This is a colonel Samson Mande special picked from his exchanges on Facebook with other Ugandans. He answers almost all questions Ugandans have always wanted to ask him. Samson Mande is a member of UAH forum and a former UPDF officer.
ABOUT HIS UPCOMING BOOK
We got into the black book of the detractors of the revolution. We do not need permission to write books and a few ex-NRA have written. I am finalising the chapter 11 of mine “NO MORE TEARS OF JUSTICE” and you will soon read it. He laughs best who? In Alex Mukulu´s 40 yrs of banana he was asked why all x- Ugandan but M7 had no ears on their portrait. Remember what he said.
My book will be marketed worldwide for international readers; Ugandans may find it in other countries but since iam not writing it just for commercial purposes I may get people read it on internet. Plus, I believe that democracy, freedom of speech, expression are a temporally problem. We will gain our freedom soon. Who knows, I will launch the book in Uganda soon.
His rank in the army and about the course in Nigeria
If people knew me well they should have remembered that I hold a symbol PSC which I got from Nigeria´s senior division of the command and staff college, records available are that my grade was A+. We are still a handful who holds that symbol in the history of Armed forces in Uganda. I am reliably informed that not only one of all that followed me got an A rating like me. Most of those young officers u see are still struggling to get that symbol and some who have got it are my products.
If some of you had to be objective and broad, u should have seen how around all the modern armies and see how old are their commanders, even those that normally command complicated operations like in Iraq, Afghanistan etc. Do you think those countries have a shortage of young officers? I should just let people know that am not here to win people because am not in any contest.
Every Ugandan should have become a colonel if it was as easy as some of you think, as for professionalism, go to the Army records and look at certificates- I hold the highest, you will also learn from there that iam the one that wrote the Establishment of the Army, I from NRA to UPDF and that the little semblance of an army you see takes shape from there and continues to improve, on age limit which you are obsessed to. Several generals that run the Army today are older than me but nobody has thrown them out yet as some of you are suggesting. In any case, where does that leave General Yoweri-the oldest?
I had never been on’’ Katebe’’, I always held good appointments and offices. The only awkward situation was when I was on in detention for charges whose trial was never delivered to conclusion (justice delayed is justice denied).
I live on what I sweat or freeze for and not on any pay list for donors, I’m a donor instead. People should know that am not in hiding and if iam involved in criminal acts there is Interpol I should be delivered to justice.
Let me educate some of you that half of my family is Bahima and my best half for the last 23 years is a Muhima. And in fact my best man and best friend is a serving Muhima General, even M7 knows him, a few business associates I still have in Uganda are Bahima officers in UPDF.
I for one trained and promoted many Bahima officers such that some of you are at a loss if you say I hate Bahima officers because they were promoted. If you had enough information about the military discipline you would have known that it is an inspiration to train a soldier and you see him gaining a higher rank than yours. I think it’s the same with teachers- they are always very happy to say this engineer, this president this doctor was my pupil or student.
The man (Museveni) whose portrait some of you wear ate the revolution from its embryo, he is now doing the finishing touches of eating the revolution. If you knew the name he was baptised by NRA combatants in the Bush, you wouldn’t dare put that photo of his on your face for it stinks. Some of you want us to believe that you don’t know that NRA never died, it just changed name and state to UPDF?
Museveni was at one time in TZ for 8 years in the first liberation against Amin, he was in the same country iam during the second liberation, and did it stop him from tackling internal problems?
You don’t have to believe what I wrote about Tinyefunza, records are available, people in Gulu and the entire North can tell the story about Tinyefuza better than me,. I gave my testimony it’s your duty to go to the population and investigate.
These “allegations” as some of you have chosen to call them were not made recently and have been in public. Why has Afande Tinyefuza never refuted them or any other known authority.
We did not go to fight Idi Amini and Dr Obote in order to get ranks we fought that the country could overcome mayhem, corruption ,other forms of mismanagement, tyranny so that “all” Ugandans can have peace and prosper. At least that’s what we were told and that is what many of our comrades in the NRA died for. I see all the vices we fought against which we had literally stamped out of most parts of Uganda except in the North and East where it took so long and they are left a generation behind-cause being the partly what I highlighted in that small article. Could history be repeating itself because you have wiped out all officers who maintained the NRA revolution values and retained ‘’indisciplinados’’ like afande Tinyefuza , Patrick Amama Mbabazi or job seekers and looters?
The brutal methods afande Tinyefuza introduced in the North did not help Uganda to finish the on-going Northern conflict; he and several others that followed him got defeated by more over an altar boy Joseph Kony. Now I really need to finish this book quickly because it details answers to some of your simple questions. For instance it was civilians that used to appeal to me to save their people, their property whenever they were being molested, just because they had seen the difference between us and the new comers in the field.
Once again if some of you are just looking for the truth, why do you detest talking to the victims? For instance a gentleman like Hon Omara Atubo can show you torture marks inflicted on him by soldiers on afande Tinyefuza´s orders.
True no one should claim to be an angel, we should look into conduct of all armies; UA, UNLA, NRA, UPDF and all militias; LRA, ADF, FUNA, URF, UPA, UPDA, HOLLY SPIRIT etc all that used military power to solve political and diplomatic problems caused death, we all pulled triggers, exchanged fire and in the process shot and killed each other. That is common in a war situation and there is international law that governs and guides us on conduct during war situations. Those that did not follow the law should be delivered to justice or let justice be delivered to them. Like Operation North a scotched earth policy was full of crimes against humanity. Healing cannot be done if we put humility and truth aside.
Let me remind u that am not in a struggle for power, iam like millions of Ugandans who don’t see the freedom and justice that we fought for and the better future of our country, for that I don’t need guns, I know how painful it is to fight, people can only go fighting if you push them to the wall.
Truth Justice and Reconciliation commission(TRC)
Shouldn’t it be better for the country to set up a Truth Justice and Reconciliation commission like South Africa did after the Apartheid regime fell? Because u might end up being fed on accusations and counter accusations, my word against theirs and you´ll get more confused. Attempts for Northern Uganda people were made to have the ICC investigate both sides-LRA and UPDF in vain, only LRA is being investigated and that’s not fair but selective justice.
As far agriculture is concerned that’s my hobby am doing very well and helped several communities to modernise their own. In Rukungiri where I and my family have two farms: one in Kebisoni and the other in Kambuga, we have been supplying grade 1 heifers to many developing farmers in the districts around. In Buganda I initiated the Busunju growers’ society and paid my savings to kick-start the horticulture scheme around Mpigi, Mubende, and now horticulture is one of the best income earners in local and foreign exchange.
In Ngoma, I and my family have some of the best beef cattle and if u go to Ngoma and ask them about a road called Mande road they will show it to you. This is a road I built from my savings and it connected Ngoma trading centre to Biduku.
In Mbarara my farm is located on 14-15 miles on Kikagati road at a place called Kyeirumba where I have 10 acres of a banana plantation and very good cattle.
Death of Colonel Muzoora
On Muzoora´s case, we are waiting for the outcome of the investigations going on, it’s too early for anybody to say he embarrassed himself after all we don’t know exactly how he died. Suppose it turns out in future that he died for a credible cause? One’s terrorist can be another ones hero. Today’s hero can turn out to be tomorrow’s villain. Today’s terrorist can turn out to be tomorrow’s statesman- remember the Mandela case. Wasn’t he a convict yesterday what is he today. Let’s not be judgemental and let’s give ourselves time. Time will tell.
I have never stepped in Luzira prison not even to visit a prisoner. Some of you have called us robbers, rapists, terrorists, traitors, tribalists, whatever you wish but that not what we are. I have a humble track record, I have made history and Ugandans know me well, you have failed to push me into the garbage heap of history and perhaps that’s why you look at us as a threat and hate some of us because we have remained the opposite of what you represent.
I have never said am an angel because to error is human, a messiah and an authority on how to tackle Uganda´s problems. If you forget your past, you may not know where you are and where you are heading. History is very valuable in our development.
Some of you are being judgemental when you say my hands are not clean because that’s prejudice at work. In my small ways as an individual iam doing the best I can to participate in political, social and economic problems in Uganda and I have contributed allot to needy people, who would not have rather got education, some are very highly educated living and working in Uganda and several other countries abroad (mind you many of these are not my relatives). They even read these posts and wonder what wrong with you and more so some are Bahima.
I got information about the mishandling of 35th batalion which was mainly UFM. The official message was that they had refused instruction from the Brigade commander. They were surrounded and disarmed in a skirmish way that resulted into deaths. I am not well informed about what happened later, whether they were refused to perform funeral rites of those that died in the scamish. By then I had been removed from the North and posted to the school of infantry in Jinja.
Some of you said Kagame cannot let any colonel run away but he has several who run away and are making allot of noise against him. Kayumba is charged of treasonable acts, that he was throwing grenades in Kigali, Furuma who is in the US and General Habyarimana in Switzerland on similar charges. People can always escape from any prison.
Northerners in NRA
Yes we had northerners in the NRA throughout to mention a few; Dr Bata, Maj. Ondoga, Lt Col Dradiga, Lt.Col Toyem, Brigadier Nasur Izaruku-he actually brought in with him about 200 fighters from West Nile. Definitely I participated in many operations against legitimate targets and will be willing to appear before the TRC if someone thinks I committed crimes. Remember even F W de Clark appeared be4 the RSA TRC he is now free and a Nobel Prize winner.
Luwero Bush war & Kabale Bank operations
As for Kabale bank operation during the struggle, yes I led the raid, I signed for all the money I commandeered and delivered it all the NRA high command. Of the hundreds of banks that the NRA took money from its only me that documented what I took and this enabled paying back of the money back to Kabale bank after the war. That should show you the difference between officers’ discipline and way of handling operations. Some committed crimes some didn’t.
I commanded the operation that commandeered money from the currency centre, I know how much there was in the bank and how much we took. Records are there in the bank and my signature on. I took with me Hon Bright Rwamirama(now minister) to help me in the internal procedures, he is the one who filled the ledger. Some people in the bank had advised I shouldn’t sign so that they too can take some money and even take some to my parents. Listen to what I told them “NRA are not a bunch of thieves i am taking this money and when we capture government we shall bring it back”. I remember the BBC caught up with M7 and asked him whether the NRM was not a gang of thieves since we are “robbing banks”?
He comfortably replied to them “how can a robber go to a bank and sign for the loot he has taken. He told them “these were public resources under our control since we had taken effective control of the area from the Junta”. If Major Kabareebe went and took money from another bank iam not aware and he should tell. I know that many operations like that took place. None of those commanders signed for the money they took from banks.
If the money in question is that I secured from the Kabale B.O.U Currency centre, I did my job as an operation commander, signed for the money and delivered it to the NRA high command intact for onward administration. I am reliably informed that that money was duly returned to the centre after the war and you can verify this. I want all Ugandans to know that we were by then the government in charge of the National Assets in the Western Uganda since we had taken over control of the area from the JUNTA led by the late Gen. Tito Okello Lutwa. Do some of you want to tell me that the JUNTA did not use the B.O.U assets in the regions they control?
You should perhaps have started by asking me if it was necessary for me to go to the bush, if it was a legitimate cause and if the operations I led were legitimate. I will answer your question directly; I led legitimate operations and they were necessary, I have a history of rejecting wrong orders and I never appeared anywhere near unit tribunal or court martial for breaking the code NRA of conduct during both the struggle against Idi Amini and Obote (R.I.P)
There were incidents where individual NRA commanders committed mistakes and killed innocent civilians. While we punished some of them harshly the victims have not been compensated. There are also several that went away with it, while isolated incidents of massacres due to poor judgement of commanders manifested. When you put the TRC in place don’t be surprised to see residents of Luwero coming up to accuse the NRA of such crimes and demanding justice. However, the huge massacres were really conducted by UNLA. When it comes to the innocent people that died in cross fire between NRA and UNLA they are very many, don’t u think they deserve justice too? And let’s not confine ourselves on one area, one conflicts, do justice to all Ugandans then you have a nation, do selective justices then u scatter Uganda into pieces.
There was no policy to kill civilians but what would one call a method of work employed in all units, not written on paper as a policy, not mentioned as a crime in the code of conduct but that method could have been used to kill hundreds of people without taking them to any court of law? KIPINGAMIZI KIFE . My conscience tells me that many people died in cold blood, they left behind children and relative who don’t understand why their dear ones died and UNLA, NRA, UFM are responsible. DONT FORGET THOSE THAT DIED IN NAKULABYE MASSACRE 1964, IN LUBIRI 1966, Idi Amini rule, the ITENDERO MASSACRE OF MOSLEMS 1979, MUKURA MASSACRE, OMBACI MASSACRE, ACHOLI PII, just to mention a few. These are not only the ghosts that haunt our national unity but a timing bomb if the truth continues to be hidden. We have to start diffusing the bomb otherwise we are leaving our children in a worse future than some of us have lived in.
It was a cocktail of ideas, Liberators, power hungry politicians, communists, capitalists, federalists, refugees, revengists etc. The end justifies the means: At the beginning of an action I might not be able to determine whether that action is morally right or wrong, but when the morally right goal is successfully achieved, then the steps which led to it must be morally right too.” Machiavellian principle may answer the question. Unfortunately, it seems each grouping in the cocktail has its own end.
Both the NRA and UNLA used land mines. All NRA units had experts in laying mines, Luwero triangle was large and many operations of that nature were conducted and hundreds of mines laid. it’s hard for me to know who laid a land mine where, a thorough investigation can be conducted to know perhaps which unit operated where when, even if some particles of the mine that was used were kept for forensic investigations it’s going to be difficult to know whether the mine that hit your relative was UNLA or NRA since we shared the same stores of arms any way.
I also know that an entire bus “Ssebyala´s bus hit a land mine in 1982″ and am not sure victims were compensated. These are accumulated bills for the TRC to handle.
NRA had people to protect from UPC also, had politicians fighting for power and had other people revenging what UPC did to them in Nakulabye and Lubiri in 1964 and 1966.
We did not choose to go to the bush. It was not a picnic it was a matter of life and death. We were forced and painfully pushed into the bush. Where was the nation when we were being molested and pushed to the bush? The nation didn’t protect us from that pain, we found ourselves there and we had to survive by all means necessary. In such a situation allot of things happen
It’s not only in Luwero that people got killed and it’s not after the NRA went to the bush that people started getting killed . This happened well before NRA went to the bush and More over the first bullet against Obote 2 regime were fired in Luzira by UFM. Maj. Obama who was killed in Kampala during the election time, DP lost a parliamentary candidate in Kasese, in the Army a number of soldiers were rounded up and killed in Makindye and Bugolobi, Haji Mbiringi, late Rwancwende, Sam Karuhanga were killed in cold blood in Mbarara. There was pandemonium all over the country targeting political opponents of the Obote 2 regime. In Kasunganyanja Tooro, there is a mass grave of DP and UPM supporter that were killed under the orders of Captain Opeto (later nicknamed Pilato)
Many people went to the bush for fear of their dear lives; the issue was not whether UPC was elected democratically or not, the mayhem, pandagari, and daylight robbery made many seek refuge in the bush. Definitely some opportunists took advantage of that to recruit people to fight for other motives. If the regime had not mishandled people it would have been difficult for anyone to wage war successfully.
What did we achieve when we went to the bush that can inspire me to do the same? I am in exile, it’s a little better. I went to the bush to protect myself from being killed in cold blood. It was painful and costly to me and many Ugandans. Today iam protecting myself in a cheaper way.
In a war situation all sorts of people take advantage. The ones that stole more were the UNLA , they even unroofed iron sheets and took them.
My primary objective during the war was survival. Thanks to the bush. I didn’t go in order to amass wealth plus, the time I spent working in government I earned well, was able to do my personal business and get established, i am satisfied. I know how to make billions whether am in government or not. My major problem is exile and seeing suffering masses because of the high levels of corruption. This leaves me wondering what our brothers and sisters died for. Those that died trying to put an end to the suffering of the masses.
I think the best way out of the puzzle is to stop the blame game because everyone has good reason to blame the other. Let us go for National dialogue and form a consensus on how to the country should proceed on political issues. The TRC will help to put the blame game to a conclusion, let bygones be bygones and unite to build our country.