By Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi
MASAKA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: President Yoweri Museveni had a televised address to the nation on August 14 about the security situations, human rights and Emyoga.
He focused much on human rights, which were championed by the NRM Government that set-up a commission of inquiry into violation of human rights by the past regimes, Inspectorate of Government to deal with corruption and human rights, and Uganda human Rights Commission, among others.
However, some opposition and foreign funded NGOs dismissed it as mere rhetoric yet it is NRM, from time immemorial that has enforced discipline in our armed forces.
When it comes to the discipline of the armed forces, National Resistance Army (NRA) now Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) is in its own class.
First of all, the five year people’s protracted war waged in the bushes of Luwero Triangle is similar to the long war waged by the legendary Kabaka Kintu against Bemba Musota who was a tyrant. Kintu is said to have mobilized forces from areas as far as Mount Masaba in the East and beyond, Ssesse islands in Lake Victoria, until he camped at Manjiira in present Nakifuma county in Mukono District and commanded his forces until he killed Bemba at Naggalabi, Buddo, which is now the coronation site for the Kabakas of Buganda.
That is why when Byron Kawadwa wrote a play about Kintu fighting Bemba, Idi Amin’s Hench men kidnapped him never to be seen again. It was prophesying a full scale guerilla war which was later to be waged by NRM/NRA under the command of now President Yoweri Museveni.
A history of a standing army is not very old in Uganda as kings feared that a standing army could be used in a coup against the incumbent, according to Professor Ssemakula Kiwanuka in A History of Buganda from State Formation to 1900. So Kabaka Muteesa only started a brass band called “Ekitongole Ekigoowa” copying what he had seen with Sir Samuel Baker and his Nubian soldiers.
However, his successor Kabaka Mwanga started “Ekitongole Ekijaasi” which was the first standing army, despite the warning that it would stand against him. It was the standing army that overthrew him thrice during religious conflicts in Bubanda and in 1897 it did it for good and replaced him with his infant son Kabaka Daudi Cwa ll.
But even before forming a standing army, Mwanga had a group of “bayaaye” (lumpens) including “abayaga” drug takers, based at Masajja, where he built his palace. The Abayaaye used to terrorize the population and their patron was Prince Bamweyana, the traditional patron of the “bayaga”. So, discipline was lacking.
In Bunyoro, Omukama Kabalega had also Abarusura as a standing army, which he used in efforts to reclaim territory Bunyoro had lost to neighboring kingdoms like Buganda , Tooro and Nkore, but it was too indiscipline in Rwenzori mountains and was so much hated by Batooro, Bakonjo, Bamba and others.
The colonial army was also unpopular as it was used by the British to conquer and subjugate nation states in present day Uganda. Uganda Army was a mere change from King’s African Rifles to East Africa Rifles and later Uganda Rifles, but the substance remained the same.
In Sowing the Mustard Seed, President Museveni talked about one indisciplined Tanzanian soldier who raped a woman at the beginning of 1979 war on Uganda border with Tanzania. According to the President, who was commanding Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) guerillas, fighting side by side with Tanzanian forces, in Western Uganda, he wanted the soldier punished but the Tanzanian commander said that according to Tanzanian laws, a Tanzanian solider could not be tried outside his country, he also said that the man would have been tempted after taking too long without having sex. The culprit however, was returned to Tanzania for trial.
The discipline of National Resistance Army (NRA) NOW Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) is well documented not only in Uganda but also in other countries like Somalia where it has gone as a peacekeeping force.
So whoever doubts President Museveni’s televised address to the nation last Saturday is not a realist but probably an anarchist or a foreign agent on pay.
Haji Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi is a veteran journalist and Deputy Resident City Commissioner Masaka City.
Do you want to share a story, comment or opinion regarding this story or others, Email us at email@example.com Tel/WhatsApp........0726054858