OP-ED

Open letter to President Museveni

Open Letter To Our Beloved President Of Uganda.
His Excellency, The President Of Uganda,
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni,

By Paul Mugoya

Dear Sir,
Ref: A Brief Background Of My Historical Contribution To The Revolution And My Opinion On The Current Political Challenges.

Dear President, Sir, thank you for everything you have done and have tried to do for our country, especially for bringing some sense of both economic and political stability. The country is enjoying some stability as a result of your wise leadership. Uganda has not been an easy country to govern, historically we have been very unstable in all ways. Sir, allow me to briefly indulge you in my contribution to the Revolution that has made this country what it is.

I was recruited to join FRONASA in 1977 at the age of 19 near the Namanga border checkpoint on the Tanzanian side. The Namanga checkpoint is between Kenya and Tanzania. I’m a trained freedom fighter and trained in 1979 by Lt. Col. Emmanuel Moyo Commanding Officer of the 18th TPDF Battalion under the command of Brigadier Musuya of 208 Brigade of the TPDF. My basic training was about gathering intel on UNLA, how the UNLA personnel behaved towards the public, and its military capacity which included knowing the manpower and weaponry, etc. The training also included handling of assorted small arms and our target was UNLA.

I obtained express basic training for 6 months to gather intel on the Obote government. UNLA was a ragtag army riddled with many factions scrambling for power, inclined to different political organisations but dominated by Acholi and Langi backing Obote and his UPC. There was FRONASA backing Museveni, there was FEDEMU for Lule and Kayira, there was FUA former Uganda army that included many Amin henchmen, SUM, save Uganda movement and the biggest was Kikos Maluum for UPC backing Obote.

UNLA, Uganda National Liberation Army was dominated by Acholi and the Langi, loosely formed under the UNLF, Uganda National Liberation Front. There was a body called NCC, National Consultative Council that had representatives from different fighting groups and acted as the Parliament under 2 short-lived serving Presidents, namely Yusuf Lule who served for 3 months, and later Godfrey Biniasa who served for about 10 months, and his term was controversial when he decided to transfer Oyite Ojok the Chief of Staff to being Uganda’s Ambassador to Algeria.

This resulted in the removal of Binaisa and then came to the Military Commission headed by Paulo Muwanga as the Chairman, deputized by Yoweri Museveni as the Vice Chairman and Minister of Regional Affairs, the Commission organized the general elections in December 1980 with Mwanga wielding much power working as a UPC agent to bring back Obote. The results of these elections were to be transmitted to Paulo Mwanga only otherwise one was given a hefty fine. These elections were rigged in favor of Obote by the formation of bogus Constituencies that enabled UPC to win. In some of the Constituencies gazetted they no people, and some had few people who did not qualify to form the Constituency.

The actual party that won the elections was DP. Unfortunately, the elections were manipulated and choreographed for Obote to win. This prompted and forced Mr. Museveni to declare war on the illegitimate government of Mr. Obote. He did this in a place in Kampala on Entebbe road called Luweza Church of Uganda Training and Conference Centre near the Roofings factory. He convened a meeting of all UPM Executives and we all converged he addressed us and this is when he declared war against the elected UPC government. He said, I quote, “Given the prevailing circumstances the country is experiencing, with the election rigged, I’m going to wage war to topple this illegitimate government that rigged elections. Those who would like to join me are welcome and those who would like to remain but support us can remain.”

There is a need to remember that Kampala fell into the hands of Tanzania in April of 1979. At this time there was a clandestine arrangement between the TPDF and Mr. Museveni the Minister of Defense to assist the UDF, Uganda Defense Forces in recruiting soldiers. The Tanzanians were bent to see that Mr. Museveni succeeded in building an army. Unfortunately, the moment the information reached David Oyite Ojok, UDF was dismantled and replaced by UNLA which resulted in the arrest of comrade Maumbe and many others while others like comrade Magode, myself, and many others went underground. Before the disbanding of UDF and UNLF branches in the country, we had a lot of recruiting 200 strong young men in each district under the cover of TPDF.

These men were to be part of a bigger plan to later join the UNLA. These were chaotic times. At that time President Julius Nyerere who was a close friend to Dr. Milton Obote had a special personal friendship with comrade Jack Maumbe and Yoweri Museveni’s FRONASA. The TPDF had realized that the Kikosi Maluum of Obote had weaknesses of indiscipline in their ranks and instead TPDF began building and supporting the ranks in FRONASA. Now get the impression that FRONASA and UPM are the foundation for NRM. Without them, there would be no NRM.

And no sooner did intelligence leak into the ears of Maj.Gen.Oyite Ojok, a military team led by Oyite Ojok was dispatched to Mbale to dismantle and disband the UNLF branch and arrest all the officials including comrade Jack Maumbe. Most of us went underground, our branch Chairman for the Bugisu subregion was comrade Kisolo Makanya and our Coordinator and branch Secretary was comrade Ikuya Magode who is now a Minister. Unfortunately, comrade Maumbe was arrested and detained in Luzira by the UPC army. I’m trying to illustrate how dangerous risky and frustrating our efforts of attempting to build up a bigger fighting force of FRONASA. It was the fighting pressure from the NRA that split the Langi and Acholi alliance.

I know some people might accuse me of being tribalistic but one cannot avoid tribalism because our colonial masters built this country on a tribal foundation. By then the Acholi were the dominant tribe as a result they suffered more casualties in the Luwero war with the NRA because of their bigger numbers in the army, after the death of Oyite in a Helicopter crash, President Obote replaced him with another Langi as Chief of Staff. The Acholi being the dominant tribe in the army got annoyed and overthrew Obote. This was due to pressure on the battlefield with the mighty NRA inflicting heavy losses on both Obote’s army and the North Koreans.

During this change of guards, from Obote to Okello, many of our comrades were released by Tito Okello from detention including comrade Maumbe. The Okosos wanted very much to reconcile and make peace comrade Museveni. Danial Arap Moi tried very much to bring Okello and Museveni together through the Nairobi Peace Talks that later became known as the Nairobi Peace Jokes have realized that one of the main participants was leading an onslaught marching towards Kampala and this was the end of the Okello junta. This is how NRA’s golden opportunity came to liberate Uganda for the second time.

My contribution to the Revolution continues. My training was basically to gather information that would be used to help the struggle. Information is power. Without intel, you remain weak and disorganized in war. Before the fall of the Obote regime in 1985, cracks were visible within both the UPC and the UNLA, which we code-named LA, Lango, and Acholi Army. Sincerely, we had many sympathizers and allies within the ranks of UPC whom I can’t name for security reasons, who also played strategic roles, they advised Obote not to replace Oyite Ojok with Lumpens instead they recommended Smith Acak Apon.

This advice was done deliberately because they knew the Acholi would not embrace the idea and at that time, they were short-sighted and drunk for power, they would fight back if their own was not a Commander of the army. Before the death of Oyite Ojok, the relations between him as the Chairman of CMB and President Obote had soared so badly that each one had wanted to do away with the other. Money from coffee sales had been stolen and transferred into Oyite’s personal bank account by Oyite himself in a foreign Bank, the money was in hundreds of millions of US dollars.

I suspect the money is intact but can not rule out theft of the same, in Uganda anything is possible. And that’s the time Oyite started nursing Presidential ambitions. So his death and many of of lieutenants who perished in the same Helicopter crash raise many questions. Why were they busy touring military installations and units? At that time Paulo Mwanga was the VP and Minister of Defense and acting President because then, President Obote had traveled out of the country. We hear there was a phone call to Paulo Mwanga who was also nursing Presidential ambition, to stop the uncoordinated movements in the army. Major General David Oyite Ojok’s death was very suspicious.

Luwero Triangle became a valley of death for Acholis and many others. But Acholis always believed in an army dominated by them and their warriors that’s why they gave President Museveni a headache Northern in Uganda for almost 20 years. In 1980, I was elected Youth leader for the whole Bugisu. In 1986, I worked with the late Victor Bwana as our SDA. As a Cadre, I helped him to mobilize support for NRM in the Buwalasi sub-county and took note it is the biggest sub-county in the Bugisu subregion followed by the Buwabwala subcounty It was not easy because Bugisu was predominantly UPC, more notably Buwalasi. We met a lot of hostilities and resistance. As a result, I was among the original first members of RC3. The list is endless.

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In 2014, on 4th Dec. as Chairman of BCU Elders, I led a delegation of farmers and elders of BCU including the Chairman of BCU, Nandala Mafabi to meet you about crop finance and compensation at State House you promised to pay BCU but in 2 installments of 4.6 billion.

In 2015, again on 3rd November, I led a delegation of farmers and elders with the Vice Chairman of BCU, John Musila and we met you at State House about the remaining balance of 4.6 billion that had been withheld, which you assured us money would come through. On behalf of the Elders and coffee Farmers and myself, we thank you for your cooperation, Wanyala naabi musakulu President wa Uganda.

Mr. President, Sir, there are things we feel you have not fixed well;
About the ongoing endless crisis after crisis in government institutions and organs. Please, Sir, be informed that there is a culture of scrambling for wealth that is growing day by day, the culture of stealing from taxpayers’ money. The crisis in Parliament has reached a critical level and raised much attention about the quality of governance, these issues have to be resolved because they have brought shame to the country. Parliament has to be redeemed because it is an important arm of governance. It has lost its good image, trust, respect, and moral authority.

The rot has been exposed and I think it is time to expose more rot in other sectors. There are indeed organized syndicates of how the money of the State is looted and if you allow me to meet you, you will be shocked. I informed you earlier that people nursing Presidential ambitions that destroyed UPC are for real, the same can happen with NRM. There is a saying that building takes time but breaking it down takes only seconds.

There is a mafia in the system working to frustrate you. There is also inflating of salaries, rot in the government systems and institutions, buying reconditioned machines and equipment instead of new ones at high cost, including some in classified areas, over-inflating expenditures, shoddy work eating “enjawulo, “etc. Intelligence can be sourced from Cadres because they easily mingle with the community.

Issues not fixed well;

1. You decided to abandon dedicated Patriots Cadres who worked for the good of the revolution with commitment, who could transparently be serving and transforming the country with due diligence but unfortunately, you instead opted to recruit and embrace your opponents in favor of us. We saw disaster coming with your method and choice of working.

The moment you decided to selectively work with a few of your favorite Cadres and started working with people who from the onset had sworn to fail your leadership, this enabled us to detect a serious miss of a step by you Sir. These are the same people who have no compassion and love for the Nation instead, it is money. I can call them political Mercenaries and Hynas. The majority of Ugandans are struggling with the high cost of living, struggling with fees while a tiny proportion of the population owns 3/4 of the economy.

This is a big disparity in the welfare of our people. While working hard to pay taxes and to put food on the table while some few easily scoop it from a silver plate. Such inequalities are dangerous for national security. This can result in the masses throwing away NRM in 2026. I joined FRONASA in 1977, and in 1980 I was elected the UPM youth leader for Bugisu, supported your war efforts, and to date, I have been involved in protecting the revolution.

We have been loyal Cadres for such a long time, though with some disagreements. We have committed people who can be of use to fight corruption. It is not about a gun or one being highly educated, it’s about having the will dedication, and commitment.

Corruption and Intrigue have reached appalling levels in the Party. Instead, we see people whom we resisted getting recognized with medals, given business opportunities, and their kids easily getting jobs. What a blunder!

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2. Consequences; the collapse of the government is now imminent. Like it or not, the government has been pushed to the edge of the cliff by the same people you embraced, trusted, and gave key positions leaving out your own trusted Cadres. These people did not join you to build and consolidate the revolution, instead they came in with a hidden sinister agenda to use NRM as a transactional vehicle to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayers.

They have caused a financial collapse of the country by stealing through corrupt tendencies, instead of serving. This is a disgrace and shame to the government. The majority view our NRM as a government of thieves. Please, Sir, do not ignore what is going on in Parliament. This is a red signal. The mafia in Parliament who are the beneficiaries will try to trivialize it as a political- witch hunt. This is a bombshell. Invest more in investigations.

I applaud the RCC of Rubaga, Mr Burora for having the country at heart. He is the calibre of the late Major Victor Bwana, SDA. He is a real Cadre. Parliament is now viewed as a Den of thieves. From scandal to scandal, endless scandals. From Mabbati to opulent lifestyle, to open stealing. Word of caution to the thieves, the incoming Government will confiscate the loot just as any accountable government does.

3. Way forward; take and make radical changes using draconian measures to rid your government of rotten tomatoes, less done more chances of the collapse of NRM. I have always cautioned NRM that corruption kills and it is killing NRM and the Revolution. Please, Sir, redeem and rescue NRM by making reforms. We need reforms in Parliament where Party bigwigs are not allowed to participate in Parliamentary elections including ministers.

The absence of skilling education undermines the economy of a skilled labour force making the realization of industrialization slow and having fewer jobs for our young population.

Thank you, Sebo. Katonda Akukume.

The writer is a Former Youth UPM leader Freedom Fight, FRONASA Veteran and Former FDC Chairman, Former Chairman of BCU Elders Forum, and a Transformer.



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