Dr. Henry Gombya,
I am glad to have read your clarification about the fateful day on which our dear compatriot and freedom fighter, Dr. Andrew L. Kayiira was assassinated. I believe that many like myself who have been confused about the matter will focus on the questions you raised in your clarification, hopefully the killers will be brought to justice. It is about 20 years ago when I suddenly declined your invitation while I was in London, and had to hurry back to Denmark. I conveyed the following mail to the UAH forum explaining the troubles I had to endure during my missions of good will, but hindered by rumours.
The moment I learned about the rumour mentioned in the following mail to the UAH forum, I was concerned by what agony you would be in, hearing the same rumour after my departure. Being from Western Uganda, I find it difficult to interact freely with other fellow Ugandans who always suspect that we, from Western Uganda are used by the UG government to spy on our compatriots. Dr. Gombya, I believe that you remember my perfomance in the Conference we attended together in Stockholm. After that I have been called a ” Traitor” by those who say that the government in Uganda is, ” Our Government”, simply because I come from Western Region of Uganda. There are certain foreign governments which in my view, are accomplices in Human Rights violations by the Uganda government.
As I write here, I want you and the UAH forum members to know that I am a victim of such accomplice against which I am still fighting. I wish you very well and May God Bless Uganda.
Byaruhanga, Jonny Rubin.
Fellow Ugandans, Firstly, I thank Mr. Mulindwa Edward for taking time to clarify the situation at home about which I was very confused. I am also grateful to many participants of the UAH forum who share their thoughts, simply in search for a solution to the situation in our country
In February, 1986 about a month since the NRA/M took power, I telephoned a friend in Kampala and asked him how the situation was. He told me that many people were rejoicing to see the Okellos out, ” for they were convinced that the Okellos were an extension of the Obote regime.” He also told me to mark his words when he said that, ” Museveni is here to stay.” What actually surprised me was that him (my friend) being a Lugbari from West Nile practically the people associated with Idi Amin, a person Museveni loathes very much, could speak so passionately and affirmatively about him. I guess, like many other Ugandans I prayed that the new government would restore the rule of Law and Democracy that were nolonger recognizable in Uganda.
By 1989, The Organisation of Ugandans in Sweden was practically the only voice of Ugandans in Scandinavia. There was also The Uganda Human Rights Activists in Scandinavia ( UHRAS ) led by Mr. Lance Sera Muwanga, based in Sweden. The latter was a splinter group from the original UHRAS which was led by Mr. Ibrahim Mukiibi, then based in Denmark. The organisation split when it was evident that Mr. Mukiibi was increasingly getting closer to the NRA/M, an act which was seen as compromising the organisation’s impartiality. As if to prove their argument, Mr. Mukiibi was appointed by the NRA/M government as Uganda’s Foreign Minister.
By mid 1989, the situation in Uganda was still unpredictable. Ugandans in Denmark were scattered and did not have any organisation to unite us like our compatriots in Sweden. I learned that the former Ugandan Minister of Culture and Community Development, Professor Dani Wadada Nabudere was lecturing at an Internation College in Helsingor, Denmark. I felt that the former Minister with his administrative experience could advise me on how I could form an organisation to bring our people, Ugandans together. I telephoned the College and the Professor was very glad to invite me for a discussion. The following day I went to the College to meet Prof. Dani W. Nabudere. I was accompanied by Mr. Jeffrey Abola, a former policeman in Uganda. Prof. Nabudere was happy and willing to advise us on how we could function as a non political organisation that would bring all Ugandans together irrespective of any affiliation.
He emphasized that not only were Ugandans scattered, but all the Africans were and seemed to have lost any sense of direction. I told him that I was determined to found the organisation. My colleague, Mr. Jeffrey Abola chose to establish an organisation which he called, ” The League of Elders.” I travelled to Sweeden, Germany and the U.K to meet as many Ugandans as possible, for a better knowledge on how we could found a non political organisation.
While in UK I was invited by Mr. Omwony Ojwok who explained to me how the Uganda Community Relief Association (UCRA) based in UK functioned. I met many Ugandans including a former Ugandan Ambassador to the UN, then living in Croydon. While preparing to meet Mr. Henry Gombya, (a former BBC correspondent in Uganda) I met a group of Ugandans in town who shocked me. I heard them speaking Luganda and I decided to greet them in Luganda. I told them that I was enjoying a walk in town. ” Wegeendereze nno, twaagafunye nti nno Museveni yaweereza mbega mukibuka okunoonya Gombya.” ( Be careful, we heard that Museveni has sent a spy in town to look for Gombya.) ” Byaruhanga ry’erinya”. (Byaruhanga is the name). We had not even introduced ourselves, I guess it is the natural happiness that exists when Ugandans meet. I Immediately, excused myself pretending to hurry for the train, but told them that we ”shall” meet at the UCRA meeting.
Mr. Henry Gombya was looking forward to meeting me, I believe because the Ugandans I had met in Sweeden, Germany and UK obviously knew about my mission and could have informed him not to fear me. However, I decided not to meet Mr. Gombya and hurried back to Denmark. In Denmark many concerned Ugandans including Mr. Francis W. Bwengye, Professor A. Baalam C.D. Kweri, Mr. Jesse Mutenga ( former Diplomat) often came to my residense for a chat whenever they happened to come to Copenhagen. Another shock was when I went to the Copenhagen Central Railway Station. I usually went there to buy International newspapers, especially the New African. I passed by a group of Africans seated on a bench inside the hall, as I rushed to and fro’ looking for where to buy certain items. I noticed that the Africans on the bench looked at me with some curiosity, so that I stoped to greet them. I told them that I come from Uganda and with much pleasure they said that they too were from Uganda. Realizing that they were new in town, I told them that I was also new and was looking around for Ugandans to advise me how I could easily get asylum. We spoke Luganda and I told them that I was from Masaka. This I said in case they noticed probably an accent which was not typical of Baganda from Kampala. They said that they were new and were living in an Asylum Applicants’ Centre north of Copenhagen. Before we parted they cautioned me, ” Twaawulidde nti nno wano e Copenhagen waliyo mbega wa Museveni. Bagamba nti oyo gemaaso era gemattu ga Museveni. Erinya rye ye Byaruhanga, oba Munyolo oba Munankole, tetumanyi”. (We heard that there is a Museveni’s spy in Copenhagen. It is said that this one is the eyes and ears of Museveni. His name is Byaruhanga, whether he is a Munyoro or a Munyankore, we don’t know.) I thanked them for the caution and left.
Several weeks later, the Organisation of Ugandans in Sweden, I think it was in conjunction with the Uganda Human Rights Activists in Scandinavia (UHRAS) organized a Conference on Uganda. The Uganda government would be represented by the UG Ambassador to North Europe, based in Denmark H.E Mrs. Edith Grace Sempala. I was one of the main speakers. We were all asked by the Conference Chairman to be as honest and fearless as possible. To my shock again, a senior member and Official of the Organisation of Ugandans in Sweden stood up and said that he did not trust me and that he had reports suggesting that I was a Uganda government spy. I almost collapsed. I sat there wondering who could have spread such false and dangerous rumours about me. Mr. Lance Sera Muwanga stood up and said that he had me followed for a year and found out that I was not a spy. He added that in fact I did not even belong to any party or organisation and assured everyone that I was harmless. Years have passed and there is still no credible opposition to the NRA/M in sight. The FDC which seemed to attract many people has problems of their own, apart from the rumour that it is actually NRM in disguise.
My question is how can anyone dispute my friend’s affirmation that, ” Museveni is here to stay”? Twenty three years in power and still counting. Ugandans don’t trust each other as we used to do. When your name is recognized as from Western Uganda, the topic of discussion changes. I used to hear a slogan, ” Divide and Rule.” Another one, ” United we stand.” We are not united as I can see and we don’t seem to know what we urgently need to do in order to have a system appreciated by the majority. A system that enables the citizens to elect the leaders that would ensure all of us to live in harmony. As long as the people of Uganda are not harmonious, I don’t see any other way to keep the country intact.
Byaruhanga, Jonny Rubin.