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THE UPC ROLE IN THE REMOVAL OF AMIN
PAPER BY A. MILTON OBOTE
- There is some dispute in Uganda on what political force removed Amin's military dictatorship.
- The Amin coup was effected and supported by powerful countries abroad. The dictatorship which the coup ushered was therefore a political force in which countries abroad had much interest and wanted the dictatorship to last. The counter political forces in Uganda, composed of the leaders and members of the UPC and leaders and members of the DP were not organised.
- When Amin appointed the DP leader and the leader accepted to be Chief Justice in a dictatorship, the DP component of the unorganised counter political force became impotent, leaving only the UPC component. Had the UPC done, nothing, there would have been no Uganda political force in the removal of Amin. This Paper, gives in summary what the UPC did from January 1971 to April 1979 and since no other Uganda political force was in the arena, the laurel for the removal of Amin belongs indisputably to the UPC.
- The dispute or claims arise because when the Tanzania Peoples Defence Forces (TPDF) and Uganda Militia then known as Kikosi Maalum had already captured Mbarara and Masaka, the Tanzanian Government was pressurised by the then British Labour Government to hold a Conference which was to agree on a Uganda Administration to succeed Amin.
- I was the first to receive in the forenoon on 11 April, 1979, the news of the fall of Amin. No member of Uganda National Liberation Front Administration (UNLF) could have been the first or even amongst the first 100 people to receive the news. They could not because they were never involved and were not in the war against Amin and were also, as their record in office showed, not a political force. Their Party, the UNLF and their Administration both became realities because the British labour Government pressurised Tanzania to ensure that the Uganda successor Administration to Amin was not led by the UPC and was to be very much against the UPC.
- No member of the UNLF Administration and not even Museveni who entered Uganda during the war on the coat tails of the Tanzanian Army had participated in the raising of the Kikosi Maalum - the Uganda Militia who together with the Tanzanian Army, was fighting a war against Amin.
- Throughout the UNLF Administration, the Kikosi Maalum was known as the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) but another Militia which, after January, 1986 was to be claimed to have also fought Amin under the name of FRONASA and with Museveni as its leader was not known.
- Before the UNLF itself was formed, I had, as UPC leaders, sent Teams to Masaka and Ankole Districts to mobilise the people to support the war efforts for the overthrow of Amin. The leader of the Masaka team was Samwiri Mugwisa. The leaders of the Ankole team were Chris Rwakasisi and Major Edward Rurangaranga. I had also sent before the formation of the UNLF a team of Economists under the leadership of Joseph Okune to Masaka to observe, assess and report on the war damage to the economy and infrastructure.
- On 11 April, 1979 when Kampala fell to the Kikosi Maalum and TPDF, Museveni was in Fort Portal staying with Princess Elizabeth Bagaya in the Omukama's Palace which the TPDF who had captured the Town never damaged at all. On that same day, the President of the UNLF and all his ministers who attended the Conference at which the UNLF was formed except Museveni were, like me, in Dar es Salaam.
- Before dawn on 11 April when the invading armies (TPDF and Kikosi Maalum) were around King's College Budo, the Tanzanian officers who were in overall command of the two armies asked Kikosi Maalum to enter Kampala first. The ground given was that the Ugandans in the Kikosi Maalum knew the nooks of Kampala better than the Tanzanian officers.
- When Kampala fell to the Kikosi Maalum, what the officers of that army wanted uppermost was a telephone to ring Dar es Salaam and report the fact to their political leader, the UPC President. Since the telephone lines to countries outside Uganda were down, the officers of the Kikosi Maalum worked hard to find someone who could open or reactivate telephone lines to countries outside Uganda. The officers found engineer Chris Opio who willingly and readily went with the officers to the telephone House in a situation where pockets of Amin's army were firing various types of weapons randomly and at moving vehicles.
- At the telephone House, Chris Opio reactivated the line to Dar es Salaam and the late Maj. General David Oyite-Ojok, who knew my number, placed a call to me. The news which David gave me was most exhilarating. The struggle the UPC had waged from 25 January, 1971, came to an end that day when Amin's dictatorship fell. The first thing I did was to ring President Nyerere and reported that I had heard from David who rang from Kampala which had fallen that morning. The President came to my residence immediately and we celebrated the fall of Amin. That day, we had a double celebration at the residence because Mrs. Oyite-Ojok delivered a baby boy in the afternoon.
- Although it was the Kikosi Maalum, the Ugandan Militia Force raised by the UPC leader and members which entered Kampala first and sent Amin running, the UPC has always praised, thanked and acknowledged the political force which was the greatest factor which removed Amin's military dictatorship. That political force, was the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). The UPC had, in the 1960s' built a very strong, close and cordial relations with the Tanganyika National Union (TANU), which later changed its name to CCM.
- Also during the same period, the UPC also built the same strong, close and cordial relations with the United National Independence Party (UNIP) of Zambia. The Governments of TANU and UNIP never recognised Amin's authority over Uganda. That is the first indisputable role of the UPC in the removal of Amin. Without those political factors, Amin would, most probably not have been removed on 11 April 1979. No other political Party in Uganda except the UPC created those political factors which on 11 April, 1979 liberated the people of Uganda from a reign of terror and murders.
- On 25 January, 1971 the day of Amin coup, I was in Singapore where I had gone on the pleadings of the leaders of TANU, UNIP and the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa. I had decided not to go to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). An election to the National Assembly was due in April and the Electoral Commission under the Chairmanship of Ateker Ejalu had already demarcated 126 Constituencies which were to be used in 1980. The UPC Government was also finalising the writing of the 2nd 5 year Development Plan following the very successful completion and implementation of the 1st 5 year Development Plan launched in 1963 which saw the standard of living of the people rising from year to year; the construction of 22 Rural Hospitals, Dispensaries, Primary and secondary Schools; tarmacking of roads such as from Masaka to Kabale and from Kampala to Gulu and Lira; extension of the railway line from Soroti to Pakwach and piped water in Kisoro; valley tanks in Teso, Lango and Karamoja, boreholes throughout the country, and Ranches in Luwero and a special livestock Development Scheme in Buganda.
- Before the Singapore CHOGM, the British government announced their decision to sell arms to the Apartheid South Africa regime. The UPC Government immediately conducted research in depth on the import of that decision. A meeting was called in Dar es Salaam for the leaders of TANU, UNIP and UPC to which the leaders of the ANC of South Africa were invited. The UPC leader presented the result of the research the Uganda Government had conducted. The meeting adopted the findings of the research as basis for a common strong opposition by TANU, UNIP, UPC and ANC to the British decision. When the UPC leader told the others that he would not be going to Singapore, the other pleaded that he should go and lead them in opposing the British decision.
- On the remarks by the UPC President against the sale of arms to the Apartheid regime, the British Prime Minister was heard, outside the Meeting saying that some of the African leaders opposing British policy would not return to their countries. Two days later, Amin staged his coup. I flew to Nairobi and was met by Kenya Ministers who took me and my entourage to a hotel.
- The next day, 26 January, I received in my hotel two Tanzanian Ministers sent from India by President Nyerere who was on a State visit to India to ask me to go with the two Ministers to Dar es Salaam. We left Nairobi in the afternoon and on arrival in Dar es Salaam, the struggle for the removal of Amin began in earnest and never ceased until I received the telephone call from David Oyite-Ojok on 11 April, 1979.
- Although I had in Tanzania, a friendly and conducive base which was near Uganda and to where Party members could easily go for discussions on how to reverse the situation, there were also until October 1978 many and difficult imponderables, not least the OAU Charter Provision of "No interference in the internal affairs" of a member State to which Tanzania was a very strong subscriber. There was also the implications of the indecent and hasty recognition of Amin's very brutal dictatorship by the British Government within ten days of the coup. Amin went on official visit to the UK within 6 months of the coup and had lunch with the Queen and dinner with the Prime Minister. In addition, two very adverse conditions existed in Uganda against any preparation for mobilising and mounting some action against the dictatorship.
- The first very adverse condition was that leading politicians were all supporting the brutal military dictatorship. They wrote an open letter to President Nyerere in which they pleaded that I be not granted asylum in Tanzania. Not so leading politicians concentrated on the students. The UPC Government had encouraged the students to build a very strong National Union of Students of Uganda (NUSU). The political job seekers and lovers of dictatorship went to the students particularly at Makerere. The student leaders were urged to support the dictatorship because allegedly "Amin was killing only Obote's people"! To the job seekers and lovers of dictatorship (some of whom were to be the organisers of the Conference at which the UNLF was formed in March 1979 and became leaders of the UNLF), the massacres of citizens of Uganda was not revulsive if only they could become ministers. Amin appointed some to his cabinet and some to the East African Community at a time when Tanzania's non-recognition of Amin also embraced no co-operation with him on the affairs of the East African Community.
- The second very adverse condition which existed in Uganda was that besides the massacres of soldiers, the brutal military dictatorship banned the existence of all political Parties and thereby removed political mobilisation of the people against it. The National Resistance Army (NRA) dictatorship of the charlatans has done exactly the same with the difference that the charlatans have been massacring the people and not soldiers. When Amin was in London lunching with the Queen and dining with the Prime Minister, there were horrendous massacres being committed in the Barracks and at Makindye but the British High Commission and the British Government, feigned having heard nothing and feigned knowing nothing. In London, Amin openly spoke of wanting British arms to enable him to reach Tanzania Ports on the Indian Ocean.
- The Amin Decree which banned the political Parties contradicts the campaigns of the haters of the UPC who, even today falsely charge that the UPC had made Uganda a one-Party State in December, 1969. The chief of the charlatans has also picked on that false charge when Article 269 of his Constitution makes Uganda a one-Party dictatorship whereas the UPC Government never amended the provision in the 1967 Constitution which provided for freedom to form or join a political Party and the existence of Parties in Uganda's body politic.
- For Uganda to have been made a one-Party State in 1969, the Constitution had to be amended and there was no such amendment. Even DP members of the National Assembly, remained members as the Hansard shows after December, 1969 and throughout 1970. It must have been a very curious one-Party State when the main opposition Party had representatives in the National Assembly. The haters of the UPC appear to want dictatorship to shield them from competing with the UPC in the public arena and therefore throw any mud, however inconceivable, at the UPC. They did it under Amin and again have been doing it since January, 1986 under the charlatans.
- In March, 1971, I received an invitation from the Sudanese Government to go to Khartoum where a European mercenary was due to stand trial but not as a witness to the trial. The background is that in 1970 the OAU passed a resolution which called for the arrests by Governments of the Member States of the mercenaries then known to be operating in Africa and the deportation of any arrested mercenary to the country where the mercenary was known to have been operating. A European mercenary who was known to be operating in Southern Sudan crossed into Uganda and was arrested and deported to Sudan.
- When I discussed the invitation with President Nyerere, he expressed much pleasure with it and urged me to accept the invitation without delay. The President saw the invitation as offering an opportunity to enable me to raise a guerrilla army while in Sudan. There were reports at that time of the arrests in Uganda of some people who had tried to travel to Tanzania for military training. Before leaving for Khartoum, I contacted UPC leaders in Uganda and discussed with them how best men could go to Sudan for military training. It was not a propitious proposition because there was at that time a war in Southern Sudan between the Southern Sudanese and the Government in Khartoum.
- It was in that same March, 1971 that I went to Khartoum with ten members of Staff. I remained in Sudan until June 1972.
- In Khartoum, I asked President Nimieri to allow me to recruit men from Uganda and bring them to Sudan. I also asked for facilities for the Sudanese army to train the men as a guerrilla army. The request was referred to the Sudanese army and the response was that it was very unsafe to enter Uganda from Southern Sudan and doubly dangerous to bring men to Sudan through the same route.
- My response to the army report, was to ask for my Staff to be allowed to go to Oraba Market (North of Koboko) where I knew the people of Uganda, Zaire and Sudan sold and bought goods. This was investigated and was found to be a safe route.
- I then held discussions with my Staff and told them what I knew of the Oraba Market, principally that from the market it was easy at normal times to go to Koboko and then to Arua and from Arua to Gulu, Kitgum, Lira, Apac and Masindi Districts. The discussions led to the agreement that the recruiting area should cover the whole of the Northern region plus Teso and Masindi Districts. We had one very serious draw-back; we had no money. I rejected a suggestion that I write to Party leaders in the recruiting area and ask for monetary contributions. All members of my Staff volunteered to go to Oraba and then to Uganda but I selected seven, one of whom was to remain at or near Oraba to receive the recruits.
- After discussions in which how the recruitment was to be done was dissected, I wrote letters to UPC leaders in the recruitment area. Each letter had something known to me and the leader as a way of proving that the letter was from me. A way to conceal the letters in the clothes worn by the recruiters was devised. UPC leaders to whom I wrote were allotted tasks such as either themselves or assigning trusted Party members to escort the recruiters to another leader, return with recruits and escort them towards West Nile to Party leaders there. Leaders in west Nile were, when going to Oraba with the escorts and recruits to wear a designated scarf for identification.
- The recruitment operation was very successful. None of the recruits or Party leaders ran into trouble and all my six Staff members returned to Sudan safely. 700 men were recruited and they were taken by the Sudanese army to a place known as Owiny-Kibul South of Juba. The Sudanese Government and army gave us assistance to embark on agriculture. I visited the camp and talked to the men frequently.
- After some months of vigorous training, I proposed to the Sudanese Government to assist in the infiltration of the men back to their Districts in Uganda through the route which brought them to Sudan, but this time going with concealed weapons. The request was rejected.
- In May, 1972 through Ethiopian negotiations the Sudanese Government and the Southerners concluded an agreement to cease hostilities. The President of Sudan who gave me the news also told me that my men will have to leave Owiny-Kibul because his Government wanted the place to be "Assembly Point" for the Southern combatants. The Ugandans had made the place very habitable with large farms. I reported the development to President Nyerere who sent an emissary to Khartoum. With the support of the emissary, I requested to go to the men but we were told that despite the cease fire, the South was very fluid and it was not safe for me to go South. Sudan offered to get a ship to take the men to Dar es Salaam but the emissary proposed Tanga. Soon thereafter Sudan arranged for me to fly to Dar es Salaam.
- In Dar es Salaam, I joined my family who, themselves had not been long in the city and they had a very chilling story to tell. After constant harassment from January, 1971 they escaped to Nairobi with the intention of going to Dar es Salaam. In Nairobi, they reported their presence to the authorities. On discovering that my family was no longer at the Kololo house, Amin contacted President Kenyatta and requested for their return to Uganda in case they were in Kenya. On finding that my family was in Nairobi and had reported their presence to the Immigration officials, President Kenyatta made Amin to promise that no harm would be done to them when they return to Uganda.
- It was the promise of a liar and murderer. Amin went to Tororo and himself instructed the Police Commander there to send my family to Lira when they reach Tororo from Kenya. The Police officer had been before 25 January, 1971 a member of my escort unit. When the family arrived at Malaba in their vehicle, the Police officer did not tell them that he had been directed that they go to Lira. The family therefore proceeded to Kampala where Amin subjected my children, the youngest of whom was only four years old, to a TV Studio interrogations asking them whether they wanted to join their father in exile. Those who saw the TV interrogations, will recall that each of the three boys answered the questions without fear that they wanted to be with their father.
- Had my family taken the road to Lira from Tororo, they would have been murdered either on the way or in Lira. I cite two pieces of evidence. First, in 1980 during the elections campaign when I was in Kumi, I met the Tororo Police officer. The officer told me that after my family had left Malaba between eleven and noon, five heavily armed military men went to his office in the afternoon and asked for the family. The officer told the five men that the family had gone to Lira and had left Tororo at eleven o'clock. Second, two days later the five men when in Lira went from house to house harassing and mistreating my relatives and friends that they were looking for my family to take to Kampala to meet the President. My relatives sent an urgent message to Kampala and the mother of the three boys decided to plan for an immediate second escape. Only one person in this Seminar knew and helped with the second escape which took the family from Kampala straight to Nairobi Airport from where they boarded an aircraft to Dar es Salaam where I joined them.
- The 700 men, in fact 743 men I left in Sudan boarded a ship at Port Said for Tanga. When the ship arrived at Tanga Port, only a few of the men were not sick and some had died on the way and buried at Sea. It was learnt that the ship used to ferry cattle to Aden. The cause of the illness on board was meningitis.
- From Tanga Port, the men were taken to Andeni, a very fertile place not far from Tanga. The Tanzania Medical personnel, Doctors and Nurses served the men with much dedication and commitment.
- In Dar es Salaam, I wasted no time in contacting Party leaders, members and sympathisers in Kampala to report my return to Dar es Salaam. I also asked them to get to Kampala Party leaders from the recruitment area and when the latter got to Kampala, I congratulated each of them for their roles in the recruitment. I kept contact with Party leaders in various parts of the country.
- In August, 1972, it was widely reported that Amin had claimed to have been told by God in a dream that he must deport all persons of Asian origin. A date for their mass deportation was set in September.
- After the date for the mass deportation of the Asians was set, President Nyerere told me that his Intelligence service and Museveni had advised that an invasion of Uganda be mounted to coincide with the date of mass deportations. The President told me that the Intelligence Service had been helping Museveni to ferry weapons into Uganda and that Museveni had raised thousands of men who were already armed and were in the areas of Jinja, Masaka and Mbarara.
- What the President told me sounded to me as a fairy tale but diplomacy could not allow me to say so to the benefactor President. I had in Masaka, for instance, a former Minister in the Kabaka's Government who always rang me whenever he was in his Kampala house whereas in Jinja and Mbarara the UPC was too strong. I could not believe that Museveni could recruit thousands of men and arm them without the UPC leaders knowing anything. It turned out that what the President told me was, in fact, a fairy tale.
- Because the President of Tanzania had accepted an invasion of Uganda in September, 1972, I was asked and could not refuse to go to Andeni to prepare the 700 men from Sudan for the invasion. Many men were still sick. I discussed first the proposed invasion with the officers only. I was told by the officers that although many of the men were still sick, everyone except the very sick would want to be in the invasion if confirmed. The Tanzanian minister who went with me to the men said that the invasion would be mounted and that all men be told and asked to volunteer for the invasion. We agreed for me to address the men first followed by briefs by Company Commanders. At the end of the day, everyone except the very sick volunteered to go to war. I addressed the men again before leaving for Dar es Salaam.
- The invasion Plan was prepared by the Tanzanian Army. while the Plan was being prepared, I kept receiving report after report from the UPC leaders in Uganda disclaiming the presence in their areas of thousands of armed men raised by Museveni. The team which I had sent to Mbarara, reported that all Party Branches in Ankole were tightly under the control of the District Executive and that no recruitment could have taken place without Branch Executives coming to know. I therefore picked up courage and told President Nyerere that the UPC leaders in Uganda had reported that there were no thousands of armed men in the areas of Jinja, Masaka and Mbarara. The President's response was stark. He said, "Milton, if we miss this opportunity to hit at Amin, there will be no other opportunity." Those words became real after the failure of the invasion until November, 1978.
- When the invasion plan had been prepared by the TPDF, I went again accompanied by a Tanzanian Minister to the men. I addressed the men and bid them farewell.
- On return to Dar es Salaam, President Nyerere told me that the Tanzanian Army had suggested that if I could find a pilot, some of my men could be flown to Entebbe on the might of the invasion. The plan was for the Government of Tanzania to commandeer an East African Airways aircraft from a Tanzanian Airport. I knew but not intimately some pilots of the East African Airways who, after all, had been recruited by the UPC Government in the 1960s. The proposal and the plan were so delicate that I failed to find a suitable way to put them to a pilot. Days passed and as on cue, a Ugandan who was employed by the East African Airways came to see me. I knew him and his father very well. The Ugandan told me that he was a pilot. He was in fact a trainee co-pilot. I reported the man to President Nyerere who interviewed the man in my presence. The man told the President that he was a pilot. The President was satisfied. In an aside he authorised me to disclose the plan to the pilot. The invasion was only four days away and the pilot had to return to Nairobi but promised to return.
- The movement of the invasion force - the 700 men from Andeni - to the Assembly point in Western Tanzania by vehicles, took more days than planned. The Tanzanian Intelligence Service and Army also took to the Assembly Point some 300 men who had gone to Tanzania for training but who were never trained and who I knew nothing about and had not seen. After the invasion date was set again, the pilot was in Dar es Salaam. On the night of the invasion, the pilot flew from Dar es Salaam in a commandeered plane to Arusha and damaged the plane on landing. The 80 men from the main force who were to be flown to Entebbe did not therefore make it.
- The invasion Plan stipulated that the UPC force was to lead the attack followed closely behind by units of the TPDF. The attack was to be two pronged, to Masaka and to Mbarara and the thousands of men allegedly raised and armed by Museveni were to join the attack on the way to Masaka and to Mbarara. The UPC force reached Masaka without seeing a single of Museveni's men. On the Mbarara axis, one man came to the road waving furiously which made the attack force to stop at about 5 miles to Mbarara. Museveni claimed the man as part of his men. The attack force reached Mbarara Barracks and fought for the whole day and Museveni's thousands did not appear. On neither axis did the Tanzanian units follow the attack force as was planned.
- In both Masaka and Mbarara, the attack force captured the Towns and fought for the whole day at the two barracks. Withdrawals became necessary in the late afternoon as Amin was reinforcing his men heavily and also using helicopter gunships and MIGs in a situation where Tanzania units remained in their country. The man picked up on the inward journey to Mbarara, remained in Town and went from house to house of the leading citizens who were all arrested by Amin's men the same or next day.
- The UPC army which withdrew from Masaka and Mbarara to Tanzania, was taken to an abandoned National Service Camp outside Tabora Town in Central Tanzania. The place was near a forest inhabited by lions and had no water. I visited the men at the Tabora camp. I based my address on my Legico election campaign in 1958 where my symbol, like that of William Nadiope in Busoga, was the open hand. The place looked arid and the men looked very poor and exhausted. My message to the men was that a poor person helps himself/herself by his/her hands. I urged them to build, as a beginning, grass thatched huts and promised to request the government of Tanzania to get them agricultural tools. The place was 10 miles by 10 miles square.
- Over the next few months, Mama Miria and I made friends with a former Tanzanian Minister and his wife through whom we made contact with a lady head of Tanzania Red Cross. We requested donations of blankets and clothes by the Red Cross. The response was positive but as the men were refugees, I was asked to find a Government department or an NGO to deliver the goods to the men. My contact in Tanzania, even with the President was through the Intelligence officer attached to me. I therefore reported the donations to the officer who collected them from the Red Cross. When I next visited the camp, I found that the donations were never delivered at the camp. The good thing I saw on that occasion was that much land was under cultivation.
- In 1973, the men began to feed themselves and throughout the years until they left the Tabora camp in January, 1979 to go to war, they fed themselves. In the same year 1973, while digging, a group struck underground water. A delegation was sent to Dar es Salaam to report on that God's blessing. Mama Miria went to the lady head of the Red Cross and arranged for the Red Cross to provide water pipes and motorised pump to take the water to different Companies. The men produced much food throughout the years and sold some in Tabora markets. They also attacked the forest and made charcoal which they sold and earned some money. I visited the camp regularly every year.
- From 1973 to 1978, I requested President Nyerere to allow me to arrange for the infiltration of the men to Uganda but the President who was always very kind to me; who used to come to my residence sometimes twice a week for conversation only and who used to invite me to functions at his house, rejected every request. In 1974, I wrote a memorandum to the International Commission of Jurists in which I drew their attention to crime against humanity committed and being committed by the Amin military dictatorship. The Secretary general of the Commission, a Briton, visited me in Dar es Salaam. He stayed for a week during which we discussed the Uganda situation everyday. At the end of the year the Secretary General returned to Dar es Salaam. He told me that the British were blocking their efforts to get the Government in the Western countries to condemn Amin's crimes. He asked me to write to Amnesty International which I did but received no reply not even an acknowledgement.
- In 1976 Rugunda came to Dar es Salaam from Lusaka and stayed at my residence. I was given information after he had returned to Lusaka that he had been to Dar es Salaam to invite Ugandans to a Meeting which was to be held in Lusaka. The Meeting was held, I was not invited and John Barigye was elected to head an organisation which was also formed at the Meeting. Many of the UPC members then in Lusaka, facilitated the holding of the Meeting but none was elected to any position. Barigye went to Dar es Salaam to introduce himself to President Nyerere. The President asked a Tanzanian to bring Barigye to me. As we spoke about Barigye's organisation, the Tanzanian said, to quote his words, "this is what we have been waiting." I did not support nor condemn, at anytime, Barigye's organisation. It died an unlamented death.
- When next President Nyerere came to my residence, he raised the matter of Barigye's organisation. I told the President that the organisation was going to find much difficulty in raising an army. The President responded that Museveni who had been elected Secretary of Defence and Ejalu Secretary for Information would be able to raise the army. Ejalu who at that time was working for the East African Community in Arusha, had apparently learnt of Museveni's tricks and was therefore very close to some officers in the Intelligence Service which was the shortest route to the ears and mind of President Nyerere. From what President Nyerere said about the raising of Barigye's army, I concluded that the army would not be raised and events later proved the conclusion to have been correct.
- When Amin's army invaded Tanzania in October, 1978, I was not in Tanzania; I was in Lusaka on invitation to attend Zambia's Independence anniversary. President Nyerere rang President Kaunda on confirmation of the invasion and asked for my immediate return to Dar es Salaam. While at breakfast on the day I and 3 members of my Staff were due to fly back to Dar es Salaam, the Rhodesian Air Force attacked Lusaka Airport and all flights or landings were cancelled. President Kaunda was not able to arrange for me to return to Dar es Salaam in the next five days and President Nyerere was ringing every day and asking for my return to Dar es Salaam. Finally President Kaunda arranged for an Air Force Buffalo plane to fly me to Dar es Salaam. I asked the President for arms to take with me on the Buffalo. He agreed and much assorted arms were loaded on the aircraft. We landed at Dar es Salaam just after seven in the evening. I went straight to my residence and President Nyerere came soon thereafter.
- President Nyerere briefed me on Amin's invasion. He ended with the words: "This is the opportunity we have been waiting for". I asked how long he had known that the invasion was coming. His response was very expansive and the core of it was that he had always known from 1971 that my presence in Tanzania was hurting Amin and that the objective of the invasion was, to Amin, a panacea to rid himself of the problems I was causing in Uganda. President Nyerere also told me that although Governments in the Western countries appeared to turn a blind eye to Amin's atrocities, he knew that the Jurists Commission had made those Governments very uncomfortable with Amin and some or all must have made very strong representations to Amin.
- In my residence, as we exchanged views on the invasion of Tanzania by Amin's army, President Nyerere rationalised why he had rejected all my requests for the infiltrations of men into Uganda. He said that it had been his view that infiltrations would have been pin pricks whose outcome could have most likely pushed Western powers on to the side of Amin. Finally, the President asked me to arrange for more men to come to Tanzania for training to join a war he envisaged the Western powers would want to be protracted as a way to destroy the Tanzanian economy.
- There was no sleep in my residence on the night I returned from Lusaka to Dar es Salaam. There was the urgent task of ferrying the arms in our small vehicles from the Airport to the residence and storing them at the residence. I had also to phone my contact in Mwanza, a Tanzanian, and ask him to go out of Town and bring to his house the leader of 37 men I had removed from the Tabora camp in 1974 and posted to Mwanza and then ring me back at night. Each of the 37 men, recruited through Oraba was a carpenter trained in Uganda Technical Schools. Their assignment in Mwanza was to make and they made boats which we fitted with motors and which were to be used in case President Nyerere agreed to the requests to infiltrate men into Uganda. I spoke to the leader of the 37 men that night and I asked him prepare storage facility for the arms from Zambia. I also asked him to send five teams of 5 men each to Dar es Salaam to collect the arms.
- After I finished with Mwanza, I rang a contact in Nairobi and asked him to contact UPC members there and tell them that I wanted them in Dar es Salaam if they could come. The very next day, the contact reported that he had met individually some UPC members who had agreed to travel by road to Dar es Salaam. That was how Chris Rwakasisi, Samwiri Mugwisa, Edward Rurangaranga and many others came to join the war. I also rang Paulo Muwanga in London who had been in frequent contact with me and asked him to come.
- On the consideration that should Tanzania decide to take the war into Uganda, the entry would be Masaka and Mbarara Districts, I rang UPC members in Kampala whose homes are in the Eastern Region. I asked each to send an urgent message to UPC leaders whose names I gave in their respective Districts. The message was for the leaders to raise men to be trained in Tanzania for war. I gave details of how I was to be contacted once the men were in Nairobi. For Buganda and the Western Region, I told those I rang that although I did not know when, I strongly believed that Tanzania would drive Amin's army back to Uganda and that they should cautiously prepare the people to receive the Tanzanian Army.
- A visit to the Tabora camp was urgent, so I left for the camp on the evening of my second day in Dar es Salaam. The men knew that Tanzania had been invaded and saw my arrival at the camp as harbinger for their going to war. There was much jubilation. The camp looked different from what it was three months back when I was last there. The prosperity had not changed but what was different was that everyone appeared to have a bicycle. I spoke to the officers first and I enquired about the bicycles. I was told that when Amin's invasion was broadcast by Tanzania Radio, the men who had bicycles began to paint numbers on their bicycles and saying that when they go to war, they would leave their bicycles at the camp which will be sent to Uganda after the war. Thus the frenzy for bicycles grew with many men, within a week going daily to Tabora and even to Dar es Salaam by train to buy bicycles.
- What the officers told me about the bicycles, made my address to the men rather difficult. I wanted very much to raise their moral but could not also tell them that they were going to war immediately or in the near future. I compromised and told them that when Tanzania decides to drive Amin out, I would appeal to the Tanzanian President to include them in the drive.
- When I returned to Dar es Salaam from Tabora, I found President Nyerere in a furious mood. The OAU was pressing him to negotiate peace with Amin at a time when Amin's army was in occupation of Tanzanian Territory.
- The OAU Council of Ministers met to consider the situation. It was Uganda and not Tanzania which spoke the language of negotiations at the Meeting of Ministers.
- In December, 1978 at a very lengthy meeting in my residence, President Nyerere gave me an over-view of the war preparations. His view was that depending on the resistance of Amin's army, TPDF could get to Kampala and to all parts of the Uganda within three months. He told me that in those circumstances, he would set up a Tanzanian Military Government for Uganda. I expressed opposition to that idea. I told the President that it would be most damaging to the Tanzanian image in Africa and in the world for Tanzania to expose herself to accusations that they had become a colonial Power and was ruling Uganda. President Nyerere responded that he could not leave the country in a vacuum, without a Government. I suggested to the President that from what he said of the possible overrunning of the whole of Uganda by the TPDF, within three months, there would appear to be two ways by which Tanzania could avoid to damage her image in Africa and in the world. I gave the first way as one of convening a Conference of Ugandans in exile in Masaka or Mbarara immediately after the fall of either Town to the TPDF. I gave the second way as convening a Conference in either Uganda or Tanzania after the entire country had fallen to the TPDF. I proposed that at either Conference an Interim Government composed of Ugandan could be formed.
- To my proposal of an interim Government, President Nyerere said that since the TPDF and police would still be in Uganda, such a Government would be seen as a puppet Government and Tanzania would still be accused of behaving as a Colonial power. I told the President that the real problem was how a Conference was composed and that a representative Conference of Uganda's political parties would deflect much of the criticism on Uganda having a puppet Government. President Nyerere shot that argument down when he said that Uganda had only two political parties, the UPC and the DP. My answer was that Amin actually banned nearly ten political Parties. President Nyerere was not aware of even the ban. We exchanged views at length on a Conference or Conferences. President Nyerere expressed the view that a Conference of exiles would be attended by two few people because it was his understanding that many Ugandans in exile were opposed to the Ujamaa policy. I disagreed and said that the opportunity to return home would make many to come to the Conference. At the end, the President asked me to write papers on various aspects of any of the Conferences I had proposed and said that he did not want some Ugandans who had insulted him for not recognising Amin to be in any Interim Government.
- The Papers I wrote, were sent to President Nyerere through the Director of the Intelligence Service. The Director kept on coming to me to expand this or that theme in my Papers which I did. I worked on the papers almost day and night.
- In January, 1979 the late Mzee Peter Oola and George William Nyero (now in the USA) rang me from Tabora Town. Their report was that a deputy Director of the Intelligence Service who, we regarded as unfriendly to us, had gone to the camp and went away with 300 men. The deputy Director had said that the men were wanted for special training connected with the war. I asked the Director of Intelligence who was coming to my residence daily with requests for more and more expansions of my papers, about the training which the 300 of my men were going to undertake. He answered most surprisingly that he was no longer dealing with military matters. The answer made me to ask him to tell the President that I wanted a meeting with him.
- Previously, whenever I sent any such request to the President, he would come to my residence either on the same day, next or within 3 days. This time, the President came after 10 days and as soon as he sat down, he said that he had a very bad news for me and that there had been an accident in which many men died. The President then gave me sheets of Paper on which the names of the dead were typed. 111 (one hundred and eleven) men were listed as dead. I asked to go the camp immediately and the President agreed. I left that evening by train for Tabora.
- From Tabora Town I was taken not the Ugandan or UPC camp but to another where I found all the commanders of the UPC army, I had a meeting with the commanders who told me how the 300 men were taken from their camp. They confirmed in every detail what veteran Peter Oola who joined the UNC in 1952 had reported to me. My meeting with the four Commanders who had lost one hundred and eleven of their men, was like a funeral. All of them were crying throughout the meeting. The account they gave me on that day and in the following two days were so shocking that even now, I am unable to make it public. In my analysis of the account, I concluded that there was a conspiracy to hand over to some other people the army I and the UPC leaders had so painfully raised and provided for their welfare. I could not eat or sleep that first day and night.
- During the next two days, I held meetings with the officers and men who had survived. As President Nyerere had said, an accident happened because it was believed that there were armed men around Jinja raised by Museveni and because part of the UPC army had been forcefully handed over to men who were after glory and not the Liberation of the people of Uganda.
- The Deputy Director of Intelligence had lied when he said at the Tabora camp that 300 men were required for special training connected with the war against Amin. From the Tabora camp, the 300 men were taken to a camp in Musoma on the shore of Lake Victoria. On arrival, the men were paraded and addressed by the deputy Director. The address was full of venom against the President of the UPC. He told the men to forget the past and accept reality. The reality, according to the deputy Director was that Amin was going to be removed and a new Government was to be established in Uganda by the TPDF and composed of men who had no relation with the UPC. The deputy Director told the men that leaders of Uganda's Government which was to replace Amin had sent representatives to lead the men to Jinja. He then introduced Robert Sserumagga as the leader of the representatives and who also addressed the men in the same vein as the Deputy Director.
- After the parade, on that first day at the Musoma camp, the 300 men staged a mutiny and demanded to be returned to Tabora. The officers and the platoon commanders and 50 men were arrested and taken to jail by armed Tanzanians. In jail, the men were given no food for two days. The rest of the men who were not in jail were also given no food for two days; on the third day the men in jail were released and rejoined the main group. In the evening, the 300 men were taken to Musoma Port where they boarded two ships. Next day, at about noon they were ordered to disembark and were again paraded and addressed by the deputy Director and Sserumagga. They were then given some food and ordered to board the two ships. On the fifth day in the forenoon, the men were ordered to disembark, paraded and addressed by the deputy Director and Sserumagga who both bid the men farewell. When the men boarded and the two ships set to sail for Jinja, neither Sserumagga nor two of his colleagues joined the men on board.
- There is what is called Kagera Channel in Lake Victoria which flows to the Jinja Bridge. When the two ships from Musoma reached the channel in the early afternoon with the bigger ship in the lead, the smaller ship began to wobble dangerously, and then it capsized when those in the bigger ship were watching. The men on board the smaller ship were thrown into the strong current and were drowning as the men in the bigger ship were watching. There were 120 men on the smaller ship; only 9 survived, rescued by the bigger ship. Even the men in the bigger ship developed nausea and trauma. I visited 43 men who were in hospital.
- On return to Dar es Salaam, I locked myself in a room for a whole day to think of what I would report to President Nyerere. I decided not to raise any complaint because it was clear to me that the 300 men could not have been taken to Musoma and made to sail to Jinja without the approval of the President.
- That January, 1979 I received in my residence Yusuf Lule sent by President Nyerere. He was the first proof of what I had told President Nyerere in December that many Ugandans in exile despite opposition to Ujamaa policy would come to Tanzania for the opportunity to return home. I exchanged views at length with Lule on various matters. I asked him whether he had come to join the war against Amin. He avoided the question and answered that his health was not good.
- In the same January, one of those who was to organise the Conference at which the UNLF was formed wrote a letter which was published in the Tanzanian main English Daily, the Daily News. The letter was a thinly veiled attack on Tanzania for planning to impose the UPC as Government of Uganda by military force. The writer alleged in the letter that he and his friends had condemned Vietnam for invading Cambodia, overthrowing Pol Pot and imposing a new Government. It was clear that to the writer, Amin was preferable than UPC. What the writer of the letter did not know was that there was, in fact, no plan by Tanzania to impose the UPC as Government of Uganda.
- In that same January, 1979, Masaka Town fell to the Kikosi Maalum and TPDF took Mbarara and the whole of Ankole. Museveni then began a recruiting spree centred mainly at the refugee camps in Ankole into the army he was to use in his Luwero war.
- In early February after discussion with President Nyerere and with his approval I sent Teams of mobilisers to Masaka and to Mbarara. A week later, I sent a Team of economists to Masaka with direction to go to Mbarara.
- Then at the end of February and early March, I received at my residence in rapid succession, the mobilising Teams and the team of economists. I also received Paulo Muwanga who was the political Commissar of the UPC army (Kikosi Maalum in Masaka).
- In March, I received from the Director of Intelligence an Invitation letter inviting me to go to a Conference in Moshi together with 5 UPC members. I contacted the UPC members in Zambia. They had not received any invitation to the Conference and could not easily raise air tickets to Tanzania. I contacted President Kaunda who agreed to raise air tickets for the Zambian based UPC members.
- The Government of Tanzania had given the responsibility for organising and convening a Conference to four men who later earned the opprobrious name of "The Gang of Four". One of the Gang had served in Amin's cabinet and another had been appointed by Amin to an office in the East African Community. The Gang of Four not only took over the control and direction of the UNLF after it was formed but also claimed and continue to claim even now that they were the ones who removed Amin. Today, two of the Gang of Four are Ministers in the dictatorship of the charlatans.
- The Government of Tanzania agreed to the Team of economists to go to the Conference but not the Teams of mobilisers and Paulo Muwanga. I pleaded with President Nyerere to allow Paulo to go to the Conference and he agreed. I wrote a goodwill Message to the Conference and wished it success. The Director of Intelligence took my letter to President Nyerere. On the same day, President Nyerere came to my residence, he came with a letter he had himself written to me. The President spoke to me most passionately urging me not to go to the Conference. He told me that there would be no one in the Conference who could erase what I had done for Uganda and that the Kikosi Maalum was may army whose participation in the war, will enable the people of Uganda to give me much praise for their liberation.
- As President Nyerere spoke to me, I gained the uncomfortable impression that the President was under some great pressure but could not put my fingers on whatever was bothering the President. Before he left me, I put two requests to him and he accepted both. The first request was for him to arrange for the students who left their studies in the Universities of Dar es Salaam and of Zambia, went to war and were in Uganda with Kikosi Maalum. The students had their organisation. The second request was for him to agree to the women whose husbands were fighting on the frontline and who had their organisation to go and attend the Conference.
- The day the Conference convened was chaotic. While radios were propagating that Ugandans in exile were meeting at a Conference, what was happening on the ground, was very different. It was not a Conference of Ugandans in exile. The organisers wanted uppermost a Conference to make them national leaders and liberators of Uganda. For the Conference to do that, the organisers decided on excluding many from the Conference and including non-existing or imaginary organisations. The UPC and the DP were each allocated three seats, the same as the imaginary Muthaiga Club formed in Moshi by Martin Aliker and grace Ibingira. The students from the war front were locked out and so were the women whose husbands were on the war front. On the pretext and excuse that to allow every exile to attend the Conference, was to flood it with Obote and UPC supporters, more Ugandans were locked out than those who attended the Conference.
- On the second day of the Conference, I received Olara Otunu at my residence. When Olara Otunu escaped from Makerere, he went to Dar es Salaam where he stayed at my residence. I arranged for him to go to a university in the U.K. He was not alone; many students were equally assisted by me. They include the present Governor of the Bank of Uganda who also stayed at my residence before I arranged for him to go to a university in Britain. Chaapa Karuhanga arrived at my residence after a close encounter with Amin's murder squad. I arranged for Chaapa to complete his degree course in the University of Zambia. Other students I placed in the University of Zambia include the brother of General Mugisha Muntu.
- I was surprised to see Olara Otunu in Dar es Salaam. He told me that a Tanzanian High Commission official in London delivered to him a Tanzanian Government Invitation to the Conference. His air ticket was also paid by the Tanzanian Government. After we talked, Olara Otunu asked to go to his Uncle Tito Okello who was also specifically told by President Nyerere not to go to the Conference. Tito Okello was withdrawn from the frontline after Paulo Muwanga.
- When Olara Otunu returned with Tito Okello to my residence, Okello was desperately eager to go to the Conference. Olara Otunu had told Okello that there were some army officers at the Conference who were giving the impression that they had been to the frontline when Okello knew they had not. Okello pleaded with me to appeal to President Nyerere to allow him to go to the Conference. I brought the Director of Intelligence who was outside the residence to the discussion. After hearing from Olara Otunu that Tito Okello was wanted at the Conference, the Director went to report to President Nyerere and returned with the permission for Okello to go to the Conference.
- It was reported to me by telephone and again later that the Conference was very tense on the matter of the Chairman of the UNLF and that even before names were called for nominations, one could sense that the Conference was divided three ways on the matter. The general mood of the Conference was for Paulo Muwanga to be the Chairman but there were also supporters of Yusuf Lule and Edward Rugumayo. The Tanzanian Minister who was supervising the Conference, sensed that should there be nominations and vote Muwanga would win.
- The Minister arranged for the Conference to be adjourned and then took Muwanga, Lule and Tito Okello to a room behind the Conference Hall. When the Conference resumed, Tito Okello was the first to speak. Instead of addressing the Conference, he directed his remarks to Paulo Muwanga; that Muwanga should not stand for the post of Chairman and that Muwanga should leave the post for Lule since Muwanga and he (Okello) had a very important task at the frontline. Lule was then elected by acclamation. The Gang of Four led the haters of the UPC in the chorus that UPC had been overthrown in another coup.
- One of the most inane decisions promoted and taken by the UNLF leaders at the Conference, was to degrade and demean the UPC and then pretend that by so doing they had made the UPC army then on the frontline to be the UNLF army. A new name of the Uganda National Liberation Army was given to Kikosi Maalum and Paulo Muwanga, (not anyone in the Gang of Four) was elected to be the Chairman of the Military Commission of the UNLF to control and direct Kikosi Maalum. The election of Muwanga was an expressed acknowledgement that no one in the Gang of Four or in the leadership of the UNLF had anything to do with the removal of Amin. Conversely, it was also an acknowledgement that the UPC removed Amin.
- After the Conference in Moshi, the UNLF leaders converged in Dar es Salaam where President Nyerere asked Lule to name a Cabinet. President Nyerere had previously told me that so long as the TPDF remained in Uganda, he would not allow the portfolios of Finance, Defence and Internal Affairs to be filled by someone who was not friendly to Tanzania. The first list of Ministers which Yusuf Lule submitted to President Nyerere had names of very, very old people, including names of people who served in the Colonial Government and who, even Lule himself did not know whether they were still alive or not.
- President Nyerere came to my residence and told me that he had rejected three ministerial lists submitted by Lule and wanted me to help the UNLF Chairman, Lule to compose a Cabinet. I told the President that since I was not a member of the UNLF, I had no locus standi to get involved in the affairs of the UNLF. I also told the President that the UNLF leaders had jubilated and sang choruses in Moshi that they had overthrown the UPC in another coup which had pained me greatly. The President responded that unless the UNLF leaders worked with me, their Government would be without the support of the people and would not last. President Nyerere also said that it was my idea which he accepted that a Conference of exiles be held and that I should not therefore condemn the conclusions of the Moshi Conference.
- The matter of a Conference of exiles generated some lengthy exchange of view. I defended my position by saying that in the papers I wrote, the definitive proposals I made were two. The first was that a Conference be organised by the Government of Tanzania and not by any Ugandan individual or group where the Government of Tanzania would advertise the holding of the Conference widely and not send Invitations to anybody or group. Second, my papers proposed, that no exile be debarred from attending the Conference whether by non-issuance of a visa or through some method when already in Tanzania and at the Conference place. I concluded by telling the President that the Moshi Conference was very different from what I had proposed and that it would be unfair to ask me to accept its conclusions.
- The response by President Nyerere to my defence, was that he could not see me tolerating the country being messed up by those who became leaders by fluke. He actually used those words and then said that if I could not meet Lule, I should meet the UNLF Vice Chairman, Akena P'Ojok. I did agree to meet P'Ojok who later came to my residence with some members of the UNLF. With P'Ojok and his colleagues, we composed a tentative list of ministers for P'Ojok to take and discuss with Lule.
- On the evening of 11 April, 1979 Radio Tanzania broadcast the names of persons in the UNLF Cabinet. President Nyerere had sent his confidante and a friend of mine to be with me during the broadcast. Paulo Muwanga was also present. After the broadcast, I blew up and made very strong remarks because the broadcast made it appear that Lule and the UNLF had been fighting Amin from 25 January, 1971. The confidante left to report to President Nyerere who immediately rang and asked Paulo Muwanga to go to his house.
- 11 April, 1979 was another long night for me. After the broadcast and after Paulo Muwanga had gone for a meeting with President Nyerere, I arranged for the Teams of mobilisers who had been brought back from Uganda and some other UPC members who were in Dar es Salaam to come to my residence. The mobilisers brought back were Samwiri Mugwisa, Chris Rwakasisi and Edward Rurangaranga. There were three others. The mobilisers and others met in my residence that night for hours. I directed all at the meeting to return to Uganda at once and while there, to accept any appointment even that of a Gombolola Chief or lower by the UNLF and together with the Party leaders and members in the Districts, mount a campaign for multiparty politics. Paulo Muwanga returned about midnight when the meeting was concluding.
- When the mobilisers and others left, Paulo Muwanga gave me what he and President Nyerere had discussed. Paulo reported that in the long meeting with President Nyerere, the President kept repeating and emphasising three points. The first was that 11 April, 1979 was a glorious day for him, the President and Milton Obote who had overthrown a most brutal dictator. The second was that he, the President, was very much pained that his "comrade" Milton Obote was not happy and the third was that he, the President, could not understand why his comrade Milton Obote was regarding Lule and the UNLF as anything other than flies falling on a carcass. Paulo reported that President Nyerere used the word comrade and the expression "flies falling on a carcass" repeatedly.
- That night, I discussed at length with Paulo Muwanga the curious events which had occurred since November, 1978. The events included the removal of 300 men from our camp with intention to hand them over to non-UPC members; asking me to write papers on a Conference or Conferences and then assigning haters of the UPC to organise a Conference which ended with the chorus that the UPC had again been overthrown in another coup; the withdrawal of Muwanga himself from the frontline and the Teams of mobilisers from Uganda and who were also not allowed to go to the Conference. We concluded that the curious events suggested that President Nyerere was under some kind of pressure but we could not put our fingers on the nature or source of that pressure.
- Later in the second half of 1979, I learnt from a Tanzanian Colonel of a most chilling curious event which had it occurred, all the officers of the Kikosi Maalum would have been wiped out, killed. The Colonel told me in my residence in Dar es Salaam that after the end of the Moshi Conference, a message was sent to the TPDF in Masaka. The message was to assemble the Kikosi Maalum officers and to ask them whether they accepted Lule and the UNLF or not and that should they refuse to accept Lule and the UNLF, they were all to be shot. I could not believe what the Colonel was telling me. David Oyite-Ojok who was at the meeting said that the assembly was held and the acceptance of Lule and the UNLF was put to the Kikosi Maalum officers. David explained that he as acting head of Kikosi Maalum in the absence of Tito Okello in Dar es salaam, gave the tactical answer that they accepted Lule and the UNLF hoping that political matters would be sorted out between the UPC President and President Nyerere.
- In June 1979 President Nyerere came one day to my residence with the surprising invitation that I go with him the next day to Mwanza to meet President Lule and his Ministers. I told the President that I was an outsider and pleaded that he should leave me out of the meeting. The President responded with the words: "I want Lule and the Ministers to know that you and I are together on all matters." I went to Mwanza and witnessed the spectacle of a weak and fractious Administration.
- The Mwanza meeting was dominated by accusations and counter accusations by President Lule and the Chairman of the National Consultative Council (NCC) and Ministers supporting the two. They even raised the matter of governance under the provisions of the 1967 Constitution which was the position of President Lule but President Nyerere shot that down by saying that the only person who had the right to govern Uganda under the 1967 Constitution was Milton Obote. I understood the political meaning of what President Nyerere was saying to mean that Obote could have, with the assistance of Tanzania just as the UNLF was enjoying, re-instituted, after the fall of Amin, the UPC Government under the 1967 Constitution. As I listened to the accusations and counter accusations, I saw clearly that the UNLF leaders for whatever reason they became the Government of Uganda, had lost Nyerere's confidence if any ever existed.
- At lunch break, President Nyerere took me and President Lule to a room. President Nyerere asked President Lule whether it was true that he was planning to appoint a Bishop as Vice President. President Lule answered that the matter was under consideration and no decision had been taken to which President Nyerere said, "I advise you to appoint Milton". Before I could respond, President Lule reacted and said that although I had supporters in Uganda, I also had enemies and that he could not guarantee my security but he would offer me appointment as Ambassador to the UN and I would go to New York without returning to Uganda. That reaction angered President Nyerere who tersely asked who was guaranteeing Lule's security and his Ministers. He then said that Tanzanian forces were in Uganda to guarantee the security of every citizen of Uganda. I told the two Presidents that I was not looking for a job and would not accept to be Vice President or Ambassador to the UN.
- In the afternoon, the Mwanza Meeting continued with accusations and counter accusations. The Meeting ended without taking any meaningful decision to heal or bridge the rift in the UNLF Administration. I asked Paulo Muwanga not to return to Uganda that same day and he agreed. We discussed, at night, in depth the rift in the UNLF Administration. We concluded that it was a matter of time before the Administration fell or disintegrated. We also agreed on a tentative programme of campaign to be launched on the fall or disintegration.
- The hollowness of the UNLF was exposed on the night its National Executive voted to remove its Chairman. They proposed Paulo Muwanga a member of the UPC as a possible Chairman when the UNLF was actively campaigning to destroy the UPC and the other political parties and establish a one-Party State. Second, they proposed Godfrey Binaisa as a possible Chairman when at the formation of the UNLF, Binaisa was considered to be unfit to attend the Conference ad was locked out. Just as the UNLF Administration itself depended on Tanzanian power in Uganda, Binaisa also on being elected Chairman and President, depended on the Gang of Four. Like the charlatans of today, the UNLF also removed the voice of the people of Uganda from the governance of their country. Although the NEC of the UNLF removed Lule allegedly for making appointments without the approval of the National Consultative Council (NCC), the UNLF and the Gang of Four were openly inconsistent on a very serious issue, when President Binaisa removed the Army Chief of Staff and posted him as Ambassador to Algeria without the approval of the National Consultative Council.
- There was a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Lusaka, Zambia in November, 1979. President Kaunda invited me to be in Lusaka at he time of the Meeting. I went to Lusaka with veteran Stephen Mila and we were accommodated at the nearby annex to State House. I met several Commonwealth leaders at the annex. The meeting with President Binaisa was a disaster. After exchange of innocuous views, I told the President that I wanted to spend Christmas with my mother. President Binaisa asked: "Do you want to come to Uganda?" when I said yes, President Binaisa collapsed. I shouted and security and Stephen rushed into the room. We had to get a doctor from the nearby State House to revive the President of Uganda.
- The first to propose my return home in December, 1979, was a delegation from Teso District. The delegation was led by Mama Irene Emulu and included S. K. Isiagi and Lucy Aseku. The delegation wanted me to fly direct from Dar es Salaam to Soroti Airport.
- When the delegation from Toro went to Dar es Salaam, it also demanded my return home. When I told the Toro delegation about the invitation by the Teso delegation, a lady in the Toro delegation said that she would want to be present on my arrival but her advanced age may not allow her to go to Soroti. She proposed Mbarara Airport. I sent the two Airports to Paulo Muwanga and John Kirunda who had represented the UPC at the Moshi Conference. Several Party leaders in the Districts sent messages proposing that I go to their Districts first. They included Bushenyi who sent a delegation to Dar es Salaam. Then I received a request from my mother that she wanted to see me the day I return to Uganda. I listed all the invitations and sent them to a relative with a request to go and discuss them with my mother and let her decide. The report I got was that my mother had decided on Bushenyi on the ground that she had been no where West of Kampala. That meant flying to Mbarara. I sent my decision to the National Organising Committee (NOC).
- It is my belief that on 27 May, 1980 we had in Bushenyi a million people or there about. It was a most appropriate welcome of a hero even if I say so myself. When President Lule and his Ministers flew to Entebbe in April 1979, not even one thousand people were at Entebbe Airport.
- The people of Uganda knew and still know which political forces delivered them from Colonial rule and again from an atavistic dictatorship of murders, terror and deprivations. The people attested t that fact in the multiparty elections held in December, 1980.
- The haters of the UPC have sought and are still seeking to subvert the verdict of the people in December, 1980 by their allegations that the UPC President rigged the elections. The inanities of the allegations lie in the fact that the UPC President was not in government and could not therefore rig the elections, second, it borders on stupidity for anyone to even suggest that the UPC left Buganda alone and rigged elections, outside Buganda where the UPC defeated all opponents in 1958, 1961 and 1962. The Congress of the people, when it overthrows the dictatorship of the charlatans, shall again defeat all opponents in any free and fair competitive election.
- In 1992 when in Zambia, I read the Memoir of the British Foreign Secretary at the time of the war against Amin, 1978/79. This is what is in the memoir and which prove that President Nyerere was under British pressure during the war against Amin and that Yusuf Lule was a British stooge: -
- "I was told by Merlyn Rees in the middle of the Lord Mayor of London's lunch that he had just been informed that Amin had flown to Dublin. We had agreed we would have to mobilize the police to hold his plane while it was refuelled and then insist that it fly off. If he just flew into Heathrow we had already decided that we would not let him off his plane. Fortunately it all turned out to be a false alarm; Amin never came. But the Amin issue did not go away. Later he was ousted by Tanzanian armed intervention, and we aided Julius Nyerere in the attempt. I will never be sure whether it was wise to do so. The price we extracted from Nyerere for our material support was the promise that a mild, decent former children's doctor should be President rather than Milton Obote. Unfortunately the doctor did not have the necessary authority. The end result was that Obote returned to the Presidency."
- I know from experience that Memoirs, do not tell the full story nor the core policy. I was, for instance, alone one night with Prime Minister Harold Wilson at Chequers, the country home of UK Prime Ministers. The other leaders who were attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting had had dinner at Chequers and returned to London. The Prime Minister and I spoke at length about Rhodesia. When I later read the Prime minister's Memoir, the account was not quite what I remember. On that experience, I wrote to friends in Britain who included academics and appealed to them to find out why the Labour Government was so much against Milton Obote to force Nyerere to accept a person the Foreign Secretary described as "a former children's doctor" when the person had not been a children's doctor. I asked my friends whether it was normal for British Governments to make such errors.
- The replies I received from my friends are most worrying. The gist of the replies is that as a result of the UPC policies in the 1960s which saw the living standards of the people rising from year to year and social services expanding rapidly and secondly that the ability of the 2nd UPC Government to rehabilitate the Uganda economy within four years, made successive British Governments to adopt the policy which ensures continued British settlers in Kenya so that Uganda is not ruled by a Party whose performance in government makes the people of Kenya to question the performance of their Government which, if they did, could cause the presence of the settlers also to be questioned. My friends reported that Amin and Museveni were and are British instruments to weaken or even destroy the UPC.
- During the recent Commonwealth Meeting in Australia, the British Prime Minister repeatedly said, quote; "There are no half measures about democracy". The British Prime Minister was speaking about presidential elections in Zimbabwe. The same Prime minister knows:
- The provisions of Article 269 in the Uganda Constitution which successive British Governments including his own have accepted as democratic for 16 years provide for dictatorship.
- That no provision exist in the Zimbabwean Constitution similar to Uganda's Article 269.
- That in Zimbabwe political Parties exist and are free to contest public elections.
- That in Uganda political parties exist only at their respective National headquarters and are debarred from contesting public elections.
- Why is it that the British Government are very concerned about democracy in Zimbabwe? The short answer is that the Zimbabwe presidential election has provided a very convenient distraction of African, Commonwealth and World attention from dictatorship in Uganda which the British Government supports and from the suppressions of the inalienable human rights and freedoms of the people of Uganda which the British Government also supports and further from the invasion, and occupation and plunder of the wealth of the DRC by the Uganda dictatorship which the British Government also supports. The British Government is sustaining another atavistic dictatorship in Uganda and punishing all the people of Uganda simply because the British Government fears that democracy may again enable the UPC to form the Government of Uganda again and create problems for the British Settlers in Kenya.
- Fellow citizens and members of the Congress of the people, I am very proud to have been and to be a member of the Congress. The Congress has enabled me to make friends all over Uganda. The Congress has enabled the people of every Ugandan nationality to connect and interact and work peacefully with one another for common causes.
The Congress has enabled the people of Uganda to throw away the shame and humiliation of being ruled by a foreign Parliament and foreign people.
The Congress has enabled the people of Uganda to have Rural Hospitals and to have greatly expanded primary and Secondary Schools immediately after Independence.
The Congress made Independence real when the standard of living of the people rose from year to year.
When an atavistic dictatorship interrupted the progress of the people under the leadership of the Congress, the Congress waged a relentless struggle and overthrew, together with its bosom ally in Tanzania, the brutal dictatorship.
The mission of the Congress is to fight POVERTY, IGNORANCE AND DISEASE.
The success of the Congress is that:
- The Congress is the Party of the Youth,
- The Congress is the Party of the women,
- The Congress is the Party of the farmers,
- The Congress is the Party of the workers,
- The Congress is the Party of the people,
- The Congress is the Party of ideas.
When a dictator declares that he will fight the Congress until he dies, the declaration is to fight the Youth, the women, the farmers, the workers, the people of Uganda and their ideas which no dictator can conquer and will himself die leaving the people and their ideas.
Fellow citizens and members of the Congress of the people, as your elected leader, you know that I am in the afternoon, close to evening of my life. I charge you with the experience of struggle behind me, to close your ranks. If for any reason, you have disagreed with any Congress policy, I charge you to return to the fold and argue your ideas.
I charge you not to be an Amin or a Museveni who declared death, misery and humiliation to the people of Uganda.
I charge you to join and be active in the current struggle against a Terrorist dictatorship.
I charge you not to be trespassers like UNLF leaders who never fought Amin but came to table to partake of the meal.
I charge you not to give succour to the Terrorist dictatorship by rebelling against the Congress Constitution.
I charge you to understand that Article 269 of the charter of oppression has prohibited the Congress Branches to assemble, congress constituency Conferences to meet, congress district conferences and Congress Delegates Conference to meet and each to elect Congress leaders.
I charge you to avoid internecine warfare for positions in the face of Article 269 of the charter of oppression.
I charge you to realise that there is Glory at the end of the struggle. Be in the struggle Now and disabuse all thoughts of coming, uninvited to the CELEBRATION. MAKE CONGRESS AND YOURSELVES THE HOST.
Fellow citizens and members of the Congress of the people, do not abandon the people.
I have written this paper and now present it in the spirit of our National Motto:
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.
A. Milton ObotePresident
Uganda Peoples Congress