SIR â€“ I have followed with amazement, anger and utter disgust the repeated lies by UPC presidential candidate Miria Obote and her campaign agents about the Ombaci massacre in West Nile. The media have reported these lies as if they were the truth.
For example, according to your February 20 edition, UPC Assistant Secretary General Chris Opoka-Okumu said, at a rally in Arua, that it was Museveniâ€™s Front for National Salvation (Fronasa) forces that â€œmasterminded the Ombaci massacres of July 1980â€.
This outrageous lie was also told by Dr Moses Apiliga, Miria Oboteâ€™s principal special adviser on foreign affairs at a rally in Arua in January.
He said when the massacre happened, he and Museveni were ministerial colleagues. Then a few days later, your paper reported Miria Obote repeating the lie in Koboko.
The massacre happened mid-1981. Apiliga was a minister then but Museveni was already in the bush in Luwero. The same lies have been repeated by UPC officials who probably under-estimate the intelligence of West Nile people.
It seems UPC officials right from Miria Obote down to her campaign agents, have rehearsed the same lie, with only slight variations. To put the record straight, the massacre took place on June 24, 1981, more than six months into Oboteâ€™s term as president after elections in mid-December.
It was a Wednesday I will never forget. More than 80 people, including babies, were killed in cold blood by the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) soldiers.
As a survivor, I am distressed that the media is helping UPC to rewrite history by repeating a lie in the hope that if nobody challenges them, they will establish a false version of what happened. I am even more dismayed that no Government spokesman has come forward to refute these lies. At least I have not read about it. But thank God, there are many survivors.
If after elections the Government is wise enough to set up a truth and reconciliation commission, we will get a chance to tell the world the atrocities and looting that UPC and UNLA committed in West Nile for six years. Dr. Apiliga, who calls himself a son of West Nile, has re-opened wounds of atrocities that we find too painful even to remember. Since he said he is ready to tell the truth before a truth and reconciliation commission, I give him notice.
A Lugbara proverb says, â€œLiars have short legs. The truth will soon catch up with them.â€ Twenty-five years may have passed, but we have not forgotten. Even the missionaries and Red Cross officials who witnessed the murders, rapes and lootings can bear witness.
It was Luo-speaking UNLA soldiers who massacred our people. Even their Kiswahili had heavy Acholi and Langi accents. You donâ€™t have to take my word for this. Check the facts with human rights or newspaper reports of that time.
To the people of West Nile, let us reject UPC membersâ€™ insincere apologies and treat them like we treat all oleba (sorcerers) who come to dance on the graves of those they have killed. And may the spirits of all those killed by UNLA haunt them until their miserable deaths.
This is the truth about the Ombaci massacre