Friday February 7 2014

Profiles of NRA’s top 100 fighters

NRA combatants storm Kampala after outgunning Gen Lutwa’s

NRA combatants storm Kampala after outgunning Gen Lutwa’s UNLA soldiers on January 25 1986. 

By Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi and Risdel Kasasira

Revolutionaries. In part two of NRA’s top 100 fighters, Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi and Risdel Kasasira profile more fighters that started the war that brought President Museveni to power in 1986.

RO/00051 JO2 Sam Kakwezi (Deceased)

He died in Luweero in 1983 in a battle with UNLA. JO2 was an informal military rank in the bush. In the normal British military ranking system, which UPDF uses, JO2 is equivalent to a Lieutenant.

RO/00052 JO2 Enock Tumuhairwe (Deceased)

He was killed in the battle in Luweero.

RO/00053 Lt Col Sserwanga Lwanga (Deceased)

He died in 1995. Col. Lwanga was the UPDF Chief Political Commissar. Before his death, he commanded the 4th Division in northern Uganda.

RO/00054 Brig Peter Kerim (Deceased)

He died last year. He was deputy commander Reserve Force. Brig, Kerim was one of top NRA commanders in the bush and during the eventual takeover of Kampala in 1986. He commanded the 19th Battalion in the final stages on the war.

RO/00055 Lt Col Nekemia Mutebi (Deceased)

He died in the early 1990s and was posthumously given a medal in 2011.

RO/00056 Lt Col Edward Bunihizi (Deceased)

He helped establish NRA signals corps. When NRA captured its first radio signal, Bunihizi, formerly a member of the Uganda Army, trained NRA fighters how to use a signal radio. He died in the 1990s.

RO/00057 Maj Gen Levi Karuhanga (Active)

He is currently the commander of Reserve Force. He was the first commander of African Union forces in Somalia in 2007.

RO/00058 Lt Col Anthony Kyakabale (Exile)

He is in exile after falling out with the regime in 2001. He was one of the first 27 armed NRA fighters. Under the command of Gen Tumwine, Kyakabale was chosen to fire the only RPG they had in the ambush at Kyekumbi in Lwamata and hit a moving lorry that was carrying Tanzanian soldiers in February 1981.

RO/00059 Maj James Kalanzi (Deceased)

He died in the 1990s.

RO/00060 Lt Col John Kyatuuka (Deceased)

He died in the 1990s and was a member of the UPDF High Command. He was from Isingiro District and was one of the key commanders in the bush.

RO/00061 Lt Col Fred Mugisha (Deceased)

He commanded the troops that captured Lubiri Barracks. He was nicknamed “Kalampenge”, fearless fighter. He died in 1990s. He was a member of the UPDF High Command.

RO/00062 JO2 Paulino Nsubuga Mutalmu (Deceased)

He died in the bush and little is known about him.

RO/00063 Lt Col Dr Ronald Bata (Deceased)

He was NRA, now UPDF, director of health. He was working at Nakaseke Hospital before joining the bush in 1982. He treated many injured and sick NRA officers including President Museveni, the NRA rebel leader. He is dead.

RO/00064 Maj Enock Maganja (Deceased)

He died in 1990s. He was posthumously awarded the Luweero medal in 2011.

RO/00065 Maj Nathan Mweine Mzee (Deceased)

He was one of the 27 armed fighters who attacked Kabamba on February 6. He died in 1990s of natural causes.

RO/00066 Capt Peter Rwamukaga (Retired)

He joined the army in 1962 and was part of the 1962 Independence Guard of Honour. He is retired and lives a miserable life in Hoima. He recruited many Banyoro fighters into the NRA.

RO/00067 Lt Col Wilson Isoke Atwooki (Deceased)

He died in 1999 at Mulago hospital. Isoke had been under the chief of personnel and administration.

RO/00068 Capt Mugisha Kyeishe (Deceased)

He died in 1990s.

RO/00069 Lt Col Samson Mande (Exile)

He is in exile in Sweden after declaring war against the government of Uganda. He is a member of the UPDF High Command. He began his military career at the time a group of Ugandan exiles, backed by Tanzanian forces, were about to launch a final assault on Kampala to topple Idi Amin in 1979. He was attached to an intelligence agency where he remained until the December 1980 general elections when he joined Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM). Some say Mande was the UPM secretary in his Kebisoni Sub-county branch in Rubabo, Rukungiri District. During the NRA war, he commanded the 15th Battalion in the final stages of the war. He was arrested and later thrown into jail in Makindye Military Barracks in the 1990s.

RO/00070 Lt Col Silver Oyera (Deceased)
He died in 1990s of natural causes.

RO/00071 Maj Lodoviko Rwangira (Retired)

He is retired.

RO/00072 Maj Sam Kamukama (Deceased)

He died in early 1990s.

RO/00073 Brig Joram Kakari Rumwine (Active)

He is the UPDF Chief of Pension. He joined NRA in 1981. After the capture of power in 1986, Brig Rumwine was deployed in northern Uganda to fight rebels of the Holy Spirit Movement of Alice Lakwena.

RO/00074 Brig Sam Wasswa (Active)
He was deputy intelligence coordinator to Gen David Sejusa until last year when the office was disbanded following Gen. Sejusa’s fleeing into exile. He is now not deployed. Brig. Wasswa joined NRA in 1981 as a guide to the fighters.

RO/00075 Maj Willy Ouma Kafureeka (Deceased)

He died of natural causes in 1990s.

RO/00076 JO1 JPJM Bwiirizi (Deceased)

He died in the bush and little is known about him.

RO/00077 JO1 Yosia Kaggwa (Deceased)

He died in the bush.

RO/00078 JO1 Alex Tayebwa (Deceased)

He died in the bush in the 1980s. Little is known about him.

RO/00079 Lt Col Jackson Bell (Active)

He has been on Kateebe (not deployed) since 1990s. He joined the NRA in 1982. He has now retreated into fishing in Ggaba where he stays.

RO/ 00080 Lt Col Lauben Ikondere (Deceased)

Ikondere was one of the first 27 armed attackers of Kabamba Barracks at the start of the war. Also reputed as a fierce commander and daredevil of the NRA struggle, he died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the hands of Mai Mai militias in the early 2000s.

RO/00081 Brig Steven Rwabantu (Active)

Rwabantu is still active but is not deployed.

RO/00082 Lt Col Heathers Muhanguzi (Deceased)
He died in 1990s.

RO/00083 Brig Fred Kamwesiga (Deceased)

He died in 2000 after a short illness, but had not been deployed for long. By the time of his death, Gen. Saleh had employed him as the western region managing director of his company Divinity Union Limited. After capturing power, Brig. Kamwesiga was deployed in Lubiri, the first NRA division then.

RO/00084 Maj Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu (Retired)
Muntu’s entry into the anti-Obote struggle is one of the most intriguing. His father was a strong supporter of UPC and a personal friend of President Obote, but Muntu walked out of Makerere as soon as he sat his last examination and fled to the bush.

After the war, Muntu headed the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) before moving on to becoming one of the longest-serving army commanders (nearly nine years). Muntu fell out with Museveni over the latter’s desire to change the Constitution to remove term limits.

He was one of the founders of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party which he currently leads as president. Muntu also represented Uganda in the East African Legislative Assembly.

RO/00085 Maj Chris Bunyenyezi (Deceased)

Chris Bunyenyezi was an NRA fighter of Rwandan origin. In 1990 he, together with other Rwandan officers and men in the NRA, organised to return to their homeland through a resistance movement, the Rwanda Patriotic Front RPF, which attacked in October 1990. He, however, died shortly after in an ambush as he returned to the frontline from Uganda. He was reportedly killed because of his alleged involvement in the killing of Fred Rwigyema, the first commander of the RPF.

RO/00086 Lt Col Nathan Kyatuuka

He died in the 1990s. He is a brother of the late Lt. Col. John Kyatuuka.

RO/00087 Brig John Mugume (Active)

He is active and head of the Army shop. Mugume was the first commander of the Military Police under the NRA. He also worked as commander of the 5th Division.

RO/00088 Lt Col Steven Butamanya (Deceased)

He came from the Nsheka family of Rukungiri. Mzee Sheka, who also passed on recently, was a key supporter and recruiter for the NRA rebels and got a number of his sons, close relatives and even neighbours to join the struggle. Butamanya was a veterinarian training in Entebbe from where he joined the NRA in the early years of war. He died recently of natural causes.

RO/00089 Maj. William Byensi (Deceased)

Byensi also a veteran of the 1981 to 86 war is remembered for his fight against the Holy Spirit Movement rebels of Alice Lakwena in eastern Uganda. He was taken captive by the Lakwena rebels and was also arrested upon return for some mistakes he apparently committed. He died of natural causes.

RO/00090 Col Arthur Musinguzi (Retired)

Musinguzi retired from the army in 2005 after serving in various top positions including as chief financial controller as well as head of manpower and audit.

RO/00091 Maj Jero Bweishe Bwende (Deceased)

Bwende died in July 2001 at Mulago hospital. Before his death, Bwende contested unsuccessfully to represent Nakasake County in Parliament.

RO/00092 Lt Col Benon Tumukunde (Deceased)

A relative to the current Internal Affairs minister, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, Tumukunde commanded the Military Police in the late 1980s. He died in a motor accident.

RO/00093 Capt John Magara (Deceased)

Not much information was available about him.

RO/00094 Brig Geoffrey Kyabihende Taban (Active)

Still active and is the head of the cantonment unit eastern Uganda, based at Magamaga.

RO/00095 JO2 Ramathan Luburwa (Deceased)

He passed on.

RO/00096 Lt Col Philip Sonko Lutaya (Deceased)

Was a member of Fedemu, another rebel group based in Buganda. He was credited for driving a lorry packed with arms and munitions to the NRA in the early days of the war.

RO/00097 Col Nasuru Izaruku Amin (Deceased)

He was from the West Nile district of Yumbe, and was key in the negotiations that ended the West Nile Bank Front as well as the UNRF II rebellion. He died about six years ago at Mulago hospital of high blood pressure while still a serving officer.

RO/00098 Col Kizza Besigye (Retired)

He is possibly one of the most prominent of the top 100 for his opposition to his former commander. Dr Besigye had just graduated from medical school when he faced harassment from the government at the time and fled to exile in Kenya.

He got a job there but worked to find contacts with the rebels whom he later joined and became a field doctor, including as a personal doctor to the chairman and commander, Yoweri Museveni. After the war, Besigye became junior minister for Internal Affairs barely in his 30’s, he later was Chief of Logistics and Engineering. He represented the army in the Constituent Assembly together with Col Serwanga Lwanga.

In 1999, he fell out with the system after questioning the direction the Movement was taking. He said it had been derailed. Facing imminent court martial, Besigye announced plans to contest for presidency in the 2001 elections. He has since contested and lost two more times. He recently retired as founding president of the Forum for Democratic Change, the main opposition party.
RO/00099 Lt Col Badru Kiyingi (Deceased)

Kiyingi died after the NRA war.

RO/00100 Maj Herbert Itongwa Kikomeko (Deceased)

Itongwa died in exile in London in April last year. He had spent years in Europe, particularly in Denmark, where he fled after his failed attempt at armed rebellion against his former colleagues. Itongwa’s rebel group became notorious after it abducted Dr James Makumbi, who was at the time Minister for Health. Makumbi is now director of the Army Medical Bureau.

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