The titles of some of their autobiographies sum up the entire story.
The late Sam Kalega Njuba called his ‘The Betrayal’ while Maj John Kazoora Bashaija titled his ‘Betrayed by My Leader.’ I don’t know what former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi will call his. But humiliation, impoverishment, arrest and sometimes torture are the rewards Mr Yoweri Museveni has handed down to people who have been very close to him, served him, or played a very big role in his career.
Those who have survived or stayed with him have had to endure dehumanising treatment, as they are made to permanently play sycophant. It is these choices that people who have worked with Museveni have had to closely make. That is why I don’t know whether to sympathise with or to blame Amama Mbabazi. And take nothing away from him, Amama is a very intelligent man. I am surprised he did not foresee the harsh treatment he is receiving these days.
My friend Medard Sseggona likes quoting someone who once remarked that “a good guest is one who knows when to leave.” I think it was a big judgment error for Mbabazi not to have left at the time his colleagues like Nuwe Amanya Mushega, Matthew Rukikaire and Richard Kaijuka abandoned ship.
The Mushegas would never have treated him the way the likes of Evelyn Anite, Peter Ogwang, Hatwib Katoto, Rose Najjemba and Nekesa Barbra Oundo have. If you have read George Orwell’s Animal Farm, you know what I am talking about. I think it is cowardice trying to take aantage of other people’s misfortune.
If you want to draw a list of victims who have served Museveni with gusto, before they are humiliated and some dehumanised, read the UPDF Act 2005. Schedule two of this act lists 15 senior members of the army council as at January 26, 1986. In fact, many of these are the ones who commanded, I think, the six battalions that helped Museveni capture power.
They are major generals Mugisha Muntu, Joram Mugume, Ivan Koreta brigadiers Jim Muhwezi and Steven Kashaka colonels Kahinda Otafiire, Pecos Kutesa, Julius Chihandae and Peter Kerim Lt Cols Fred Mwesigye, Gyagenda Kibirango, Ahmed Kashilingi, Samson Mande and Amin Izaruk.
To show their importance, Museveni even put them in the UPDF Act. They are permanent members of the army council. I think a roll call will give you the fate of each. The most dehumanised, I think, were Kashilingi and Chihandae. I have, as a journalist, interacted with Kashilingi and I am not sure he will ever recover from the mistreatment meted out to him during his incarceration at Makindye military barracks.
This guy who commanded, I think, the 5th battalion that fought along Masaka highway up to Entebbe, allegedly, remained handcuffed inside a prison cell for nearly two years. He was taught how to grab eats using his mouth, like an animal, as the hands remained handcuffed. He, then, would ease himself using a bucket and rub his buttocks against the wall, to clean himself!
Chihandae’s fate was hardly different, and when he was released, he became a charcoal vendor! The last time I asked, he had been dumped at one of our embassies in the Middle East. Interestingly, it is late James Kazini Bunanukye that was employed to torment his seniors, supervised, I think, by Gen David Tinyefuza. You all remember circumstances under which Kazini met his creator.
There was a time Kazini was the darling – more loved than Kale Kayihura. Can you imagine, Museveni once lent him his presidential motorcade and at another time a presidential chopper. See how he ended, from Luzira to Draru and then six feet under.
What about Gen Tinyefuza? He is one of the eight historical members of the High Command inscribed in the UPDF Act, schedule three. The others are: Yoweri Museveni, Salim Saleh, Elly Tumwine, Eriya Kategaya (RIP), Matayo Kyaligonza, Tadeo Kanyankore (RIP) and Fred Rwigema Gisa (RIP). Incidentally, both Rwigema and Kanyankore don’t appear in the final version of the act, which is also posted on the internet.
Of the eight, it is only Saleh who has been treated with dignity. He is mentioned in one scandal after another, but continues being appointed and deployed, especially in departments where there is a lot of money. He is currently in UPDF and Naads.
I think, quietly, Tumwine must be bleeding inside his heart, as he has no role. Tinyefuza is in exile. Kyaligonza is a diplomat abroad, but to borrow Prof Edward Rugumayo’s words, he is probably also in exile. Rugumayo refused to go to France where Museveni had deployed him as ambassador, describing the appointment as another term in exile.
There is something I admire about Batooro. I think it is only Rugumayo and Col Tom Butime that declined these sorts of appointments. You all know Kategaya died a very frustrated person. So, Kategaya, Kanyankore, Tinyefuza and Kyaligonza were treated the same way.
One will argue that some of these people faced numerous accusations, but what about Pius Bigirimana whose book on corruption Museveni prefaced and launched? And victims are not very difficult to find. Does anyone remember Hope Mwesigye in the seventh Parliament?
The narration above can no longer help Mbabazi but there are people who need to read this article critically and think hard: Anite, Ogwang, Omona, Oundo, Todwong and Frank Tumwebaze.
The author is Kyadondo East MP.
Source : The Observer