Uganda at 55: Reflections on Luwero Triangle Bush War.
It is 32 years since it ended. The question is: Is Uganda more independent than she is after the end of the bush war when we were told Uganda was liberated? When Uganda got political independence from the British colonialists on 9th October, 1962 there was no prior shedding of blood. However, when Uganda was ostensibly liberated on 25th January 1986 it was atop a concealed genocide of almost a million people. The impression we were given through a well-crafted propaganda machine was that all the killing was done by Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). Which one?
We should remember that UNLA was mainly originally two things in one: Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) of Yoweri Museveni and Kikosi Malumu of Apollo Milton Obote. It was a marriage of Convenience, which was destined to turn sour.
Whatever justifications Yoweri Museveni gave for rushing to the bush to wage war against the elected government of Apollo Milton Obote, the war was to be about the eventual liberation of Rwandese Using Ugandan space, resources and human life; not affirming the independence of Uganda.
FRONASA elements, who were mainly Rwandese refugees, but some trained during the time Yoweri Museveni was the political Head of Ministry of Defence in the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF) Government, conveniently and easily walked off to the bush with UNLA unform. So in effect there were two UNLAs – the one inherited by Obote, but now remaining mainly as Kikosi Malumu, the one with allegence to Yoweri Museveni but mainly refugees. The latter first formed the People’s Redemption Army (PRA), which did not perform well at the war front. But in numbers they must have numbered some 4000; not the popularly recited 27. The PRA were saved by Baganda neo-traditionalists led by Yusuf Lule, who met in Kabete, Kenya, in 1981 and formed their National Resistance Movement (NRM). Being non-Militarists, they invited the then PRA leader, Yoweri Museveni, to forge a united front and lead their armed wing, which they called National Resistance Army (NRA). Eventually the political leadership of NRM and the military leadership of the NRA were squarely in the hands of former FRONASA/PRA elements. It had remained so to this day, with some sugarcoating with some people with no prior linkage to the original and planned structure and function of NRM/A now NRM/UPDF. During the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution, Yoweri Museveni wished the name of the army remained NRA and was not changed to Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF). In practice UPDF has remained NRA andoperates as if its total commitment is to resist the emergence of a new crop of nationalists and a new nationalism in Uganda. It appears increasingly vivid that it is doing this n concert with the Uganda Police, which now coexists with it in a reversible equation.
So what is the future of the independence of Uganda? It is increasingly zero. Former refugees have seized Uganda’s independence and crushed it. As time goes on they will be joined by new refugees to ensure the reign of refugees is not lost well in future.
For example, the 200,000 Rwandese refugees expelled by Tanzania not long ago were welcome to Uganda by the NRM regime and there is a strong belief by many that they carry the national identity cards of Ugandans when millions of Ugandans do not have them yet. Many refugees are also armed at the expense of indigenous whose parents and grandparents celebrated and hilurated when the British Union Flag was lowered and the New Flag of the Commonwealth Realm of Uganda, to become Uganda the following year, was raised, and the instruments of power were handed of to Prime Minister Apollo Milton Obote on 9th October 1962.
The future and destiny of Uganda must be in the hands of Ugandans to safeguard our independence. It will be bloody to wrestle Uganda from others. It will be a ear between former refugees/refugees and indigenous Ugandans. How, when indigenous Ugandans will liberate Uganda and themselves should be the new question and thinking on Uganda at 55.
For God and My Country