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NRM has worked for its support over the years

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd June 2009 03:00 AM

THERE are two political myths that the NRM turn-coats now leading the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and some other critics of President Yoweri Museveni have been spreading.

THERE are two political myths that the NRM turn-coats now leading the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and some other critics of President Yoweri Museveni have been spreading.

By Ofwono-Opondo

THERE are two political myths that the NRM turn-coats now leading the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and some other critics of President Yoweri Museveni have been spreading.

The first, which was repeated last week by former army commander Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu, is that Museveni, NRA and NRM inherited a “massive political goodwill,” when it captured state power in January 1986, which they claim Museveni has “squandered.” NRM did not inherit such a goodwill, but has over time worked for its support among the people.

Recall that Teso, Acholi, Lango and some Buganda political elites refused to recognise the NRM Government, claiming that Museveni and the NRA commanders were Rwandan citizens. These included people like Cecilia Ogwal, Tiberio Atwoma Okeny and even young Norbert Mao until they ran out of steam.

The second lie is that Museveni and NRM had been “very popular,” in Teso sub-region, but have gradually lost that popularity and, therefore, FDC is riding on it. Muntu then claimed that as a result, Museveni is now “trapped by failures he is unwilling to apologise for.”

First the NRA/M led by Museveni captured after a hotly contested five armed struggle and those who were defeated like UPC, UNLA and the Tito Okello military junta did not take it lying down.

The Democratic Party (DP) which claimed it had been cheated by UPC in the 1980 general elections began rearguard actions to undermine the new administration with numerous demands, including high government positions.

The Buganda federalists abolished by Milton Obote in 1966 also piled pressure for its restoration. UPC refused until 2006 to directly participate in Ugandan politics as long NRM and Museveni were in charge. They boycotted NRC, the Odoki constitution commission, the Constituent Assembly (CA), 6th and 7th Parliaments, and those who dared were rebuked, isolated and dismissed. Surely these are not indicators of “massive goodwill,” Muntu would want Ugandans to believe.

On the military front the vanquished UPC and UNLA tribal chauvinistic supporters built eight armed groups to challenge NRA/M, which has only recently been defeated.

Muntu was deputy director of military intelligence under Paul Kagame, and later army commander for almost nine years. Does Muntu want to suggest that these armed rebellions almost throughout the country were indicators of “massive goodwill?”

In the east, there was Force Obote Back Again of Aggrey Awori, Uganda Peoples’ Army (UPA) of Sam Otai, Col.William Omaria and Musa Ecweru, Ninth October Movement of former army chief of staff Brig. Smith Opon Acak and Ahmed Ogeny who captured as they re-entered Uganda in Bududa, and Save Uganda Movement led by the late Ateker Ejalu.

West Nile had FUNA, Uganda Rescue Front, and West Nile Bank Front with each having at least two factions for NRA/M to deal with. In Buganda there was Kirimutuu an outfit of DP and federal agitators under Lutakome Kayira, Polly Mukiibi and Maj. Fred Mpiso.

In Lango marauding former UPC young-wingers and UNLA soldiers re-grouped, while in Acholi UNLA who had fled to Southern Sudan regrouped under the Uganda People’s Democratic Army under Brig. Odong Latek, Brig. Eric Odwar. Otema Allimadi and Charles Alai were their political leaders.

Still in Acholi there emerged Alice Lakwena’s Holy Spirit Movement, and Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). All these groups were being supported by their tribal supporters who had fled to the diaspora in western Europe, US, Canada, Zambia and Kenya.

In fact, Kenya, Sudan, and Zaire offered them operational military rear bases. Under Muntu as director of military intelligence, NRA arrested and confined UPA rebel suspects who suffocated to death in a rail wagon in Mukura.

Would Muntu admit and apologise for that failure if not excess. Also his failure as army commander for nine years to defeat LRA which massacred 252 in Atiak on May 20, 1995, and abducted 159 Aboke school girls on October 8, 1996, and ADF burnt 67 Kichwamba technical collage students in October 1996. aOf course there were the excesses during “Operation North,” 1990 including the Burcoro incident in Aswa county, Gulu where people died in a pit as Muntu camped in Lira.

The second myth is NRM support in Teso, which Museveni has squandered. Teso took up arms under the guise of Karimojong cattle rustlers and politicians mobilised people to attack NRA. During the elections to the expanded NRC in February 1989, Teso returned only former UPC activists very hostile to NRM and Museveni.

Through the CA, Sixth, and Seventh parliaments Teso did not vote for Museveni and largely returned opposition but who once in Parliament somersaulted and each time there has been election such MPs like Fiona Egunyu, John Eresu and Tom Omogole were voted out because they are seen as traitors to oppositionist wishes of their electorate.

Therefore, if you look at these trends in Teso sub-region, since the days of the NRC one cannot claim that Teso has all along been a movement stronghold and neither can one claim that Museveni or the NRM enjoyed a massive good will. Museveni and the NRM have worked hard for the support they enjoy today.

The writer is the deputy NRM spokesman

NRM has worked for its support over the years

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