President Museveni has revealed that the National Resistance Army rebels used to steal food from locals who had abandoned their homes and gardens, saying the Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala was one of the victims of this theft.
Museveni made the remarks on Wednesday at Butologo hills on the fifth day of the 195km trek in honor of the National Resistance Army fighters, Museveni said they used two methods to get what to eat.
“On the issues of food, sometimes we would organize but other times we didn’t have capacity. Because we could not buy food for the whole population, we used to steal. Cardinal Nsubuga’s lusuku(banana plantation) helped us very much. There were other places where they(rebels) used to get (steal) food from,”Museveni said.
“We used to get food from Buruli and Kikolimbo. These were abandoned gardens by the wanainchi(locals) and we took advantage of them.
Captain Sula Sserunjogi said the NRA high command had chosen him as the commander in charge of gathering food for the rebels.
“in September 1982 when the number of fighters in Mondlane camp had increased, the commander in chief asked me to look for people with food to supply on credit that he would pay them in February the following year. This was because the wanainchi( locals) who were giving us money had abandoned their homes,”Sserunjogi narrated.
According to the senior UPDF officer, he went to one of their allies in one of the villages asking him to assist them with food for only 10 fighters because the number had increased in their camp.
“When he allowed us into the garden, we took food for more than 10 people. We invaded gardens to raze food. I got wreckers to find out which civilians had abandoned their gardens so that we could raze their food,”Sserunjogi said.
“I got to know that Cardinal Wamala was one of those who had abandoned his banana plantations and we razed it down together with one for his neighbor.”
He narrated that the food was different in the various areas where they had camped, citing the fighters in Ngoma who only fed on cows that had been abandoned by locals.
President Museveni said that another way of getting food by the rebels was through buying it from farmers in various areas.
He cited an example of the attack they carried out in Hoima where they stole an unspecified amount of money from UCB that he distributed to commanders to be used to purchase food.
“I used to give the money to commanders to buy some maize that we used as food. For example at Ntwetwe, the cooperative was full of maize that I paid Kigongo(Moses)who was our supporter so that farmers don’t lose money. He then told the UPC that rebels had come and grabbed all the maize because they would have killed him,” Museveni reminisced.
He said that the rebels decided not to operate in some areas tactically so as those areas can grow food that they could buy or steal to feed their fighters.
Museveni is leading more 2,000 people in the walk code-named “Africa Kwetu” in which he intends to honor National Resistance Army fighters but also educate the young generation on the sacrifice that the rebels went through.
He also said the trek is aimed at bonding with former bush war fighters who he said he had not got time to meet in the past .
The symbolic trek that started off on Saturday at Galamba village, Masuliita sub-county in Wakiso district will end at Birembo in Kakumiro district and will have gone through seven districts including Wakiso, Nakaseke, Mityana, Kiboga, Kassanda, Mubende and Kakumiro.