NRM BUSH WAR MEMORIES: Suspected to be Obote spy - Mugusha Muntu

RA 084 Mugisha Muntu went straight from the University to the bush. Even before he joined the anti-Obote struggle, he was engaging the government army in hide and seek games. He would rise from a bush-war senior officer to Major General and army commander.

Monday February 9 2004

I just got my jacket and he took me to a room in Nkrumah Hall. He linked me up with this Dampa, a former Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) soldier.

We walked to Mulago and linked up with others. Later, about seven of us went through Bwaise, Kawempe and Matugga areas, using village roads. We reached a point at around 5 p.m. and we sat until around 8 p.m. They didn’t want us to proceed to where the camp was during daytime.

We found that the first camp was a fighting unit of about 40. They were all armed. Another group had moved to Singo to establish a training unit.

We stayed there for about three days and we set out to Singo on foot, walking only at night. Going through Makulubita, we reached the home of the late Lutamaguzi on the third day.

We found there soldiers and recruits, some wounded; others dog-tired. The group that had gone to establish a training wing had been attacked by a Tanzanian unit at Bukomero and dispersed. They were in disarray.

Surprisingly, we never got scared. But we were waiting to see what was going to happen. All the units came together at Kyererezi near Kapeeka and planned afresh.

That is when they split all the fighting groups into units: Abdul Nasser, Mondrane, Nkrumah, Mwanga and Kabarega. I was assigned to Mondrane where we were about 40. We were given instructors to train in handling the gun, tactics and political education.

General conditions

Conditions in the bush were tough especially later. In the beginning, when we were in small units we used to link through networks and food was never a problem. We had to get used to walking long distances. Sometimes we were given overalls sent by some of the supporters. Later, when we started attacking police stations, we would just get police uniforms.

At night you would have a blanket or a tent and at times we would share. If you are walking at night and it rains you just continue. But you get used to the elements. The human mind and body adapt very fast. If your mind does not get destabilised, your body can adapt to any situation.

After training, we started having joint operations; but they also established new departments like political education, military intelligence, civil intelligence and finance.

I was, in the first batch, appointed a unit political commissar for Mondrane. I remember in the first operation we went to attack the military barracks in Semuto around August 1981, under the command of the late [Fred] Rwigyema.

Our unit was supposed to ambush any reinforcements on the road from Kanyange. We moved at night and laid the ambush in a forest near Semuto. But the ambush was detected and attacked. We retreated through the forests and camped somewhere for the whole day because we could not move during the day. Fortunately we did not suffer any casualties.

“Muntu, hang on!”

The second attack I was involved in, we went to attack Wobulenzi. We reached an opening where there was a football pitch. We didn’t know we were walking into an ambush. On the left, there was cover [UNLA troops] and on the right it was open field.

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