Tororo hopes for lasting unity ahead of NRM fete
By Daniel Edyegu
At the White House in Tororo, a name coined for the two storeyed main district administration block, the external serenity belies battles raging within. The lawn of the compound is well kempt and surroundings are visibly neat. The streets are equally calm and neat.
However, there has been a raging battle for a district split that has almost paralysed all local government engagements. As Tororo district hosts the 33rd national NRM Day celebrations at Muwafu Primary School in Mulanda sub-county today, the desire for district status is an issue many residents feel should be high on the agenda.
James Wandera, the assistant bursar of Rock High School, a government-aided secondary school in Tororo municipality, says given the golden opportunity the district has got to host the national day, the politicians must explore avenues of casting aside their sentiments and work towards unification.
Wandera says given the sprouting infrastructural development at Malaba entry border point and the industrial infrastructures at the district, the leaders must find a way to realign their interests for the benefit of the district as a whole.
“There is a lot of mushrooming infrastructural developments in Tororo district of late at the border, in the health sector, the schools and the manufacturing sector. The only lacking ingredient is unity and cohesion at the top. Based on the above, I feel that my brothers and sisters involved in the district tribal conflict should use this opportunity to respectfully table their grievances to find reconciliation.” CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
Etyang on NRM service, liberalisation of the media
When the NRM government took power, Paul Etyang Orono was working as a diplomat with the United Nations in New York. It is at this time that the NRA government appointed him a minister of co-operation in 1988. He took a hard decision to leave his family behind so as to rebuild the country that was in a shambles. His major contribution is undoubtedly the liberalisation of the media in the early 1990s. He told PRISCA BAIKE about his service to the NRM government.
Why did President Yoweri Museveni appoint you minister?
When NRM took power, they came up with an idea of having a government of national reconciliation by appointing ministers on a regional basis. They needed people who knew how to manage government affairs. The policy at that time was to pick ministers on the basis of experience and from Tororo, I was the only one who met their needs. I had just been given a good post in the UN and was slated to move to Nigeria as the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) when the appointment as a minister of regional co-operation came. Also, as a student at Makerere University, Independence now was the song we had at the time. We had a very anti-colonial stance and it was partly because of that commitment that several years later, I was given the position in Museveni’s government.
How did you react to the appointment?
It was not easy to return with family to Uganda, having left the country safely, especially since I had hardly settled in New York. My wife and children rebelled against me. We were previously under government scrutiny because of my wife, Zahara Etyang, who is a Tanzanian. They thought that being married to a Tanzanian woman, I would bring a lot of problems between Amin and Nyerere since Tanzania was at war with Uganda. I left my family in London and came back to Uganda. I had to come back because I did not want to be misunderstood for refusing to serve in the new government. I was asked to help the Government stabilise and eventually go back to my post in New York. But when I came back here, I found so many challenges. The UN, at that time, gave me two years to sort out issues back home, but by the time they ended I was still embroiled in government work. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
Everything I fought for has come to pass — Maj. Gen. Nalyweyiso
By Chris Kiwawulo
At the rank of Major General, Proscovia Nalweyiso is currently the highest ranking female officer in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF). Nalweyiso was among the very first women to join the National Resistance Army (NRA) combatants in the jungles of Luwero.
Other notable female combatants who joined the 1981-86 struggle include Lt. Joy Mirembe (RIP), Capt. Oliver Zizinga, Capt. Gertrude Njuba, Maj. Maimuna Nadduli and Maj. Dora Kutesa, the wife of Maj. Gen. Pecos Kutesa. Nalweyiso joined the bush war in 1982.
A year later, when the NRA formed the women’s wing, she was appointed the unit commander. In 1984, most of the women were ordered by the NRA high command to move to western Uganda from their base in Luwero. They moved together with the sick and injured combatants.
Although the overall commander of this expedition was the late Maj. Gen. Fred Rwigyema and the late Brig. Chefe Ali, Nalweyiso played a big role since she was in command of the women. By 1985, the NRA had successfully set up the western front and the women’s wing actively participated in several battles in western Uganda. “We were in a unit that attacked Mbarara barracks, for example,” she was quoted as saying in an interview with New Vision recently.
It was, however, in this battle that they lost the highest number of combatants in a single battle, numbering 45, including five women fighters. Several fierce lady fighters like machine-gunners Nalongo and Mukombozi were among the NRA combatants that attacked Mbarara barracks, but were killed.
The women’s unit was then moved to Fort Portal and that is where they stayed until the NRA captured power in 1986. After the war, Nalweyiso was promoted to the rank of Captain and given full command of the women’s wing, which according to records, had around 800 fighters then. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
My family didn’t know about my NRA exploits
By Henry Nsubuga
At 36, George William Sikubwabo Keyune was a member of the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM). He was employed at Makerere University as the chief technician in the department of pathology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. However, he says he willingly gave up his job, to join the liberation struggle. Kyeyune, now 74, however, states that it was a hard decision to make.
Married and with four children, Kyeyune kept his decision to join the rebels a secret from his family. “I was arrested and detained for two years, nine months and 10 days. My home was raided and most of my property confi scated,” he narrates. However, his family members were not arrested because they were unaware of his activities. In fact, the news of his arrest came as a surprise.
He says a few friends who knew the reason for his arrest gave some fi nancial assistance to his wife during that period. In the comfort of his retirement home at Kiyunga- Namirembe village in Kyampisi sub-county, Mukono district, Kyeyune narrates his NRA war experience. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
The liberation war in the eyes of a Kadogo
He was just 13 years old when he found himself ighting in the National Resistance Army (NRA) from the jungles of Nakaseke in Luwero Triangle. Maj. Awich Pollar 48, who has long retired from the army, is a legal consultant and an international human rights activist. He serves as a human rights expert at the International Criminal Court (ICC). RITAH MUKASA caught up with him and he shared his story of how and when he joined the liberation war, bush life as a child soldier and how kadogos (kadogo is a Swahili word for ‘small’) were integrated back in the communities after the war.
In 1983, I was just 13 years old when we got trapped in the ighting. I was living with my father, the late Yuvin Okwi, who was serving as a laboratory technician in Nakaseke Hospital.
I was the only child. We had left my mother, the late Betty Among, in the family home in Lira district. I joined the war with my father in its third year. However, we were separated only to reunite years later after liberation. During that time, almost everybody felt indebted to support the liberation war.
The political spirit in NRA (National Resistance Army) was so high. We all saw the cause and conviction, those who died were seen as martyrs. In fact, many people of different age groups joined as volunteers. The situation in the country was unacceptable; marred with high levels of insecurity, corruption, tribalism among others.
Even as children, many of us found all reasons to join and ight for freedom even when the NRA code and practice advocated for protection of available children. From the hospital quarters, we were taken to a nearby camp, which was like the headquarters.
Here, people were grouped and put where they would it and the reorganisation started. As kadogos, we were protected. Our superiors made sure there was minimum exposure to danger.
There were more protective measures to safeguard the children. Because of this, bush life became normal to us, a reason we chose to stay. We were also given rudimentary training in handling ire arms and also received some counselling. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY