The year was 1989. Relations between Uganda and Kenya were tense. Daniel Arap Moi had temporary ordered for the closure of the Uganda-Busia border after President Museveni had accused him of supporting rebels to overthrow him.
The Rogue understands that Tanzania’s Hassan Mwinyi stepped in to cool the tensions.
The former Tanzania leader organised a reconciliation meeting between the two leaders at a state lodge in Dar-es-Salaam.
The setting was perfect for a peace deal.
The lodge was situated off the ocean and the warm breeze
Before the meeting started, Mwinyi asked the leaders to hug.
Hesitantly, they embraced theatrically. There was no contact with their bodies.
Clearly, the two presidents were not yet at ease with each other.
Mwinyi suggested that the two presidents first sit together in a room and calm down but instead the opposite happened.
As they settled into their seats, the finger pointing resumed.
“Wewe,” Museveni angrily said before adding: “If you want to see fire, let your boys cross the line.
Moi kept quiet and started flipping his “rungu” (swagger stick) menacingly.
The signal was enough.
The old man then challenged the youthful Museveni to an arm wrestling contest with Mwinyi as the referee.
Museveni, thinking he had heard wrongly asked Ndugu Moi whether he meant wrestling. Moi said “arm wrestling.”
Museveni willingly agreed thinking that an old man did not have enough power left in his biceps.
A table was brought and ground rules were set.
The two protagonists were called forward and told to take their positions on either side of the table.
Then they clasped their hands and Mwinyi rang the bell.
In an instant, Moi lowered Museveni’s hand and was promptly declared the winner.
Museveni still reeling with shock asked for a rematch.
“Next time,” Moi said.
The relations between the countries gradually improved but the two leaders never found time for a rematch.
Sadly, Moi passed on earlier today having been ill for the last couple of years.
At the time of writing this, sources told The Rogue that Museveni had written 10 pages of what is likely to be a lengthy condolence message.
The Rogue is a satirical column that runs every TUESDAY on The Nile Post. Contact the author on +256-788179369/+256-752195226