For three decades now, the story has been told of how a handful of people (42) armed with only 27 guns decided to head to the bush to overthrow the government of Apollo Milton Obote.
For a period of five years, the men and women fought in the bushes of Luweero and as they say, the rest is now history.
Fast forward, the Nile Post had a chat with Col. Charles Tusiime who drove the first vehicle used as the struggle begun and is now the UPDF commander in charge of royal guards.
Joining NRA rebels
Col.Tusiime narrates that when the 1978- 1979 liberation war that saw the overthrow of then President Idi Amin started, he was among those who joined the liberators from Tanzania in Mbarara and also fought along with them.
“We moved fighting with them and when the war ended, there was a recruitment exercise for those going to Cuba for training and I was among the group,”Col.Tusiime starts his journey.
He says, on return from Cuba, things were not moving as good as they thought they would be adding that there was a state of anarchy in the country whose then liberation he had fought for along with Tanzanians.
“People were being killed. Property stolen and some of us were being looked for to be killed over reasons unknown to us. I then decided to join mzee( President Museveni).”
On the morning of 6th February 1981, a group of 42 people holding 27 guns and pistols stormed Kabamba barracks with an aim of looting more guns to supplement on the cache they had to would be used for their protracted war on Apollo Milton Obote’s government.
They attack was a success and the rest is as they say, history.
Speaking to Nile Post last year, Gen.Elly Tumwine said the group had organised a truck through Brig.Lutaaya and left in evening of 5th February 1981 from Makindye with their 27 guns to Kabamba.
Col.Tusiime had been chosen to drive the lorry on the day.
“We were six at (Mathew) Rukikaire’s residence when the late Magara and mzee (Museveni) came and saw me yet I knew how to drive a vehicle, they asked me to do it. I drove up to Masaka but on the way the vehicle got puncture.”
He narrates that the group abandoned the vehicle on the roadside and walked up to Nyendo from where Museveni hired another vehicle that returned them to Masaka.
Gen.Tumwine said the group divided themselves into four, each with a specific role towards the attack at Kabamba barracks and his was assigned with a duty to capture the quarter-guard.
“The arrangement was that when we reach the quarter-guard, we capture it and a few people move with the small vehicle and take control of the armory,” Tumwine said.
Didn’t participate in Kabamba attack
Col.Tusiime was however unfortunate that he never participated in the attack at Kabamba barracks because he had been left behind in Masaka to repair the tyre before driving the lorry back to Kampala.
“I was left behind together with another person and we had one gun as they went ahead.”
He narrates that the following morning they started on the journey back to Kampala and after staying for five days, he returned to the bush with another group of fighters.
As fate would have it, as the group proceeded to the bush, they encountered a roadblock in Kiboga from where they were arrested before being transferred up to Luzira prison from where they spent two years.
He however thanks God for enabling them win the protracted war that ushered the NRM government to power.
“I am happy for the achievements during these years,”Col.Tusiime says.