Former army commander Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu has reminded his former commander-in-chief Gen Museveni that the Uganda People’s Defence Force [UPDF] is a national army and not his personal army.
He was speaking in Masha Isingiro district Sunday at the burial of former presidential candidate and NRA war hero Gen Benon Biraaro.
“We had issues in the bush of different intellectuals. One thing I noticed is for people to look at these struggles as if they separate. Struggles are a continuous process. It is part of human nature,” Muntu said.
He said the only difference is in the choices those in the struggles make.
“I salute gen Biraaro for the choice that he made. First was going to the bush and then we took power. When we took power, there were other choices we had to make.”
He went on: “We realised what took us to the bush, the intentions and objectives were not similar.”
He said some thought taking power from Uganda People’s Congress [UPC] was an end in itself while others saw it as the beginning of the struggle.
“What is important is building one’s name. The physical things go, a car can perish and so can a house but once you lose your name, it’s hard to rebuild it.”
Muntu hailed Biraaro for fighting for the good of everyone and making a decision to run for the top leadership in 2016 general elections.
“…..dead or still alive, we did not go to the bush to fight for an individual’s cause but rather a national cause. So the phrase “my army” is uncalled for and irrelevant….”
“I heard Museveni mention and he keeps saying my army, my army, my army. I don’t know what is at the back of his mind. It could be part of psychological warfare…you know, by the time you get to your opponent, he is psychologically defeated. That one I understand. Power can make us do strange things.”
“He [Museveni] used to enlighten us. For me when I went to the bush, I went to fight for a cause not an individual. We were a national army as NRA. If that didn’t come into reality, it would be unfortunate.”
He turned to government officials and senior UPDF officers present and told them, “Please pass on that message to him. I hope you will be courageous enough to pass on this message to him.”
“Change will come. No one can stop change. It is in the spiritual laws,” Muntu added.
Rotten health sector
Speaking Thursday at the burial of Mrs. Jovah Kafureka, mother to Hon. Gerald Karuhanga in Ntungamo district, Muntu said there is a lot to be said about the country’s healthcare system and the gaps that can be easily plugged to save hundreds of lives.
“It is difficult to understand, for instance, why we continue to lack basic cancer diagnosis and treatment machines,” he said.
He added: “When I inquired from medical personnel, I was informed that such machines cost about $2m. That’s less than half the money that was availed at very short notice to fight the locusts invasion.”
He said it is very hard to talk about such things without seeming to be politicising funerals or seeking cheap popularity, but sometimes, one simply has to say things as they are.
If the government spent just a fraction of the money they use to purchase tear gas and disperse Ugandans on their healthcare, many wouldn’t even have time to demonstrate, Muntu noted.
“When you have a country whose leadership prioritises the suppression of political freedoms over the population’s healthcare, staying quiet is not an option. It is not good for anyone, including those in power for us to act like nothing needs to change. We must speak up. We must act and change the country’s trajectory.”
He added: “And although it is a difficult time for the family, pray they are encouraged by the fact her legacy and contribution to Uganda lives on in her children.”