President Yoweri Museveni yesterday bitterly criticised Ruhama MP Augustine Ruzindana for saying he had been in the liberation struggle with him for more than 30 years
Ruzindana last Friday addressed a Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO) meeting in Mbale where he said he had known Museveni since they were in school together.
PAFO is campaigning against the proposal to scrap Article 105 of the Constitution which limits presidents to a maximum of two five-year terms in office.
The full text of Museveniâ€™s letter appears below:
It is quite disgusting to read some of the lies being told by Hon. Ruzindana. In the remarks attributed to him in The New Vision and Monitor of 30th November, 2003, he, among other statements, claimed that he has been â€œin the Liberation struggleâ€ with Museveni for more than 30 years. This is a falsehood.
Mr. Ruzindana joined FRONASA for only 3 years (1971-1974). As secretary for defence of FRONASA, I sent Mr. Ruzindana with some other comrades, along with 53 fighters, to the FRELIMO camp, in Nachingwea, Tanzania. They were recruits from, mainly, Bugisu.
Mr. Ruzindana and his colleagues on site could not manage that group. Their group became very indisciplined. The late President of Mozambique, comrade Samora Machel, at that time still a freedom fighter himself summoned me and told me to take the group away. We disbanded the group.
Earlier on, in 1972, Mr. Ruzindana had been with us in the abortive attack on Mbarara on the 17th September, 1972. He got separated from the main group. Later on, however, he rejoined us in Tanzania. That is when we arranged to send him to the training camp in Nachingwea mentioned a little earlier.
After the Nachingwea failure, we disagreed and separated. Our final disagreement was in a meeting in Mombasa. I, separately, worked to rebuild the organisation. This was 1974.
That is when I linked up with other cadres within Uganda such as Hon. Mbabazi, Hon. Otafire, Mr. Zubairi Bakari, Mr. Kibazo, mr. Haruna Kibuye and a few others. It is with these that I was able to rebuild the organization. Mr. Ruzindana took up a job in Dar-es-Salaam. I worked briefly in Moshi (1974-1976) and, then, resigned, again, in order to continue the struggle.
Even my working in Moshi was in order to link up with Uganda. I would teach up to Friday and leave by night bus to be in Nairobi by early Saturday; travel to Kisumu, meet the Mbabazis on that same Saturday; then travel back to Moshi to be in class by Monday morning.
The next time I met Ruzindana was in early 1979 when our forces had already captured Mbarara under the command of the Tanzanians. I had gone back to Dar-es-Salaam to meet President Nyerere.
I was invited by a group of Ugandan exiles in the Changombe suburb of Dar-es-Salaam. I briefed them on what was happening on the war front and that was that. Ruzindana never participated in the 1978/79 War against Amin. He never participated in 1981-1986 Luweero War; not even in the support civilian role like some of the others did.
The next time I saw Ruzindana, who during Obote II was working with the Board of Trade (I think), was when the NRM had captured power in 1986. He came to see me with a group of people including Mrs. Sekitoleko, Zerida Rwabusyagara and Aida Mehangye, he told me that they had been having a discussion group in Kampala.
Since we did not have many intellectuals in the bush, I appointed Mr. Ruzindana as IGG. That is the 30 years of Mr. Ruzindanaâ€™s â€œparticipation in the liberation struggleâ€ with Museveni. Possibly Mr. Ruzindana could describe himself as a â€œsympathiserâ€ of the resistance for most of the 30 years he is talking about. His active participation was for only three years (1971-1974).
I would not , for the time being, like to go into other issues. Before I conclude, I need to point out that it is not necessary for somebody to have fought in, or, actively supported the resistance, to participate in the political process in any legal way.
All Ugandans have got equal rights and opportunities in the democratic process. That is why I have often frowned at those who have opportunistically misused the term â€œhistoricalsâ€ even when their claim to that prestigious title is rather tenuous. What is not acceptable, to use the least offensive terminology, is to tell lies about the role one may have played in the Resistance.
When we came from the bush I, politely, did not want to point fingers at those who may have let us down. I wanted to involve everybody even those who had been opposed to us. Since, however, some elements, persistently, misuse the title â€œhistoricalsâ€ to divide the Movement, against all my advice, it is my duty to, when necessary, expose the falseness of their claims. Fortunately, I was there all the time.
Lt. Gen. Yoweri
Museveni blasts Ruzindana