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 had been carrying an RPG for the late Lumumba and I had just handed it back to him. We entered the ambush and they started firing. I think the RPG that Lumumba had saved those of us who survived that day. We suffered several casualties. I think we had four or five dead.

I was wounded. My gun was shot and it stopped operating. Its metal hit me in the left leg and came out from behind but fortunately it did not break my bone. And then I was shot in the chest. But the ambush had been fought off and dispersed; otherwise, I think I would be history.

We collected our colleagues who were dead and put them somewhere in a ditch, got the guns and started moving back. I had lost a lot of blood; I was very weak. I was feeling totally exhausted.

I remember one of the commanders – I think it was Lumumba – came and told me: “Muntu hang on”. And I think that made me … Anyway, I think it was by the grace of God that I managed to make it.

Had I lost consciousness, that would have been it. Because we knew that you could not tie down the troops. That was agreeable to everyone. Fortunately, we reached a point and they got a bicycle, sat me on the career and kept pushing.

We arrived at Mondrane very early in the morning and we were there for two days when they were still trying to make contact to bring me to Kampala.

I was brought through Kawempe to Kisekka Hospital where Dr. Namara treated me for one month. When I had healed, I went back to Matugga. Later, I served as an intelligence officer, director of civil intelligence and director of military intelligence.

Most scary moment

The most fearful moments for me were out of the bush. Like there was a time I was coming through Kampala in 1983. I had been sent from the bush on a mission in Nairobi.

I came here to Kampala with Brigadier [Matayo] Kyaligonza to have an identity card made. We made contact with the chief of the fire brigade and then went back to Nansana, which was the operational base.

Once I got the identity card, I came back to Kampala, slept in Kasubi, and then they organised for me to go through the border. Those to me were the most scary moments, walking through Kampala and then on the way back, coming through the border. The feeling is that you are exposed; you are not armed; you could be captured. You are like a sitting duck, totally defenceless. And you know that the moment you are arrested – the torture!

In the bush it was different because you were armed. If you are involved in fighting, either you are shot and you die, or you fight and you survive.

What kept me going

I knew the struggle would succeed. There is a friend of mine who says that I am an eternal optimist, and I am. That kept me hopeful.

Secondly, I could see the successes even at a small level – the ambushes; attacking government units; increasing the number of guns; the enthusiasm of the new recruits; the way the population was so committed by hiding us and not leaking any information to the enemy. Some of us believed that we would grow as the government army’s strength diminished.

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