Monday, 28 January 2019

UGANDA: When Gen. Muntu plotted to split from Museveni's bush war NRA


"Internal contradictions developed because I remember when I returned from hospital I found the commanders were being influenced by the old culture where the commanders were everything. The Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and the young graduates were being branded “intellectuals.”

Disagreements develop

Some of the commanders had been trained in Munduli. [Tanzania] and had served in the UNLA, they used to have a practice called “size ya commander” (fit for the commander). You would go for an attack and charge things like new uniforms or boots and other things and the commander would say, “hiyo ni size ya commander” meaning you should hand it over because the size fits the commander.

It was a small thing but it would tell the thinking and this was early in the struggle. We challenged that.  It reached a time when where we had planned to split the camp. We linked up with NCOs, we were led by Enoch Mondo we wanted to pick up our things and leave at night.

We wanted to walk away but continue the struggle separately until this issue was resolved. It seems Museveni had heard of the unrest in the bush because before we effected our plan he came back. We held a meeting and throughout the meeting it was the intellectuals who took over the discussion of what direction to take.

We needed to chart a new direction. We said we were not careerists and that this was a political struggle executed through military means.  I think we won the argument because a number of things changed, things like Unit Disciplinary Committees were established, finance committees, we also started having regular baraza discussions where soldiers could express themselves without fear of reprisal from the commanders and policy and administrative committees and for fair and equal distribution of whatever came our way.

We felt we had now set up a new foundation. Corporal punishments were outlawed. Previously, a commander would just flog a soldier or order any punishment anyhow."
      Gen. Muntu in an interview with the The Daily Monitor - March 2010.

Gen. Pecos Kutesa confirms this in his February 2004 interview with The Daily Monitor newspaper thus;
       "When we got back to our colleagues in Luwero in December 1981, we found that there had developed a problem of command. We now had a group of intellectuals who had joined us from Makerere University, who questioned commands from illiterate officers. Mzee had the duty of educating all groups about the philosophy of the struggle and sanity returned."

Reknown NRA machinegunner, Enock Tumuheirwe Mondo who was supposed to lead the breakaway group was later to die in combat when he was marooned in a hail of bullets and bombs during the battle at Kalongero bridge in Luwero.

Gen. Muntu who rose through the ranks to become the Army Chief (1989 - 1998) disagreed with Museveni's continued hold on power and quit the army.  He turned down Museveni's offer of the portfolio of Minister of Defense thus;
         "He wrote to me a letter, shifting me from command and making me a minister.
I wrote back to him within that very short period thanking him for having appointed me the Commander, and for the period I served but turned down the offer he had given me."
      Gen. Muntu in interview with The Daily Monitor - October 2012.

Upon retirement he became a founding member of the leading opposition party, the FDC.  He rose to the party presidency before he recently quit citing irreconcilable internal contradictions thus is in the process of founding his own party.

The above trend of events suggest that Gen. Muntu is  defiant in character. More especially when he has good reasons.

change of guards

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