Tuesday, 30 September 2014


As we get to remember that it has come to 10 years since Besuel Kiwanuka breathed his last on Sunday, 3rd October, 2004 at 8.00am, I find it hard to forget the type of treatment that my father enjoyed in his last working years at Namutamba Teachers' College and Namutamba Secondary School.  I learnt seriously of the mistreatment after father had died.  I was surprised that father was not that jolly during retirement, though we tried in our means to facilitate him and the family members.

I had known as well as seen father ride his bicycle to Mityana from Namutamba a distance not less than 12 miles even when he was going on official duty and I wondered.  Father is one teacher who remained at Namutamba when all the other teachers decided to leave when they got to serious misunderstandings with the then College Principal.  About 2 years ago, I was shown a letter which was evidence that father had got a promotion, but the powers that be at the College were opposed to this, and a letter reversing the same was written!  In 1984, I responded to a call by Bakka RIP to help Namutamba community revive the secondary school which had failed. I accepted,but shortly, I realized that things were not moving well.  I was not performing the roles a head teacher is supposed to perform, in among other areas, the meetings, yet I had not trained as I teacher.  I decided to resign.  It is then that my father took on my roles.   Though father was having my siblings to care for including fees, the powers that be decided not to pay for his services.  As of that was not bad enough, I got information that father had no transport to get the family to his retirement home.  I was in disbelief.  As a responsible person, I saw that it was best for me to get an executive sofa cloth for my sofa's and sell it off to get money to hire a truck to Namutamba and, I thank God that He had given me ability to work on the three and half acre piece of land to a habitable level as well as got another acre of land for their cultivation.  May be, if father had taken Hon. Kasole's offer to teach in Kampala Parents, he would have been less frustrated in his retirement.

I am grateful to father because I learnt a lot from him, more so, being concerned about others.

 The Life of the Late Besuel Kiwanuka
1. As a family man, he shouldered responsibilities very well; he managed not only to feed the family, but also educate all and provided good guidance;
2. The relation with mother was excellent – we never saw a fight, direct confrontation, nor did our mother ever leave home because of misunderstandings;
3. As a teacher – at College he was nicknamed "Cob – web" he would always ensure he would always ensure that his class had no cob webs and that is what he told the teachers he was teaching always to ensure.
4. As a Garden teacher - he never got things out of the College Garden without paying for them though in many cases he was putting in his own labour which would have been paid for. Our father helped the garden efforts for Ssisa Church of Uganda, and this was an income project for the Church.
5. As a saved/religious man, he was an epitome of a model saved personality and he would spare time to preach.
6. Our father used the quote: "He careth for you" 1 Peter 5:7 – "Cast your anxiety on him because he careth for you."

Our father spent most of his working career at Namutamba Teachers' College and many students went through his hands and guidance.

William Kituuka 




By the time of his death in October Besuel Kiwanuka was an active member of St. Peter's Chuch of Uganda Ssisa 

The skill Besuel used on the Namutamba College Farm are the same skills he took to Ssisa Church farm which he helped start and the community would participate and learn from it.


Dear Madam,
Re: Demand Notice cum Notice of Dishonor.

Reference is made to the above captioned subject matter whereof we have been instructed by Namumpa Deus to address you as follows;

It is within your knowledge that some time in June 2014, our client advanced to you a friendly loan of Ugx. 1,800,000/= (One Million Eight Hundred Thousand) whereof you secured the same with a post dated cheque. However, to our client’s embarrassment and shock when he banked the said cheque on its due date it was dishonored with words “refer to the drawer”. A copy of the said cheque is attached hereto for your reference

You may wish to know that your conduct constitutes breach of the law and its actionable both in criminal and civil laws of Uganda. Our client has further suffered huge inconveniences and loss due to your reckless and superfluous conduct.

This notice therefore serves to demand from you to pay to us within seven days from receipt of this notice a sum of Ugx. 1,800,000/= being the money you owe to our client, a sum of Ugx. 500,000/= being damages for the huge inconveniences and loss suffered by our client and Ugx. 500,000/= being our instruction fees. Should you not take hid, we have strict instructions to drag you to courts of law and subject you to the costly and tedious litigation process at your peril and embarrassment.


Yours sincerely,



President Museveni with Kirunda Kivejinja addressing a UPM rally in 1980

Presidency appears to be Museveni’s only real friend as old allies either die or they are cast by the wayside, writes Sulaiman Kakaire.
President Museveni once said in a 1994 newspaper interview that he had no friends. Of course the president is a politician. And politicians, we are told, have no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.
Still, there were people who seemed (and believed they were) so close to Museveni you could be forgiven for thinking of them as his friends. But you would be wrong. The September 18 sacking of Amama Mbabazi as prime minister has further diminished the group of Museveni’s long-term confidants still working with him.

Mbabazi, 65, had worked closely with Museveni since the early 1970s. The president even credits Mbabazi for reviving the internal network that fought Idi Amin when it almost collapsed around 1974. In his book, “Sowing the Mustard Seed,” a chronicle of his political journey from his youthful days up to 1996 when Uganda held the first universal suffrage elections under NRM, Museveni lists his friends and foes.

A review of Museveni’s book by this newspaper found that of the nearly 200 people he mentions, 158 belonged to what the president called friendly forces in the struggle while 29 can be referred to, in the context of the book, as enemy forces. The names on the “enemy list” include; former presidents Apollo Milton Obote, Idi Amin Dada, Tito Okello Lutwa and Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa.

Our review also found that 85 of the 158 ‘friendly forces’ – made a significant contribution to Museveni’s political journey. Among the significant contributors are people Museveni met in school and during his early political activism campaigns. They include Martin Mwesiga (RIP), Black Mwesigwa (RIP), Eriya Kategaya (RIP) and Valeriano Rwaheru (RIP), who he met in the 1950s as a student at Kyamate primary school and Ntare School.

At Dar es Salaam University, Museveni also met people like the late Dr John Garang and James Wapakhabulo (RIP) who participated fervently in the University Students African Revolutionary Front to discuss Africa’s problems. During that time, they would invite political scholars like Walter Rodney to provide insights into some of the problems that the world’s post-colonial states were facing.
“This was during the time he (Rodney) was writing ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’,” Museveni notes.
The president mentions Kategaya and Martin Mwesiga as some of those who participated in the discussions. When he graduated from university, Museveni in the late 1960s joined “progressive voices” within the UPC such as Raiti Omongin (RIP), Kirunda Kivejinja, Dani Wadada Nabudere (RIP), Bidandi Ssali, Zubairi Bakari (RIP), Richard Kaijuka and Magode Ikuya.

In 1971, when Amin assumed leadership, Museveni mobilised some Ugandans under Fronasa to fight the dictatorship. They included Kategaya, Amanya Mushega, Ruhakana Rugunda, Maumbe Mukhwana, Haruna Kibuye (RIP) and Abwooli Malibo (RIP). Others that Museveni cooperated with under Fronasa include Mbabazi, Kahinda Otafiire, James Birihanze, Kahunga Bagira, Augustine Ruzindana, Salim Saleh, Fred Rwigema, Ivan Koreta, Chefe Ali, Chango Machyo, Sam Njuba and Sam Katabarwa.

During the 1980 NRA bush war, Museveni acknowledges to have worked with, among others, people like Fred Rubereza (RIP), Gen Elly Tumwine, Tadeo Kanyankore (RIP) and Dr Kizza Besigye.

Current relationship

Our analysis of Museveni’s friends reveals that of the 85 great contributors to Museveni’s political journey, only 35 are alive. Of these, 26 still work with Museveni while nine are in the opposition. Nine of Museveni’s former friends fell out with the president due to their opposition to his long stay in power. These include Mushega, Augustine Ruzindana, Col (rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye, Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, Colonels Samson Mande and Anthony Kyakabale.

Besigye left Museveni’s government after he refused to address his call for reforms on governance. He has since stood three times against Museveni and remains the leading opposition player. Mushega, Ruzindana and Bidandi parted ways with Museveni following the latter’s push for the removal of presidential term limits.

Some of Museveni’s friends who are dead disagreed with Museveni in their last days. Among these are Nabudere, Sam Kalega Njuba, Kanyakore and his childhood friend Kategaya. In his book, “Impassioned For Freedom,” the late Kategaya expressed his disappointment with Museveni’s about-turn on stepping down from power.

On pages 131-132, Kategaya writes; “Of late, I have been told that politicians are people without a sense of shame. All along I trusted President Museveni whenever we agreed on what to do but the kisanja project (deletion of two term limits) has shaken my faith in him. It is not only President Museveni who has shaken my faith and trust in leaders but some of my colleagues in cabinet are equally guilty. It seems the survival instinct overrides everything else.”

Although Kategaya was dropped from cabinet for his stand, he was eventually recalled after making his own U-turn. Njuba and Bidandi also wrote in their autobiographies about how they were forced to leave government for questioning the lifting of term limits.

Play safe

From available statistics, it seems the safest way to remain within Museveni’s inner circle is not to express interest in the presidency or even criticise Museveni, his family or the UPDF – which he sees as the regime’s ultimate guarantor. Almost all of Museveni’s close comrades who have continued to work with him have played safe politics or not posed a threat to his power.
The 26 friends still living today include Prime Minister-Designate Rugunda, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, the minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and Gen Elly Tumwine, a UPDF MP. Others are Kirunda Kivejinja, Kintu Musoke, Gen Ivan Koreta and his brother Gen Salim Saleh. So, to stay with Museveni, one has to identify and take care of his permanent interest, which can now be presumed to be his presidency.

Where Museveni friends are

Name Year of meeting for politics Where are they now
Martin Mwesiga 1953 He was killed in Mbale
Eriya Kategaya 1953 Died in 2012. By the time of his death he was serving as First Deputy Prime Minister and minister for East Africa Community Affairs.
Black Mwesigwa 1953 Died during the unsuccessful invasion of September 1972
Valeriano Rwaheru 1950s Killed by a grenade that exploded in his hands when he was attacked by Amin’s soldiers in 1974
James Wapakhabulo 1960s Died in 2004; served as minister for Foreign Affairs
John Garang 1960s Died in a plane crash in 2005
John Kawanga 1960s He is currently in private practice and a member of DP
Prof Dani Nabudere 1960s Died in 2012. By the time of his death he was mobilising a citizen led movement to call for governance reforms
Kintu Musoke 1960s Retired politician but currently working as Special Presidential Advisor
Jaberi Bidandi Ssali 1960s He stood against Museveni in the 2011 presidential elections and is president of People’s Progressive Party
Kirunda Kivejinja 1960s He is a Special Presidential Advisor and member of NRM’s Central Executive Committee
Raiti Omongin 1960s Died during the unsuccessful invasion of September 1972
Richard Kaijuka 1960s A silent member of the FDC
Erifazi,Laki 1960s Died
Yuda Katundu 1960s Died
Abbas Kibazo 1960s Died
Zubairi Bakari 1960s Died
Ikuya Magode 1960s Retired and member of NRM NEC
Amanya Mushega 1971 He is FDC vice president in charge of Western Uganda
Ruhakana Rugunda 1970s Prime Minister
Maumbe Mukhwana 1970s Retired farmer in Mbale
Haruna Kibuye 1970s Died
Haruna,Bakari 1970s Died
Akena P’Ojok 1970s Died
Abwooli Malibo 1970s Was arrested in one of the tea rooms in Kampala, executed in Fort Portal in 1973
James Karambuzi 1970s Executed by Amin in 1973
Joseph Bitwaari 1970s Was publicly executed By Amin In 1973
Samuel Kagulire Kasadha 1970s Was the estate engineer at Makerere killed by Amin in 1972
Edward Rugumayo 1970s Retired and currently at the Mountain of the Moon University in Fort Portal
Obitre Gama 1970s Died
William Ndahendekire 1970s Died
James Birihanze 1970s He was found dead after the Kyambogo incident when Amin soldiers surrounded Rwaheru and James Karuhanga
Kahunga Bagira 1970s Killed during the unsuccessful invasion of September 1972
Samora,Machel 1970s Died in 1986
Augustine Ruzindana 1970s Opposition—deputy secretary general in charge of research in FDC
Mpiima Kazimoto Wukwu 1970s He was killed during the first Fronasa attack in Mbale
Joseph Bitwari 1970s Was arrested and publicly executed in his home town of Kabale in 1973
James Karambuzi 1970s Was arrested and publicly executed in their home town of Kabale
William Nkoko 1970s Executed in Jinja in 1973
James Mbigiti 1970s Died
James Karuhanga 1970s Amin’s soldiers publicly executed him in front of his parents in Mbarara town
Obwona Labeja 1970s Was executed in 1973 in Gulu town
Janet Museveni 1970s First lady and minister for Karamoja Affairs
John Wycliffe Kazzora 1970s Died in 1999
Amama Mbabazi 1970s Secretary General, NRM/Former Prime Minister
Kahinda Otafiire 1970s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
Salim Saleh (Caleb Akandwanaho) 1970s Special Presidential Advisor
Fred Rwigema 1970s Died during RPF’s Rwanda Invasion, 1990.
Chefe Ali 1970s Died
Ivan Koreta 1970s Ambassador
Wanume Kibedi 1970s Chairperson of Citizenship and Immigration Board
Chango Machyo 1970s Died in 2013 and by then he was a special presidential advisor
Rhoda Kalema 1970s Retired
Sam Njuba 1970 Died in 2013 and by then he was FDC National chairperson
Gertrude Njuba 1970s Special presidential advisor
Sam Katabarwa 1970s ...
Sam Magara 1970s Died during the bush war
Ahmed Seguya 1970s Died during the bush war
Fred Rubereza 1970s Died during the bush war
Elly Tumwine 1970s Army MP
Brig Tadeo Kanyankore 1970s Died in 1999
Matthew Rukikaire 1970s Retired but recently served as chairperson of Makerere University Council
Brig Andrew Lutaaya 1970s Retired into private business. He is the owner of Ssese Construction Company and a host of other businesses.
Col Charles Tusiime 1970s Col. Charles Tusiime, a historical who took part in the 1981 attack on Kabamba Military Barracks but was recently promoted
Nathan Ruyondo 1970s The father of the late Colonel Patrick Lumumba
Patrick Lumumba 1970s Died in 1991
Brig Julius Chihandae 1970s But he later fell out with the government, spent about a year in a cell at Lubiri military barracks after allegedly aiding his friend, Col. Ahmed Kashilingi, to flee the country. Kashilingi, who currently works in the President’s Office, was accused of plotting a coup especially after the burning of military documents at Republican House, where he was in charge. Today Chihandae is an attaché at Uganda’s embassy in Saudi Arabia.
Hannington Mugabi 1970s Killed by one of his colleagues during the NRM struggle
Jack Mucunguzi 1980s Is the brother to Maj. General Fred Mugisha, the former Force Commander, African Mission in Somalia (Amisom), worked for the defunct Coffee Marketing Board and later as a security officer at Uganda Revenue Authority.
Anthony Kyakabale 1980s Exiled in 2001
Bomboka Edidian Lutamaguzi 1980s Died during the bush war
Moses Kigongo 1980s NRM vice chairperson
Col Fred Mwesigye 1980s Member of Parliament for Nyabushozi County
Pecos Kutesa 1980s in charge of army doctrine
Andrew Kayiira 1980s Died under mysteriously circumstances in 1987 he was then the Minister for Energy.
Moses Ali 1980s Second Deputy Prime Minister
Shaban Kashanku 1980s Was killed during the early years of the struggle for travelling,to Kampala from the jungles of Luweero without getting permission of his commanders
Dr Ronald Batta 1980s Died
Rtd Col Dr Kizza Besigye 1980s Opposition and former president of FDC
Stanley Muhangi 1980s He died in 1991
Maj Gen Joram Mugume 1980s He is the former deputy army commander and commander of land forces
Maj Emmy Ekyaruhanga 1980s Died
Paulo Muwanga 1980s Died in 1991
Stephen Kashaka 1980s Military attaché at the Ugandan Embassy in South Africa and previously served in the same position in Tanzania.
Maj Gen Fred Mugisha 1980s In charge of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre.
Ahmed Kashilingi 1980s Security Analyst,,ministry of Foreign Affairs
Col Samson Mande 1980s Exiled in Sweden
Brig Peter Kerim 1980s He died in 2012 and by that time he was serving as a deputy reserve force commander
Benon Tumukunde 1980s Died in early days of regime
Namara Katabarwa 1980s Died in the bush


Sunday, 28 September 2014


Hon. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere

A lot has been said about the 1980 elections having been rigged. What exactly happened?
The 1980 election was on the issues and expectations of all of us who participated. It was an occasion, an opportunity for us to allay our disappointments since independence. We had fought for independence and achieved it but the political results were not as we had expected. And this was evident when we assembled in Moshi, [Tanzania] in 1979. We wanted to have a legitimate government because the 1962 elections produced a government which was conceived on fraud, by the admission of its own architects. 
You see the UPC faction felt that they had a wrong partner in KY (Kabaka Yekka) and the KY faction also felt they had a wrong partner. So only after two years of independence the alliance collapsed, the monarchy was destroyed in 1966 and (Milton) Obote sought a new ally in the military.
In 1971, Obote’s alliance with the military also collapsed and he fled to exile. In Moshi, we had agreed on a transitional period so that we would organise a free and fair election in accordance with the wishes of the people. We looked at 1980 as an opportunity to produce a government that was based on the will of the people. There was a lot of support for the Democratic Party from all over the country, wherever. People volunteered to offer free services, people offered money, free housing, whatever they could. And above all there was reconciliation. The gulf that had existed between the Democratic Party and the supporters of KY in Buganda had been bridged.
The most prominent leaders of KY in 1962 became prominent campaigners of DP in 1980. Take the example of Nkonge, the father of Sarah Nkonge, Lutaaya, the father of Brig Lutaaya and others. These were some of the closest friends of Mutesa and they were very powerful leaders. They all came on board. Eldard Muliira, the leader of the Progressive Party in the 1960s, also joined us. Prince George Mawanda, Sebaana Kizito who was Eldard Muliira in the Progressive Party in the 1960s, also joined.

And you would say that was natural given what had happened between KY and UPC …
Oh yeah, that is right. It was reconciliation. And in fact those were the lessons between 1962 and 1980. Many of us had remained in constant interaction with these people. We kept meeting quietly, discussing what was happening and what needed to be done. So there was a meeting of minds. It was harvest time for us.

You have only talked Buganda though…
I am concentrating on Buganda because the weakness for us was here; that is where we lost the 1962 elections. But equally outside Buganda, we got some people, prominent ones, who had been in UPC. Shaban Opolot, the first army commander who had been sacked and detained, joined us and was a DP candidate in Teso. Adoko Nekyon, Obote’s cousin - a very powerful UPC man in the 1960s - also supported us. Actually he tried to stand on our ticket in Lango but he was stopped.
There was Aloysius Ngobi, a very powerful man in Busoga. He was a minister for Agriculture under Obote, one of the five ministers Obote arrested in 1966. He is still alive. Then we had some who had crossed to UPC in the 1960s but came back to DP in 1980, like the elder brother of Henry Kajura. He was the leader of the DP campaign in Bunyoro. So I could see this everywhere.

So what went wrong?
The facts on the ground are these. We tried as hard as possible to minimise risks of cheating; to minimise the influence of the military. We spent a lot of hours negotiating with Mwalimu Nyerere [the president of Tanzania]. He did what he could but he didn’t do enough. He probably couldn’t do enough or it was his wish that Obote should return because he was his friend. Probably he wanted to help him regain power and rule well. Well, that is a long story and we can’t finish it … my frustrations. But at least Nyerere realised later that the course I took helped to save a lot. From the reports we got from all over the country.
From Kapchorwa, Tororo, Kigezi, everywhere, we were headed for victory. And, I should say this, Vincent Ssekkono was secretary to the electoral commission and at some point he sent congratulations to me (that I had won). When the results started coming in and it was all obvious that we would get the necessary seats to win the election, then Paul Muwanga issued Proclamation No 9, which stopped returning officers from announcing results and take all the results to his office. He was the Chairman of the Military Commission, which was in charge of the country by then. He later, of course, announced doctored results.

Do you have a way a scientific way to tell that you were rigged out?
The rigging was in the open. Talk to Mariano Drametu, he is still around in Moyo. He was one of those who were stopped from running. Then you talk to Eng Sam Drale. They stopped him at a road block. They held him there for the duration of the nomination and they released him when the nomination was closed. So these things did take place. And you remember that the presidency that time was won based on the number of elected MPs a party had. That is why they resorted to sabotaging the nomination and election of our candidates. So those things happened in Busia, in so many other places. That was a tragedy and people can freely search into that. They can go case by case and document it. 

Did Obote challenge you to parade your generals? 
Yes. He didn’t say it many times, he said it once and I had my reaction to that. Again this speaks to how a legitimate government is formed in a democracy. It is very important for your generation. We take democracy to be a government of the people, for the people and by the people. You relinquish power and give it to the people to decide.
If you corrupt the judiciary and the military, they cease to be professional and politically impartial. They side with you and campaign for you. Then you cannot talk about legitimacy. The danger we face even now is that it is being taken for granted that one needs the army on their side to win an election and maintain a government. Obote did it, Museveni is doing it now. It is a tragedy that Ugandans must fight to get out of. So, yes, Obote said that. But that was his weakness, not his strength.

So how come you took up your seat in Parliament after the election?
Yes, we took up our seats in Parliament and I have been vindicated. First of all it was a hard decision to take but it was taken democratically. In my conscience, I had to mull that question. Should we boycott Parliament, should we join? If we boycott, what do we do?
There were very strong voices for boycotting Parliament, and very strong voices for going to the bush. We thought that we had a special role to promote reconciliation and national unity at that very difficult period in our history. We thought that was better for the country. When I look back now, it was the right decision. But I didn’t take it alone, it was a collective decision. I called the National Council and we sat here at Rubaga Social Centre. All the DP leaders and the members who had participated in the elections – those who had won and those who had lost - turned up for the meeting. We decided to take up our seats in Parliament.

Any regrets for having done that?
Not at all. Some people have said we legitimised a fraudulent government. Nothing is farther from the truth because at no time did we concede. But we used the platform of Parliament to do things that would otherwise have been impossible for us to do under those very difficult circumstances. I was Leader of the Opposition and shadow minister for defence and security.

I used the opportunity to interface with Muwanga, Oyite-Ojok and others. We would argue over important things and sometimes I would score points. I don’t know how many lives I saved through these interactions. I would sometimes go with John Kawanga and Henry Ssewannyana to meet Muwanga. And some people would have been dead if we hadn’t carried out these efforts. There are people I got from the Central Police Station when they were destined to be killed. Others I picked from Makindye, there was a go-down there which was very dangerous, and many other things. I think generally we played a historic role. We gathered information, we fed Amnesty International and many of the people whom we recommended were taken good care of.

Are you referring to the famous Black Book?
Oh, yes, yes. It worked very much. It was a device which I found worth pursuing to expose wrong doing. The Black Book was a deterrent; it was to warn you that whatever crime you committed was being documented and that it could all come back to haunt you in the future.

It actually worked very well as a deterrent. I remember some of these members of the government of the time feverishly asking me, now sir what is my number in the Black Book, what did I do wrong? It actually worked very well as a deterrent. 
So our decision to join Parliament, even after the fraudulent election, boosted our party internationally. We staged an international colloquium here in 1984 to mark 30 years of the Democratic Party, a big international event like no other political party in Africa had organised before. And we did it against the wishes of the government. Muwanga tried to stop us and I told him that some of our guests were already air-borne. The guests included the Prime Minister of Italy at the time.

Was Museveni on rampage in the bush then? 
Ah, no. Museveni was on the retreat at the time. He was fleeing to the Rwenzoris. He only bounced back after the coup by the Okellos.

So how and why do you end up serving in military junta that follows shortly afterwards?
Yes, I justify our participation in the Okello and Museveni governments. I justify it historically. Look at the situation on the ground. We were the force to reckon with, locally and internationally. Our stature had grown exponentially. In fact, the Okellos might have been encouraged to stage their coup by the success of our colloquium in 1984, which showed that we had massive support within the country and internationally.
There were internal divisions within the government and the army and it was clear that Muwanga was at loggerheads with Obote and Chris Rwakasisi. It was more or less like now, with the government divided. Being Leader of the Opposition, I was talking to all these people. So immediately after the coup, the Okellos reached out to us and we entered negotiations.
We gave them our conditions, chiefly to return the country to democratic rule as quickly as possible by organising democratic elections, and to end the fighting as quickly as possible and to maintain rule of law. They agreed to our conditions. The roles they gave us were consistent with our demands. I was made minister for Internal Affairs, for instance. I released all political prisoners, virtually all of them. I said I didn’t believe in detention without trial.

And Bazilio and Tito allowed you?
They agreed. I didn’t do it unilaterally. I made a case for it. When I became minister I brought the issue on the table. Ask Olara Otunnu, he also supported me strongly. He was minister for Foreign Affairs, a very powerful minister because he is a relative of Tito Okello.
One of my greatest supporters was Wilson Toko, who was vice chairman of the Military Commission. He supported me strongly. I made my case, Muwanga warned against it but I took the day. We released about 2,000 of them openly.

Tell us about what have been called the Nairobi “Peace Jokes”
They call them jokes but they were not jokes. Toko was chairman of the negotiating commission on behalf of the government and I later took over from him. As far as I am concerned, we actually finished our job because we got them to sign. Museveni signed on paper to end the fighting and form a government of national unity in which he was supposed to be vice president. We came back as heroes just before Christmas in 1985. Unfortunately, the Musevenis continued with their fighting.

So how do you end up joining forces with Museveni?
When Museveni came he invited me. He sent Winnie Byanyima and Kaka, who is in Kalangala now. He was a DP youth winger from Bunyoro in the 1980s. I went and met Museveni at Nabbingo Parish. He was making overtures that we join them. I was with other members including Sebaana Kizito. So we negotiated. One of the sticky issues was political parties. Museveni wanted to ban parties. Talking to us, he was blaming UPC for the chaos. We told him that if UPC is a bad party, people will shun it and join the good ones. But you cannot use that to ban political parties. We agreed on some minimum points on the basis of which we joined.
When we joined, we set up a negotiation team headed by the late Justice Mulenga. The team had John Kawanga, Sebaana, Robert Kitariko and others. On Museveni’s side was the late Sam Njuba and his wife Gertrude, and others. We agreed on some points on which to work as allies although for the nine years we were with them much of it came to naught. But there were some positives. For instance, I can tell you that I was not inhibited from carrying out my work as minister for Internal Affairs and as minister for Public Service. You can go and find out what I did.

What did you do?
Like in Internal Affairs, I refused to sign a single detention order even when messages came from wherever. I saved the police. Museveni never wanted the police. He wanted the military to take over completely. That was his idea even in the Nairobi peace talks. As minister for Internal Affairs, Museveni put pressure on me to do away with the police but I stood my ground. You can ask (Al Hajj Moses) Kigongo because he led a team which included Salim Saleh and (now Internal Affairs minister Gen Aronda) Nyakairima to prevail over me to do away with the police. They told me that this was Obote’s police that needed to be done away with. I said to them that the NRA were not angels from heaven. I said that we would screen the police. Those who were unqualified would get further training, and so on. And that is how we got to build Masindi Police Training School.

Tell us about the controversies in the Constitution making process
You have to be very grateful to the late Prof Dan Nabudere. We worked with him closely on this project. When we were elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1994, some of us had already identified ourselves as pro political parties. I was still in the government but even Museveni knew it that I was strongly for multi-partyism.
In fact, if you want to know why I left the government, it was on that ideological ground. Museveni sincerely didn’t believe in the restoration of multi-partyism and I couldn’t compromise on that. Those of us who were strongly for multi-partyism discovered one another and we formed a caucus called the National Caucus for Democracy and the secretary general for that forum was Nabudere. In the Caucus was Cecilia Ogwal and many others.

Did the Caucus also include people from NRA/M like the late Sserwanga Lwanga and Kizza Besigye?
They did not come to the Caucus but Sserwanga was coming here. Kizza Besigye was by the time probably not yet very convinced of this multi-party thing. But he was clearly slowly getting tired of the Movement thing. We would talk. But Sserwanga was very enthusiastic. There were other people like Jotham Tumwesigye, he is now a judge. He was very balanced. 

People like (Prof George) Kanyeihamba were unfortunately not convinced yet of the evils of the NRM. This (Gen David) Sejusa was on the margin, but closer to our side than Besigye. I used to get information about what happened in the Movement Caucus from Sserwanga. We pushed for the abolition of the Movement system. We presented the case for multi-partyism as strongly as possible and when the CA rejected multi-partyism we walked out of the deliberations during the CA, 68 of us.

DP will be 60 next month. Don’t you get a feeling it is considerably weakened?
You have got to see what has been happening to other parties. Tell me which political party has stood? Look at UPC, the power they had and everything. Where are they now? The reason is that these people don’t want political parties. They do everything to kill the parties, we just happen to survive.
The tragedy in Africa is that whoever takes power has to kill the old parties. Where is Kanu in Kenya? Where is Banda’s party in Malawi? Where is Nkrumah’s party in Ghana? The leaders in government, not all of them, but those who matter, don’t like political parties. You should read (Museveni’s) Sowing the Mastered Seed. He is very categorical. He criticises us for spearheading multi-partism. He is honest about it.

Now as a watcher of developments, where do you see the country headed?
For me, I don’t want that question of where do I see the country going. The point I have been making to you the young intelligencia is that it is a challenge. My role is to analyse things as I see them. I say that the struggle should continue. When I look at what role I have had to play, together with people like Ben Kiwanuka, Mulenga and others, I think we have played our part.
I think the situation would have been much worse if there was no Ben Kiwanuka or Mulenga. If he had been in power, it would have been much better, but what we contributed has been good. For the party, for democracy, for the country. I look at the Constitutional petitions I filed and won; the country would have been much worse if I hadn’t filed them.
Of course there are many pending matters which should be raised by you people. You can change things. Some of you have got friends in the military, in the government and so on. So if you are convinced the way we were, you tell them. For instance, we had a seminar on security in 1984 and I gave a paper on security in Gulu in which I criticised the use of the military for political purposes. The army commander in the area knew of it and he came to my hotel room to challenge me about it. I asked him how old he was and he said 36. He was a colonel. So I asked him, where are the colonels who were here under Obote I or under Idi Amin? He couldn’t show me any.
They had either been killed or they were in exile. I said to him, if you go out there you will find retired priests, retired doctors, retired teachers, why is the life expectancy of you soldiers so short? I told him that I wanted to see him around after 20 years and that the only way he would be around was if he did not allow the regime of the day to use him to do wrong things.

Any clear pointers as to where the country is headed?
Well, let me say this. Whatever we have gained on the democracy front has come at a heavy cost. But, unfortunately, there are signs that suggest that the gains we have made are reversible. I will offer examples. The retention of the Movement Act (1997) in our Statute books is a constant reminder that we could slide back into a monolithic state. Also, the retention, in their present form, of Articles 69 and 74 of the Constitution, which do not completely guarantee multiparty politics, is another sad reminder.
There is also Article 78 of the Constitution which allows serving military officers to become full-fledged MPs with voting rights. There are provisions in the UPDF Act in which the UPDF retains, intact, the composition and powers of its precursor, the NRA, including operating a parallel court system to the civilian judiciary which has powers to even condemn an accused person to death. These and other things worry me.