UNTIL we fully utilize Access to Information Act and publishing information above 30 years, it will take a century to know full details of the armed conflicts we have been involved in, including the protracted people’s war that was fought in the bushes of Luwero under the supreme command of SSAABALWANYI Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Whenever H.E President YK Museveni writes something whether about 1972 September invasion which was poorly planned, 1979-1979 conventional war between Uganda Army and Tanzanian Forces and Ugandan exiles including himself, Tarehe Sita in memory of Popular Resistance Army (PRA) led by himself when they attacked Kabamba School of Infantry or the Great Trek, there will always additional information, because the President writes with authority.
This time, in a statement he issued in the morning of Sunday, January 5th 2020 as he was setting off for the second day of the 195km trek, the President said, while the late Libyan leader, Col. Muammar El Qaddafi contributed to him and NRA fighters, 800 rifles and 800,000 rounds of ammunition, the late Tanzanian leader, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere contributed 5,000 rifles and 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition.
According to the President, the purpose of the 2020 Great Trek from Galamba in Wakiso District to Bireembo in Kakumiro District was not to show stamina but rather to educate the young generation about the history of their country, appreciate the veterans who fought for its liberation and do what they need to do to make sure that their country survives.
“I want you to look at the history of the ones who were before you who had a deeper understanding of what Africa needs but also had the discipline to fight for it. I also wanted to expose you to your country so that you see the potential in agriculture and tourism industry. When I was looking at the hills of Kanzira, Butoloogo, I was thinking of the idea of supporting you with health tourism facilities,” he explained.
This was not a contribution to FRONASA or UNLF/UNLA during the anti-Amin struggle, but during the anti-Obote ll struggle, where initially without the Tanzanian People’s Defence Forces (TPDF), Obote ll Government would not have survived even a single day.
In Sowing the Mustard Seed (1996), the President tells us how Qaddafi’s contribution reached the NRA rebels camps inside Luwero Triangle via Burundi and the lion share from Libya having gone to Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM) under the late Dr Andrew Lutakome Kayiira.
Thus, the reason as a country, we should declassify information after 30 years. This information should be endangering our sovereignty, defence and national security. For example, what transpired in a cabinet meeting after 1964 army mutiny where even the Defence Minister
Felix Onama was detained by the mutineers in Jinja barracks and demand for Idi Amin to be the Commanding Officer, which Prime Minister Milton Obote fulfilled.
A cabinet meeting in Kampala, which advised President Sir Edward Muteesa, to summon the Prime Minister, who had almost fled to Northern Uganda midst gold allegations.
The subsequent one, after the return of the Prime Minister in which, four cabinet ministers; Grace Ibingira, Balaki Kirya, Dr Lumu, and Mathias Ngobi were arrested and detained for five years.
What transpired in a High Command” meeting of President Obote, Defence Minister Onama, Deputy Army Commander Amin, Inspector General of Police Erinayo Oryema during the Lubiri invasion on May 24th 1966. Findings of Obote assassination and who were the culprits.
What happened in Amin’s meetings defence council, police council and prisons council. What about Obote ll where it is claimed that Vice President and Defence Minister Paulo Muwanga and Prime Minister Otema Almdadi mooted an idea of persuading the then Ssaabataka of Buganda to return from exile, as one of the ways of persuading the wanainchi for not supporting the liberation struggle, but were overpowered by the hard-liners; Chris Rwakasisi who was Minister for Security and Luwuliza Kirunda who was Minister for Internal Affairs.
The President has told us that the reason the trek delayed was that an NRM/NRA group led by Sam Katabarwa, had come to Kampala to hold talks with Government, but were murdered. Who in the then Government, ordered for their murder?.
In 1986, the NRM government set up a commission of inquiry into the violation of human rights from 1962 to 1986 which is a commendable job but the report was not published. In 2005, the President promised a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but it has not been put in place. It is expected greatly to contribute to healing wounds.
Yet the President acknowledged writings of others on the opposite side. For example, one time when he was writing about 1972 September invasion, he advised the readers to also read Brig. Bernard Rwehururu’s book, From Cross to Gun, because the latter was on Idi Amin’s side.
Having said that, the President’s Sunday, January 5th 20230 statement was revealing like many of his statements and should be published into a book for future reference.
The Writer is a Communication Assistant at Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.