, the TPDF, had repulsed the invading Ugandan army and driven it out of Tanzanian territory and back into Uganda. Atrocities and anarchy in Kagera However, we still need to find out something. If, as we can deduce, Amin invaded Tanzania not in anger or as a brutal, aggressive, inhuman act, who then caused the havoc, looting, and destruction in the Kagera area? Museveni explains what happened in Kagera on page 95 of Sowing The Mustard Seed: “All this time, Amin’s troops were massed on the north bank of the Kagera, looting and attacking villagers. Amin declared the Kagera Salient annexed and his troops looted the Kagera Sugar Mill and Mishenyi Ranch. The pastoralists of western Uganda believe that it was the cattle of Mishenyi Ranch…which put a curse on Amin because of the way they were treated. The cattle were driven all the way to Mbarara,…145 km away, and distributed to Amin’s clowns.” The Ugandan airforce might have bombed Kagera from the air and inflicted damage on the ground. Amin had announced that he was annexing the Kagera Salient and making it part of Ugandan territory. He would have had in mind the establishment of an administration there and a sense of law and order. He could not have been the same leader to instruct his troops to loot the Kagera Sugar Mill and Mishenyi livestock ranch. Furthermore, Amin has been known to have certain appetites: women, fast cars, and sports. Cars, especially, were a well-known indulgence of the Amin establishment in general. Cattle and animals of any sort are not what come to mind when the interests and indulgences of Amin and his henchmen are listed. What Amin’s troops might have done would have been to raid Mishenyi Ranch, slaughter cattle, and feast for days on end on beef roast at huge bonfires. The other thing would have been to ferry the cattle off to Kampala to make immediate money by selling beef in the city’s butcheries. Museveni, in creating this lie about Amin’s soldiers, did not stop to think that it would be most difficult to believe. There almost no single photograph ever taken anywhere that showed Idi Amin near cattle. The image of Amin’s officers interested enough in cattle to herd them away to Mbarara and take possession of them, does not fit with who they were. If indeed it is true that in the latter stages of his presidency, Amin’s army was predominantly West Nile and Sudanic in ethnic composition, then Museveni’s false account of the looting of cattle from Tanzania becomes more pronounced. There is no serious tradition in West Nile and southern Nubian Sudan of cattle. That cattle-keeping tradition belongs mainly among the Karamojong, Iteso, and Banyankole-Bahima and Ugandan Tutsi tribes. As just mentioned, the main value of cattle to Amin’s roving bands of soldiers would have been an impromptu feast at the border with Tanzania or selling the cattle off in Kampala to make quick money. Had Museveni accused Amin’s soldiers of looting cars, jeeps, or electronic equipment like televisions and music stereo systems from Tanzania, that perhaps would have been easier to believe. Drive cattle all the way to Mbarara to distribute among Amin’s West Nile and Sudanese army officers? Not likely. Which Ugandan army officer, though, has shown the greatest interest in cattle for the longest time and for whom cattle is a hobby, an obssession almost? The answer can be seen on the back cover or jacket photograph of Sowing The Mustard Seed as well as uncountable photographs of Museveni among his cows at his country home in Rwakitura, his ranch at Kisozi, clearly displaying a love for these animals that exceeds that of even the most ardently professional of veterinarians. In narrating what happened to the cattle looted from Mishenyi Ranch, Museveni gives himself away as the one who arranged to carry off the cattle, when he claims that Amin’s army took the stolen cattle 145 km away to Mbarara. So far in this treatise on Museveni, we have seen something of a pattern emerge — the bullets that killed Brig. Okoya in January 1970 came from army barracks in Mbarara; the two Americans Siedle and Stroh were killed in July 1971 in Mbarara; hundreds of Acholi and Langi army officers were murdered in 1971 in Mbarara; the September 1972 guerrilla invasion was launched and centred on Mbarara; the reprisals allegedly carried out by Amin’s army after the 1972 FRONASA-Kikosi Maluum invasion were mainly in Mbarara; and now in November 1978 cattle looted from Tanzania were allegedly being driven by Amin’s rampaging soldiers not to Kampala or Masaka or West Nile, but to Mbarara. Considering that Mbarara was in many ways Museveni’s home town, is it not a little too obvious that this all suggests the hand of Museveni in these events? We get further details of what Museveni ordered his FRONASA men to do in Kagera, in order to arouse the greatest anger and determination by the Dar es Salaam government not to simply drive Amin back across the border, but to come all the way to Kampala and overthrow him. On page 95 of his book, Museveni says: “On 3 November, Amin’s men eventually succeeded in blowing up the Kagera River Bridge at Kyaka, having lost several MiGs to Tanzanian anti-aircraft fire in the process…As the Tanzanian troops moved through the salient, they found grim evidence of its brief occupation by Amin’s thugs in the shape of decapitated and mutilated bodies of Tanzanian civilians.” A question must be asked here: Museveni is telling us on page 95 of his book that “Amin’s men eventually succeeded in blowing up the Kagera River Bridge at Kyaka, having lost several MiGs to Tanzanian anti-aircraft fire in the process.” Amin’s army was on the ground in Kagera where they had attempted without success at first to blow up the Kagera bridge but eventually succeeded in doing so. The same sentence says they had lost several MiG fighter planes to Tanzanian anti-aircraft gunfire. It seems here that the Tanzanian army and the Ugandan army were in the same area, almost within eye sight of each other. How? The Ugandan war planes were attempting to bomb Kagera mainly and were being met by Tanzanian anti-aircraft fire coming from the ground in Kagera. How could this be possible, unless Museveni is not telling the truth about what was happening then? The same Tanzanian army that was trying to shoot down Ugandan planes over Kagera might just as well have walked over and shot dead the Ugandan army that was trying to destroy the Kagera bridge or that was looting property in Kagera town. It is these sorts of unquestioned accusations against Amin and his army that have so discredited his legacy because there was little effort made to challenge or validate them. In trying to understand Museveni, it is important to look for a number of clues that he tends to leave along the way, traces of evidence clear from his way of doing things. First clue is that he often adopts an indignant and fiery moral stand, condemning the acts and blaming them on his political opponents or rivals. (There is one exception, which we shall examine shortly.) The greater the condemnation by Museveni of a particular atrocity, the greater the proof that it was actually done by him. Second, his pattern of atrocities is usually designed to cause the maximum amount of revulsion and horror in the minds of those reading or hearing about them. That, as we have already seen, is what FRONASA under Museveni’s orders did to prominent Ugandans during the Amin era. If Amin was afraid of a particular politician or guerrilla leader, it would have been enough to have him killed. To mutilate the body would have achieved nothing further, be it military or psychological. As seen already in Museveni’s 1971 paper glorifying violence as a political tool and a psychologically cleansing process, gory details, heads decapitated, were as early as 1971 already a chosen Museveni method of achieving the maximum impact. Finally, acts of destruction and anarchy and most of all, atrocities committed by Museveni in the most horrific manner against innocent civilians are carefully catalogued and used for reference in order to blemish the reputation of his rivals and opponents, be they individuals, groups, or governments. Let us return to Kagera and try to find out who could have deliberately destroyed buildings, looted cattle, and decapitated the heads of civilians, leaving dozens of headless corpses littered around the countryside and roads. On page 62 into 63 of Sowing The Mustard Seed, Museveni first mentions the Kagera Salient. This was during the first invasion of Uganda in September 1972 by the Ugandan exile groups of Kikosi Maluum and FRONASA. Was Kagera just a territory that FRONASA briefly passed through on their way to Uganda? Or might it have been a permanent base for the FRONASA guerrillas? Here is the answer from Museveni: “The part of Tanzania on the north side of the river is known as the Kagera Salient and that is where we were operating from. In order to transport arms across the border, we would wade through the river carrying guns on our heads. On our return we would walk back into Tanzania through the Salient and then, because we were carrying no arms, we could openly cross the Kagera by the large bridge at Kyaka.” So, according to Museveni, the Kagera was a base for FRONASA, a place “where we were operating from.” That statement by Museveni is a useful guide into who it is that committed atrocities against Tanzanian civilians, cut off their heads in order to horrify the Tanzanian army, and then true to form, Museveni records it in his autobiography for history to once again condemn Amin as the Butcher of Africa. The full significance of the discovery of corpses without heads, first seen in November 1978 in Kagera, Tanzania, will be understood when this narration gets to events in Luwero in central Uganda in the early 1980s. During this period following the Ugandan invasion of Tanzania, Museveni says, he traveled to Nairobi to meet his Ugandan guerrilla contacts. In December, Museveni went to join the frontline in northwestern Tanzania. In Obote’s “Statement on the Uganda situation”, he roundly criticised Amin’s record and lamented the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives under the Amin dicatorship. Obote quoted reports by Amnesty International that accused Amin of murdering hundreds of thousands. The contents of this paper are important in understanding the differences between Obote and Museveni. Museveni, as already mentioned, went to Tanzania and knew that it was crucial for him to develop an intimate relationship with Tanzanian intelligence as a way of understanding what was going on inside Uganda. Obote was not of the same thinking and because he did not see the vital role played by intelligence and a command of first-hand information, his paper on the Uganda situation came across as the ramblings of a disgruntled former head of state. Obote, it seems, had scarcely a clue at the time he wrote that paper that most of the news of Amin’s supposed killing of “hundreds of thousands of innocent Ugandans” was the disinformation that Museveni’s FRONASA had undertaken in order to undermine the military government. Obote had employed Museveni as an intelligence officer but somehow was unable to see the value of keeping an eye on Museveni’s activities in Tanzania. This shrewdness on Museveni’s part would serve him well in the coming years, as we shall see later. The bombing of Mbarara and Masaka towns By February, Museveni’s FRONASA fighters accompanying the Tanzanian army had entered Uganda in the war proper and on February 26, 1979, Museveni’s group received instructions to advance on Mbarara town. (Once again, Mbarara features prominently in the story of Amin and Museveni.) Museveni describes the gradual move on Mbarara by the Tanzanian army: “On the morning of the 27th, we captured Gayaza Hill and went beyond it up to Masha…18 km from Mbarara. Again there was little fighting because Amin’s soldiers ran away. Our medium artillery, based at a road camp at mile 14, shelled Mbarara the whole of that afternoon…At midnight on 27 February, we advanced on Mbarara and by morning we had entered the town. We captured it easily because there was no resistance…The TPDF battalions fanned across Mbarara, checking the town up to and including the barracks, which they found abandoned.” (Sowing The Mustard Seed, page 99) In his 1980 book, Imperialism and revolution in Uganda, Dan Wadada Nabudere mentioned this fact of Ugandan support for the invading Tanzanian force and the ease with which they gained territory: “When Tanzanian troops advanced into Uganda they were met by jubilant crowds. As Amin threatened to punish villagers who were welcoming the advancing Tanzanian and Ugandan fighters, a unity of purpose was cemented between the fighters and the people.” (page 332) There is a shocking story that Museveni leaves out of his account of the 1979 war — the heavy destruction visited on Mbarara and Masaka towns by the Tanzanian army. Starting on February 24, explosions were heard in Mbarara and as citizens later came to discover to their horror, many of the best buildings in the town had been destroyed by explosives. The destruction continued in Masaka. These two towns suffered the worst damage of any town during that war and the effect of the damage could still be felt 25 years later. The coffee factory at Kakoba just outside Mbarara town was burnt to the ground. The generally accepted reports had it at the time that the Tanzanians had taken this opportunity, once they captured these two southern towns, to avenge Amin’s bombing of Kagera. This version of what happens does not measure up to the facts and the logic of the events. To begin with, the Tanzanian army was in general regarded as very disciplined. This confrontation with Uganda was the first and only war it has ever fought and it is one of the few African armies that has never staged or attempted to stage a coup against the government. The only known unrest occurred in January 1964 during army mutinies that took place simultaneously in Kenya and Tanzania over pay. Secondly, wherever the Tanzanians were advancing inside Uganda during the first few days and weeks, as Nabudere pointed out, they were being received by jubilant Ugandan crowds. There was every reason for this foreign army to wish to remain popular with the ordinary people since this would not only help boost the morale of the Tanzanian solders but also reduce on the need to use ammunition. And, according to Museveni, Idi Amin’s soldiers were putting up practically no resistance. The Tanzanian army had come right up to the Simba battalion barracks in Mbarara and found them abandoned. In Sowing The Mustard Seed, Museveni does mention this destruction of Masaka and Mbarara at all, nor even hint at it. Having described in quite some detail the entry of the Tanzanian troops into Mbarara almost kilometre by kilometre, Museveni skips this episiode altogether. It is one of the strangest omissions in the book. Museveni would have it believed that he is a Munyankole, born and bred there, a proud admirer of the history and traditions of the people of Ankole. As president of Uganda for twenty years, hardly a week went by without him in a speech or public address quoting a proverb or saying from Ankole. He attended secondary school at Mbarara High School and Ntare School, both in Mbarara. Most of his friends and guerrilla colleagues were from the Ankole tribe. He talks about the community work he did in Ankole during his student days, teaching peasants and the nomadic Bahima people modern agriculture and animal husbandry. In the manifesto of FRONASA, he had lamented the decline of Uganda under Idi Amin. The third point in the manifesto had been given as one “to salvage what remains of the economy of Uganda and nurse it back to health.” Over and over again, Museveni in his autobiography condemns the hooligans who passed for Amin’s soldiers, dismissing them as thugs and fools whose only preoccupation was looting, rape, and destruction. There is also an additional note to make on this: Museveni, even as he was grateful for the support Tanzania had given to the Ugandan exile community and their role in the fight to oust Amin, was not afraid to voice his occasional disagreement with the Dar es Salaam government and its armed forces over certain policies. He regularly stated his disagreements with them during their conversations and meetings. Given that background, the destruction wrought on Mbarara and Masaka towns by the Tanzanian army would have been one of the most distresing experiences in Museveni’s life. Museveni would have turned onto the Tanzanians and in a state of shock, condemned them ceaselessly over the bombing of his beloved Mbarara town. He would have questioned what the difference was between them and the Idi Amin they had come to fight and overthrow. In his fury, Museveni would have immediately rang President Nyerere and in the strongest possible terms, condemned what the Tanzanian army had done to this southern town. Even if damage had already been done, this crusader for the advancement of Ankole’s economic wellbeing and cultural pride would have demanded an apology from the Tanzanian authorities and war reparations paid. He, in other words, would have made an issue of it. Pages of condemnation of this unforgivable misbehaviour by the Tanzanians would have blazed in his autobiography. Instead, there is the most unusual silence for someone who has always projected himself to the public as a leader opposed to any dictatorial tendencies and destruction of Uganda’s and Africa’s economic prosperity and specifically a great admirer of all things culturally and historically Ankole. Why, we must ask, was there such conspicious silence over the demolition of public buildings in Mbarara by this champion of the rule of law? Who was responsible for this bombing of most public buildings in Mbarara? The destruction of Mbarara town was ordered by Yoweri Museveni who then gave the public false reports that the Tanzanians had bombarded the town out of anger at Amin. The forensic evidence indicated that this was not the work of tank or artillery shells, as Museveni claimed, but of dynamite. On February 28, 1979, a day after the fall of Mbarara to the Tanzanian-led force, Museveni visited the home of the Byanyima family in Ruti, just over four kilometres out of the centre of the town. He arrived in a landrover accompanied by Major Kessy, the commander of Tanzania’s Special Battalion, as well as five Tanzanian soldiers. Museveni was dirty from head to toe and told the Byanyimas that he had not had a bath in three months. He asked that he might take a hot bath. Later during their conversation, an angry Boniface Byanyima brought up the subject of the destruction of Mbarara. “If you say you are liberators,” Byanyima turned and asked Kessy, “why are you blowing up the buildings in Mbarara?” On hearing this accusation, Major Kessy angrily threatened to arrest Byanyima, whom he accused of being a collaborator with Amin’s forces. Museveni intervened and told Kessy to let Byanyima alone. He did not, however, explain anything further to his old friend what had happened to the buildings in the town. Nor did Museveni explain to Kessy that there had been a rumour and reports in Mbarara that the Tanzanians had bombarded most of the public buildings and this is what Byanyima was referring to. Instead, Museveni sat calmly in the Byanyima’s living room and did not comment further on the destruction of Mbarara. This confirms Museveni’s direct role in the blasting of the buildings, as well as demonstrating how his mind works. For Major Kessy to get so angry at Byanyima’s accusation and label him an Amin collaborator, could only mean one thing: Museveni must have told the Tanzanians that the buildings had been destroyed by the remnants of Amin’s army as they fled Mbarara. Then to the people of Mbarara whom he knew had seen Amin’s army flee without destroying any building or army barracks, he could not repeat the same lie. Instead, he started the rumours that the Mbarara buildings had been demolished by the Tanzanians in retaliation for the destruction of Kagera by Amin’s troops in November 1978. For this once in his life, Museveni could not commit outrages and openly blame them on the Tanzanians in order to discredit Nyerere’s government and army, as was his tendency. Tanzania was a vital ally and for many sentimental reasons, Museveni revered Nyerere. Also in practical terms, he could not accuse the very Tanzanians that he depended on to get to Kampala, of blasting the buildings in Mbarara. Major Kessy, knowing the high standards of discipline in the Tanzanian army, took offence at Byanyima’s condemnation. He had no idea that seated right beside him in the Byanyima’s living room was the maniac who had ordered the blowing up of the town’s buildings by his FRONASA forces. However, there was something more appalling. Having ordered his men to destroy much of Mbarara, Museveni then led his FRONASA guerrillas to his former high school, Ntare School, in order to burn it down. When they learnt of his intentions, tearful ordinary people in the neighbourhood came out and pleaded with the Tanzanians to block Museveni from doing what he was about to and spare one of Ankole’s most beloved cultural icons, Ntare School. Now shocked, the Tanzanians apologised and left the premises. They were left with questions, nevertheless, and tried to keep the incident a secret amongst the top commanders. Why had Museveni wanted to bomb Ntare School? Why would a man order the destruction of his former school for whatever reason, if he was mentally normal? What kind of man was this Museveni they were dealing with? These questions haunted the Tanzanian commanders for the rest of the war. Writing in Notes On Concealment of Genocide in Uganda in 1990, former President Milton Obote said: “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 [traditional Ankole king’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. 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…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 March 1996, the government-owned New Vision newspaper described this massacre of the Muslims in Itendero village in Kazo, Mbarara and the drownings in River Rwizi this way: “During the purge, an unspecified number of Muslims were either slain, drowned in rivers or banished from areas where they stayed at the time.” Allegations that Museveni was the mastermind behind the massacre of Muslims in Mbarara in 1979 continued to trail him right up to the 1990s, allegations he tried to ward off. All this returns us to the beginning of the story of this extraordinary man. What is it that drives him? Could this be the militant ideology of Marxism-Leninism that he espoused starting in the late 1960s? Might it originate from his mental illness, the bipolar disorder that has dogged him since his teenage years? Or does this extreme ruthlessness have anything to do with his mother’s rejection of him and the dysfunction in his family life and history? If Museveni were really a Ugandan and a Munyankole, how could he even think of destroying that part of his life, youth, and experience that mattered so much to him and his Ankole people — Mbarara town and Ntare School? And most of all, how did this most bizzare of behaviour go unreported in the mainstream news media, unpunished by the authorities, and unaccounted for when he stood for various political offices in the following years? Museveni returned briefly to Dar es Salaam to meet President Nyerere. Upon coming back to Uganda, he left for the war front in Masaka town and the Rakai area. Here, as in Mbarara, Museveni ordered his men to blow up public buildings in a show of force supposedly from the ordinary citizens angry at the Amin legacy. How these citizens would have destroyed the very town they had lived in, worked in, and were to continue living in, Museveni did not explain. The once beautiful Tropic Inn hotel in Masaka, which was part of the countrywide chain of the Uganda Hotels group, was also targeted by Museveni. Because it was not as politically important as Mbarara, Masaka town suffered proportionately greater immediate and long-term damage to its infratructure than Mbarara. The most telling proof of Museveni’s guilt in this unbelievable destruction of two Ugandan towns can be gleaned from the complete silence on the matter in his autobiography. At no time since those bombings of Mbarara and Masaka in 1979 has Museveni ever rebuked the Tanzanians over these supposed acts of theirs. Since the 1979 war, Uganda has been repaying Tanzania some of the expenses it incurred in prosecuting the war. As president since 1986, Museveni — who has questioned such unfair arrangements as Uganda’s continued supply of cheap electricity to Kenya under the terms of a 1950s agreement — has never once wondered why Tanzania should not be compensating Uganda, since it is Tanzania that destroyed Masaka and Mbarara and if anything, Tanzania should be paying Uganda recompense. It is a silence on Museveni’s part that has never been explained. Museveni’s FRONASA forces were also ordered into the small and relatively unknown district of Rakai, further south of Masaka. In Rakai, further inland from Masaka in rural Buganda, something extremely significant happened that went almost unnoticed, except for the immediate news that it created. Apart from the destruction of property, Museveni’s FRONASA men embarked on a spree of rape. The origin of AIDS in Uganda In late 1979, a few people began to notice residents of Rakai getting sick and their body weight dramatically dropping to the point where they took on an almost skeletal appearance. At that time, the superstitious villagers attributed this wasting condition to witchcraft. It was left at that. The misery brought on by the Tanzania-Uganda war diverted the attention of many government officials from this disturbing new disease in Rakai. However, as the 1980s dawned, the persistence of the new wasting condition for which there appeared to be no cure or even preventive medicine, started to get to the attention of medical researchers both from Makerere University and Mulago hospital, and the western world. In 1981, Dr. David Serwadda of Makerere University went to Kansensero, a small township in the area, to find out for himself about this strange new disease. In 1982, the chief medical officer of Kalisizo Hospital in southern Buganda, Emmanuel Rwegabo, compiled and sent a report to the Ministry of Health in Kampala in which he attempted to explain this strange and previously unknown disease that was now ravaging the Rakai area. Rwegaba’s report spoke of patients from the ordinary walks of life developing such symptins as fever, night sweats, severe loss of weight, a skin rash, sores in the mouth, which all failed to respond to conventional treatment and resulted inevitably in the death of the patients. The early name given to this disease was the “Masaka-Kyotera Syndrome”, because of the areas it had hit the hardest and seemed almost exclusively to originate from. The website iaen.org comments: “Kagera is at the epicentre of the African AIDS epidemic. The first case of AIDS in the region was diagnosed in 1983, although HIV was most likely present at least a decade earlier.” We should remember that in Sowing The Mustard Seed, Museveni had said that the Kagera was a base for FRONASA and him, the place “where we were operating from” starting in about 1973. The picture we get of the origin of AIDS in Uganda is that it was reported at its earliest and at its most virulent in Kagera in northwestern Tanzania, where FRONASA was operating from at the time an AIDS-like disease was first reported in 1974, and Rakai in southern Uganda, where Museveni had sent his men on a campaign of rape in 1979. Returning to the reports that Amin’s soldiers had gone on a spree of looting and raping in Kagera in October 1978, history and justice is on their side for one simple reason: they did not contract AIDS in quite the numbers that mass rape woulld have entailed. If it were true that these troops of Amin’s army conducted a terror campaign of rape and six months later were driven out of power by a Tanzanian-led force, then we would have witnessed a sudden explosion of AIDS in Arua or southern Sudan, where most of the remnants of Amin’s army fled into exile. Nothing of the sort happened. Instead there were rumours quietly spreading that this new disease had been brought to Rakai by the “Tanzanian soldiers” during the 1979 war. “That’s the most feasible theory,” Dr David Serwadda, told Reuters news agency on December 1, 2000. “Even in the neighboring Kagera district in Tanzania, the highest prevalence rates have been recorded.” Since the Tanzanians were widely regarded as liberators who had freed Uganda from the tyranny of Idi Amin, the population could not bring itself to judge the Tanzanians harshly over this matter. Nevertheless, the rumours persisted. The people who first perished of the new disease were the women who had been raped by the FRONASA men during their rampage through Rakai in early March 1979. Still, almost nobody made the connection. If indeed this disease was brought to Uganda by the invading Tanzanian army, why did it first become significant in Rakai, which is much further inland than the places the Tanzanians first set foot in Uganda, like the border area of Mutukula or the towns of Mbarara and Masaka? Rakai is heavily Catholic and conservative, where matters of sexuality remain taboo. Were this new sexually transmitted disease to break out in Uganda, the capital Kampala or the eastern border with Kenya where long-distance goods lorries and trade go back and forth would have been the more natural avenue. In most of Uganda, the public first heard of Rakai in connection with this disease, which the locals called “Slim” because of its severe wasting and weight loss traits. Why was this new disease — later to take on the name AIDS — to break out first in Rakai in Uganda where the FRONASA force had gone on a campaign of rape and destruction, and not first break out in Tanzania? If AIDS was brought by the Tanzanian soldiers in 1979, that would mean that by then it had more or less destroyed a large part of the Tanzanian army and by extension, Tanzanian society. By the time Uganda woke up to the AIDS crisis in 1982, Tanzania would long have been a disaster area. And yet reports on AIDS in Africa first started spreading in Uganda, not Tanzania. A strange development that was in Rakai after the FRONASA men went there on a rampage. The fuller significance of this, like most other matters concerning Museveni, will be grasped when this narrative gets to the 1980s. When the war effort in Masaka and Mbarara was completed and the towns secured by the Tanzanians, Museveni set off for Fort Portal town at the foot of the Rwenzori mountains in Toro. Fort Portal was already in the hands of the Tanzanians. He went by a new title: Supreme Commissar. Once he got to Fort Portal, Museveni took up residence in the main palace of the Omukama (king) of Toro atop a hill overlooking the town. He had done the same thing in Mbarara. The Moshi unity conference In March 1979, the Tanzanian government — stung by criticism that it had launched an illegal war on Uganda and so violated the OAU charter — hurriedly organised a conference in the town of Moshi By this conference, it was hoped to create the impression that Ugandans themselves were uniting to create a common front against Amin. A number of military and quasi-military, human rights, and intellectual groups — 22 in all — assembled at Moshi. FRONASA and it leader Museveni was there in force. Museveni resided at the YMCA hostel in the town for the duration of the conference. He attended the conference deliberations with much enthusiasm and at all times wore military uniform. FRONASA emphasised the intertwined relationship between military science and political science and insisted that the army be given a say in all future arrangements in Uganda. Many people, especially fugures like Dr. Arnold Bisase and Dan Wadada Nabudere opposed the FRONASA proposals, preferring that civilians dominate the future politicals landscape of Uganda and that the military does the bidding of the civilian authorities. Typically, Museveni in his autobiography takes on for himself the credit for the idea of hosting the Moshi conference. Museveni claims that it was because Nyerere had lost confidence in Obote. According to Museveni, “the Tanzanians were anxious to put together a Ugandan front, other than Obote, whom they now knew was a liability both inside and outside Uganda.” (Sowing The Mustard Seed, page 105) Once again, Museveni’s distortion of history comes to the light. According to the Kenyan scholar Bethwell A. Ogot, writing in Building on the Indigenous: Selected Essays 1981 – 1998 (Kisumu: Anyange Press Ltd., 1999), Nyerere was so set on the idea of Obote as first choice of a post-Amin Ugandan leader that as the Tanzanian army marched toward Kampala in early 1979, Nyerere asked Obote and the Tanzanian Defence Minister Rashidi Kawawa to fly to Masaka town and get ready to enter Kampala with the army should it succeed in overthrowing Amin. “Obote and Kawawa actually went as far as Bukoba, before they were recalled to Dar-es-Salaam by Nyerere,” Ogot noted. Only pressure from Britain caused Nyerere to withdraw his plan of returning Obote to power in 1979. Tanzania, which was still a poor socialist country, was finding it difficult to prosecute the war with its own resources and requested its former colonial master Britain to help it in the war effort. Britain expressed willingness but one of its conditions was that Obote should not be returned to power following the fall of Amin. A powerful Baganda lobby in London had persuaded the British government to block the return of Obote to power. Asked whom they would prefer to see as president instead, the Baganda lobby suggested the name of Yusufu Lule, a former Principal of Makerere University College. At the Moshi conference, the Uganda People’s Congress party — aware that it had a large following among the Ugandan exile community — proposed that all present at the conference attend in their individual capacities. The UPC knew that it would inevitably dominate proceedings if this were done. The steering committee rejected this proposal and instead committees were set up. A Constitutional Committee, which designed the structure of a proposed Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF), was set up and this structure included a National Consultative Council (NCC) which would serve as Uganda’s national assembly of the UNLF period. A constitution of the UNLF was drawn up. When time came to elect a chairman of the UNLF, it was by now assumed that Lule would easily be chosen. At the last minute, one of the delegates, the former Anglican bishop of Bukedi, Yona Okoth, stood up and proposed the name of Paulo Muwanga, a UPC delegate and former Ugandan ambassador to France, as chairman. There was drama and shock at the conference as few had expected this. Belatedly, somebody forwarded Lule’s name to be formally nominated. Lule was unanimously elected and Muwanga was named the chairman of a Military Commission of the UNLF. Museveni was elected vice chairman of the Military Commission. Bearing in mind that it was British pressure that blocked Obote not only from being named by Nyerere as the president-in-waiting following the future overthrow of Amin but kept him away from the Moshi conference, the real preferences of Nyerere can be seen in who was elected to take up the other powerful positions except that which Lule was given. At the time of the conference, most delegates did not foresee what a powerful body the Military Commission would become in the following months in Uganda. Lieutenant-Colonel David Oyite-Ojok, the former adjutant-general, was named chief of staff of the proposed Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) while Colonel Tito Okello, Museveni’s residential neighbour in Dar es Salaam, was named the UNLA’s commander. Colonel William Omaria was also named to the Military Commission. Since Nyerere had been forced to leave his friend Obote out of the process, he made up for that disappointment by endowing the Military Commission with the real power to determine the outcome of events in Uganda and most of the Commission’s members were all sympathetic to Obote except Museveni. How did Museveni, at just 35, come to be named the Military Commission vice chairman? His close relationship with Nyerere for one might have held the key. Might he have visited Nyerere and pleaded to be appointed as vice chairman of the Military Commission? This much is not known but would not be an impossibility. Either way, he would become one of the best-known figures in the new dispensation. He returned to Uganda after that, visiting the frontline near Mpigi. As we learned earlier, Museveni met a number of intelligence from the State Research Bureau who had secretly worked for him and used them to identify other agents from among the prisoners of war captured by the Tanzanians. When on April 11, 1979, the invading forces captured Kampala and the Amin regime fell, Lieutenant-Colonel David Oyite-Ojok announced over Radio Uganda that the Idi Amin “is no longer in power.” It was a thrilling moment for most Ugandans who had lived in fear for more than eight years. At the news of the fall of Kampala, Museveni became very angry. Why? He had hoped all along along to be the man given the honour of announcing the fall of the Amin government to the invading forces. Frustrated that this had not come to pass, he ordered his FRONASA men in Fort Portal to blow up the King’s palace. On the surface of it, this decision to blow up the palace might seem like yet another piece of evidence that Museveni at the core was a mentally unstable and maniacal man. How
– Posted By Boyi Yobbo on 10/24/2009
On the surface of it, this decision to blow up the palace might seem like yet another piece of evidence that Museveni at the core was a mentally unstable and maniacal man. However, there was from his point of view a certain logic in his taking that action. Museveni knew, more than most, that the anti-Amin struggle had been at its most deadly and most effective when it came to undermining the image and credibility of Amin. His FRONASA guerrilla force might not have achieved the overthrow of Amin in the way they wanted and at the time they desired; but the permanent blotting of Amin’s reputation in the history books was largely the doing of Museveni. Furthermore, the destruction and looting rampage in Tanzania’s Kagera area that finally persuaded the Tanzanian government to do away altogether with Amin, was the work of Museveni too. And yet he could not come forth and publicly reveal his acts of sabotage and manipulation. This is what made him deeply angry and frustrated and he could do nothing about it. ——————————