The former Army Commander Major General Mugisha Muntu has called on President Yoweri Museveni to stop personalizing the army noting that they didn’t fight for an individual but for a cause of liberation the country.
Gen. Muntu said this during the funeral service of the fallen Maj. Gen. Benon Biraaro who succumbed to cancer. He tasked Minister for Karamoja Affair, Eng. John Byabagambi to pass on the president.
“I have heard Gen. Museveni, the Commander in Chief mention and keep saying my army. I don’t know what is at the back of his mind when he says that because it could be two things, one it could be part of physiological warfare and if it is that then I would understand,” he said
Recounting on what transpired during bush war, Muntu said when they were in National resistance army (NRA), they were not personal army, and they were a national army and were fighting to ensure that it becomes a national army, it was a transition.
He said when it turned to UPDF as it is now, it is a national army and “I did everything possible to ensure that it comes into reality because if that didn’t come to reality it would be unfortunate for them who have served, died and living that would live in the situation where a person thinks that we could ever fight for an individual”.
He warned serving UPDF officers and urged them to use their skills and knowledge and access before taking action.
“The Generals who are here in uniform, we served, we were in uniform and left. I told people when retiring from the army that am joining politics and on the side of opposition.” He said
Below are his remarks
I come here to morn Gen. Biraaro but also to celebrate. We had a bad journey, we had issues of different intellectuals but that is part history.
I think one thing people notice is a bit of confusion is for people to look at this struggles as if it is separate. Struggles in life are never separate. Struggles are continuous process since creation, so at times you hear bush war and others. Struggles continue since society came into being. It is part of human nature. The only difference in struggles is in the choices we make as human beings who get involved in the struggles and I salute Gen. Biraaro for the choice he made.
First going to the bush, by God’s grace we took power, when we took power, then there were other choices we had to make. As we stand here with the benefit of the hind side it enables us to realize that perhaps what took us to the bush, the objectives were not similar, then it is part of human nature because it is the choice because you can clearly see that when we went and when we came back there are two types of intentions that guided the different of us.
It seems that some looked at us taking power from Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) government as an end in itself and then there were those who knew that the moment we take power, then that is the beginning of the struggle. We went to the bush for a cause that is the route for Gen. Biraaro and he stack on it.
Truth must be spoken about, because it is not easy. Joy Biraaro I thank you and the children because I know getting married to people who would walk to the right path is not easy. He hang in there, you hang in there with him. Thank you may God bless you. Children may at times not understand, Gen. Biraaro may not live much in the world, we all need physical things in life. They may not be much you leave but there is one thing left for you, let you be proud in it.
May be at this point in time you may not be able to realize it but as you grow you will realize it, ‘a name’ by God’s grace you will come to realize it.
Physical things perish, you may have a very beautiful car and it burns, building can go down and rebuild them but building a name is very tough. So whatever challenges you may go through. I thank God that Gen. Biraaro accepted Jesus Christ in his life as a personal savior.
We met last year at Pan African meeting and by that time he had just come from India. I didn’t know then that there was a recurrence. Some time back I bumped into Mr. Tayembwa at a certain Café and he told me that the Gen. Biraro is not feeling good, you need to go and see him. By God’s grace I was able to go there and had a chat with him.
He gave me his testimony, I know whatever trials he was going through and the pain, he has gone when he was at peace, no regret, nothing and it is very-very important. It is not easy for us who are in the uniform to accept Jesus as your personal savior. It is a challenge, we are soldiers, we fight, it is what we were trained to do, and we want sort-out things at an individual, institution levels. When you are trained you go through tough conditions and you believe that you are the one solving issues, I was there and I know it.
Gen. Tumwine is not here, I have never told him this. He used to preach to me before I got saved, every time he preached to me he said you need to get Jesus Christ as your savior. In my time there used to be a placard in this Church showing footsteps in 1998. That led me to start bible study with navigators and within one year, I had accepted Jesus as my savior. The more you know God, the more you get deep in Christ, the more you get to understanding things in life and you go through a journey of being humble.
Then that brings an idea of confusion because when we look at people who are humble we think that is weakness. When you go through that process that is when you start understanding that being humble is strength under control.
As you have heard what Benon has gone through, the whole team that went that day, because they went in June 1982, I had been in the bush since March 31,1981. In my group we were about 11 there only nine serving, In Biraaro’s group its only one person so it is along story.
What I thank God for character of Benon, is the testimony up in the public, a number of them are giving him a credit. You Know most of us who went to the bush are not popular guys. When you talk about the bush, there are many people who want to speak. It has its own history that is not a story for today. But to find people crediting Benon, people who have met in different places from different persons, from different countries, from different religious groups that is what it means to seek more of a character and doing good things.
Am not the only one following people’s arguments on social media particularly about Gen. Biraaro? It gives me hope that we may not be the most popular (those who went to the bush), people are getting tired of it since we have thrown it in people’s faces but when they do that about someone who went to the bush, it shows you that there is hope. There can be recovery, you know the physical things that we cannot touch, things of justice, loving one another, fairness, it is process and with God’s grace we will get there.
The Generals who are here in uniform, we served, we were in uniform and left. I told people when retiring from the army that am joining politics and on the side of opposition. The political things we are in dis agreement with president Museveni. He believes in what he does and we believe in what we do, we will sort out that politically.
For the Generals in uniform, I don’t want to be presumptuous or stand here and seem like giving you advise, I have been there (UPDF) and know what it means but I just keep praying for you and those who believe in prayer, pray for yourself. People who don’t believe in God you are highly trained and highly educated you have capacity to make analysis, pray to God that you get wisdom and courage to manage this country through any transition that could happen, change happens, there people who think that change does not happen, it is a fundamental odd of life, it is a law of nature. It is a spiritual law, factor of life, nobody is going to stop change when it happens.
I speak for myself, I don’t speak for people in Uniform. At times people think am in touch with Gen. Museveni, the last time I spoke with him one on one was in 2005 at Nakasero State House. I don’t burden anybody in uniform to carry the message I would like to send. I was looking for Minister of Defence, don’t see him here. I don’t see any other minister so the burden falls on you the Minister for Karamaoja region Eng. John Byabagambi.
I have heard Gen Museveni, the commander in chief mention and keep saying my army, my army, my army, please with respect, I want you to carry this message because I don’t know what is at the back of his mind when he says that because it could be two things, one it could be part of physiological war fare, it happens, if it is part of physiological warfare by the time you get your opponent they are already flattened physiologically. If it is that I would understand.
Power can make us do strange things in life and that I would understand it. What I would not understand that I would like to ask is that whatever points he feels is comfortable he needs to enlighten us, those of us who fought, who have been in uniform at least for me I ask that when I went in the bush I didn’t go to fight for an individual but I fought for the cause.
So when were we in National Resistance Army (NRA), we were not personal army, we were a national army and we were fighting to ensure that it becomes a national army, it was a transition. when it turned to UPDF as it is now, it is a national army and I did everything possible to ensure that it comes into reality because if that didn’t come it reality it would be unfortunate for us who have served, dead and living that would live in the situation where a person thinks that we could ever fight for an individual, I hope you will be courageous to pass on that information. May God Bless you all.