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How much does Uganda owe the 1986 liberators?

With the exception of the very few people who were born with silver spoons in their mouths, a majority of successful people attribute their achievements to a wide range of sources, such as extended family members, friends, donors and total strangers in some cases. 

One of the worst things that can happen to any former beneficiary of charity is to be reminded of their alleged ungratefulness for the charity received.

Like anyone whose sensibilities have been attacked to the core by a prompt to re-imagine how their life would have been if help wasn’t rendered, the most awkward reaction is to have to ask the benefactor questions such as: exactly how much did you contribute so I can refund it?

Similarly, in 1981, some charismatic soldier - with an unusual spark of brilliance and mastery for mobilizing - convinced 27 people to launch an armed struggle and “save” Uganda.

Several of the 27 had had an enviable up-bringing, better education and promising career paths than their leader but were convinced to abandon whatever they were doing and go to the “bush” to launch an armed struggle that would “save” Ugandans from the then alleged bad governance.

The only other person in history who displayed a comparable mobilization skill was Jesus Christ, but even then, he only managed to convince 12 men. Those who were adults during the aftermath of the struggle gratefully speak of a semblance of economic revitalization, improved infrastructure, political stability (although highly contested), a “free” press and a wide range of capitalist reforms.

First forward to 2019, and a certain section of self-important liberators still gloat over fellow citizens’ problems by constantly reminding them to be grateful for the liberation sacrifices made over three decades ago.

If any liberator ever finds it necessary to remind the benefactors of the need to be grateful, a serious doubt must be cast on the original intentions of the favours. Additionally, it is both an unnecessary insult and incitement to the general public - especially the well-meaning fellow liberators - when a certain section of liberators think they should be above the law courtesy of what they did for this country.

Also, even if it were justifiable to remind Ugandans about the liberation sacrifices, the timing and occasions have usually been wrong.

For instance, what explains the coincidence that the self-important liberators commonly reminisce about their sacrifices only after: public misconduct, physically harassing female traffic officers, insulting and showing contempt for legitimate institutions, shooting at civilian’s vehicles and grabbing land from powerless citizens?

One major factor that is conspicuously ignored by the few ‘liberators’ is the demographic composition of the current Ugandan population. For instance, those who were above the age of 50 years by 1986 are either dead or too frail to care about the liberation sacrifices.

It, therefore, follows that almost three quarters of the current population were either not yet born or were too young to appreciate the exact circumstances from which the pompous heroes liberated Uganda. Telling such a population about the sacrifices made over 30 years ago equates to demanding for royalty from someone for the favours that were received by their ancestors.

Furthermore, the impact of the five-year struggle was felt throughout the country. Arguably, everyone lost something. The losses included human lives, crops, livestock, internal and external displacements.

Therefore, demanding for special privileges by a small section of liberators only opens up a can of worms as several unsung heroes (combatant and non-combatant) are painfully reminded about what Uganda supposedly owes them.

Additionally, the constant reminders about the liberation sacrifices by a few arrogant individuals gives a false impression that the liberators who are complaining have never received any benefits during the 33 years of the post-liberation era. While some liberators may justifiably claim to have gained nothing during the more than three decades of the postliberation era, many, especially those who have recently been in the spotlight have undeniably benefited.

The benefits may not necessarily be the ones expected. However, employment opportunities, promotions, study opportunities and “presidential handshakes,” among others, should not be taken for granted.

At the very least, someone who triples as a UPDF general, member of parliament, and security minister should be the last to cry foul for not getting sufficient appreciation and respect in return for the liberation sacrifices.

If I may borrow some lines from one of the finest country musicians, Lee Ann Womack, Sometimes, people get their fair share to eat but still keep the hunger. May the 1986 liberators stop taking even a single breath for granted and God forbid, if any surviving UPDF general has been left empty-handed after a more than three-decade post-liberation era.

Lastly, if any of the liberators ever craves more respect, may they visit any of the Lake Victoria shores or stand at the foot of Mountain Kilimanjaro so as to be reminded of not only how insignificant they are in relation to the rest of nature, but also how similar they are to the rest of humanity.


The writer is a social critic and a social worker in Alberta-Canada.


+1 #11 Wante martino 2019-08-15 12:04
Quoting WADADA roger:
We Ugandans owe these guys nothing, first of all we did not ask them to go and wage rebellion, secondly, as early as 1990, these guys had paid themselves beyond what they had bargained for

and lastly, by constantly reminding us how they fought and hence the justification to remain in power, they are teaching the young generation that you must fight in order to enjoy, lead, steal kill and destroy what you dont need

Spot on bwana Wadada, in fact, these Generals should be arrested for having caused deaths of many, and I mean many Ugandans, what the hell, after 30 years, some fool is still reminding us of the War, Jesus!
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+1 #12 sula 2019-08-15 17:21
1- 27 men to take on an army of 'thousands ' of well equipped soldiers'' surely the aim was not to overthrow the government BUT to start killing recklessly as many soldiers as possible and as many civilians as possible to make a statement , to be recognised "" terrible sadists !!!!!!!!

2- RWEJEMA, Bunyenyezi, Kagame, Nyamwasa, Bahingana, Tunyefunnza etc.,many of whom are now in Rwanda - they went to liberate who ? and they liberated who ? From what ?

3- They were disputed elections ,DP was robbed , did DP as Kaguta and Saleh to use violence to demand justice ? DID DP agree that 500,000 Ugandans had to die for them to get justice ?
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+2 #13 sula 2019-08-15 17:27
In short , Museveni & co never went on any body's behalf -these are just blood thirsty sadists with no respect for humanity ,who just wanted to kill to satisfy their sick minds.

They killed ,have killed ,they continue to kill and they are not apologetic about it . Listen to them talk about Kasese or Arua and you will understand the type of beasts/lunatics running this country. !
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0 #14 kabayekka 2019-08-15 18:06
Nothing. How can the jjajjas owe the bazzukulu anything?

Even the tax the grandchildren pay for the pension of the elderly these days is not enough to sustain the ever increasing elderly who are now living longer.
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+2 #15 Lakwena 2019-08-16 07:53
Quoting sula:
They killed ,have killed ,they continue to kill and they are not apologetic about it . Listen to them talk about Kasese or Arua and you will understand the type of beasts/lunatics running this country. !

Great Sula, indeed sadism! E.g. why did Mr. M7 recruit, conscript and use the Rwandese refugees in his NRA outfit?

It is because, by engaging them/refugees into a rebellion against their Host country, the government of Uganda; their fate was sealed. it became a do or die, including the entire family.

In other words, if the adventure had failed, all the Rwandese refugees would've had to relocate to a third country. That's Mr. M7 diabolism and sadism: he uses people to advance his manic greed (fight for himself and family).
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-2 #16 Wainanchi 2019-08-17 01:50
My Uganda children!!!

Hear,hear ,hear!!! Many of young people do not know the history or the truth!!

Us who witnessed those horrible times are forever grateful to NRA and NRM and their leader Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and brillant warriors who fought to bring freedom and security to Uganda.I wrote several times as a witness of those historical events.

Those were horrible times and the previous governments and soldiers were killing and robbing their own people.

Thanks to the Liberation forces that was finished.Now we have struggle against thieves and saboteurs of modern Uganda.We shall prevail!!
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0 #17 Akot 2019-08-17 20:46
The question is;

*When will Ugandans bring down the tribalistic system & say NO to Museveni in UNITY?

The tribalistic system locks Ugandans with Museveni but locks the outside world out of Ugandan affairs: no outsider/not even dipomats will say a word against Museveni, no matter what he does to Ugandans!

Why do Ugandans lock themselves with Museveni who destroys them, loot their land, enslave them... without giving chance to the outside world to even comment on how he treats them?

What will bringing down the tribalistic system & UNITY that will show Museveni way OUT, cost & from which tribal land will Museveni fight back this time?

Why is Museveni still in State House enslaving everybody & helped to do so by Ugandans themselves?
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0 #18 Charles Dicken Oruk 2019-08-18 12:44
Wainanchi telling lies as truth is sickness. Which previous government are you talking about?

The history of Uganda is being twisted by people like you who are just full of greed and selfishness. Wainanchi if you really witnessed horrible things before the forceful advent of the NRA/M to power why is it that none of you complaining never went to any court of law to ask for the extradition of those leaders of the previous government to come and face justice?

The late Obote died without being paraded in any court the same way Sadam Hussein of Iraq was.

The late Amin also died without facing any court just because in Uganda accusing somebody of gross-violation of human right is just a fashion they enjoy so much.

Wainanchi, you are doing the same, blaming the past leaders while producing no evidence about the accusation in any court. The previous leaders died innocent. Stop deceiving your self. Those in power today must prepare for a court case.
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