Was President Museveni destined to survive and lead Uganda, or did the circumstances prevailing in the country play into his hands?
It is on record that through his struggles, Museveni survived bullet shots on a number of occasions. Since December 1969, bullets have passed too close to Museveni’s body thrice.
In December 1969, while with the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) troops inside Mozambique, John Kawanga, Museveni’s fellow student at the University of Dar es Salaam, nearly shot him.
The second time was in January 1973 when Museveni survived death by a whisker at Maluku Housing Estate in Mbale Town when soldiers of the Uganda Army, under former president Idi Amin’s regime, shot at him. They missed as he ran away.
However, two of his fellow guerrillas, Martin Mwesiga and Wunku Mpima aka Kazimoto, were not lucky. They were captured and shot dead. The trio had been arrested while on a clandestine mission to recruit fighters in eastern Uganda.
The third time recorded was on July 19, 1980. This time it was one of his bodyguards who shot towards him. The incident happened at Kiryandongo Trading Centre in Masindi District in western Uganda, where he had been addressing a political rally as the interim chairman of the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) and also vice chairman of the Military Council.
The escort’s gun went off, killing one UPM young man instantly and injuring two others. The government newspaper, the Uganda Times of July 20, 1980, reported the incident.
Later, while addressing another rally at Nyakaseke play ground in Kabarole District, Museveni responded to the Kiryandongo shooting.
The Uganda Times of July 22, 1980, quoted him as having said: “We had a crowd of about (100) people, most of them seated. My bodyguard sat at the back and his gun had been cocked, but its chamber had not been locked.”
“In the course of our discussion, the bodyguard, I was told, dosed off and when he got hold of his gun, some bullets went out killing one UPM youth and injuring two other UPM supporters.”
Museveni added: “In [the] confusion, my bodyguard dropped his gun and started crying. I personally apprehended him and handed him over to the police at Kiryandongo. He was crying saying, ‘If you want to kill me, kill me, but it was an accident’.”
While it was an accident as the bodyguard said, it was also a miracle that none of the flying bullets hit Museveni.
After the Luweero Bush War, Museveni often said many of his comrades died during the struggle (from 1971-1986):“Owabaire ataine kikondo abangi tibararabire murutaro.” Loosely translated as, “Those who did not have the charm did not survive during the struggle.”
Meanwhile, the Uganda Times of July 26, 1980, reported that the suspect, Private Elijah Mugabe, appeared before a Masindi District Magistrate’s Court and was charged with murder. He was remanded in custody until August 1, 1980, pending police investigations.
Earlier, the Uganda Times of July 19, 1980, had reported that Elijah Mugabe, who was seated behind Museveni, touched the trigger of his gun and several bullets went out, killing a spectator, William Kazibwe, who was among others seated in front of Museveni and listening to his speech.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor