Museveni, Kategaya send off heroe
By Kyomuhendo Muhanga
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni, the former leader of the Front for National Salvation Army (FRONASA), on Friday conducted a roll call of former FRONASA fighters.
He called out the names of Eriya Kategaya, Maumbe Muhwana, Zubair Bakarii and Haruna Kibuye; and all those present answered, Present Sir!
General Elly Tumwine roll called the commanders of the bush war, starting with Salim Saleh, David Tinyefuza, Jerome Mugume, Jim Muhwezi, Stephen Kashaka and Peter Kerim and again, they were present.
However, when Museveni called out Martin Luther Mwesigas
name three times and Tumwine called out Lt. Col. Samuel Magaras, there were no answers, sending mourners into tears.
For it was at the re-burial of the freedom fighters remains in Rutooma, Mbarara, that the roll call was taking place. Mwesiga was killed by Idi Amins troops in Mbale in 1973, while Magara was killed by Milton Obotes troops in 1982 in Kampala. The two were brothers.
Magara became the second bush war commander after the death of Andrew Seguya in August in 1981. Seguya died in combat.
Speaking at the funeral, Museveni said Ugandans must ensure that a few selfish individuals do not tarnish what Magara, Mwesigwa and others died for.
Nahabwekyo abarikushisha obusingye beshwijume (for that matter, those trying to disrupt peace should watch out), Museveni said.
Museveni gave an account of how he narrowly survived death in 1973 in Mbale, when Idi Amins soldiers surrounded the house where he had gone for a meeting with the late Mwesiga.
They drove from Kampala to Mbale to meet FRONASA freedom fighters, but were surrounded by Amins soldiers at Maumbe Mukhwanas house, where they were to draw strategies to fight the government.
They asked for the driver of the vehicle and I said I was the one. They ordered me to open the vehicle and drive to the Mbale barracks. I had by this time realised danger. So I opened the door of the vehicle, jumped over a fence and ran. Museveni said.
He also revealed that he had denied Magara permission to go Kampala, then an enemy zone, but later allowed him after he realised that he had already planned for the trip. It was in Kampala that Magara was killed when his host Katenta Apuulis niece leaked his presence to the enemy.
Museveni said the government would continue to locate and rebury the remains of the bush war soldiers, and to cater for their childrens education needs.
Army commander Lt. Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, Lt.Gen. Salim Saleh, Lt. Gen David Tinyefuza and former army commander Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu attended the burial.
Also present were Maj. Gen. Ivan Koreta, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi and others.
Published on: Sunday, 6th February, 2005
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