In Summary
  • Split. It may be recalled that when first chairman of NRM Yusuf Lule passed away, there was a serious drift among those of us who supported the Movement as to whether comrade Yoweri Museveni or veteran Samson Kisekka should succeed as leader of the NRM to steer the country to victory in the protracted civil war.

I have enjoyed reading the first issue of Veteran Affairs. The editorial hails it as targeting the youth, hard work, determination, honesty, patience, success and not failure.
As a first issue, it is lopsided. It failed to capture the words of the managing editor, Mr Tom Kayongo, when he cites that nations we admire today had ordinary men and women like you who made sacrifices in the name of freedom of their people.

Those words capture the theme of what veterans is about. President Museveni and 26 veterans who were the initiators of the armed struggle in the early 1980s were not yet even soldiers. President Museveni was a novice revolutionary. Most of them except one or two were civilians.

The revolution had already attracted thousands, if not millions, of other Ugandans. The modern Oxford Dictionary defines a veteran as a person who has a lot of experience in a particular area or activity.

Therefore, one can be a veteran in politics, education, economics, public law, technology and military affairs to mention but a few. In fact, the dictionary places military veterans not in the first, second but in the distant fifth place as examples of what veteran means.

We, therefore, contend that the people named in the Veteran Affairs are only part of all veterans who started the NRA/M campaign and won the war.
Nevertheless, these groups seem less important when it comes to all the veterans that have participated, moulded and built Uganda for what it is today.

Many of them were in the first NRM Cabinet in 1986 which actually shaped the destiny of the Uganda of today.
It may be recalled that when first chairman of NRM Yusuf Lule passed away, there was a serious drift among those of us who supported the Movement as to whether comrade Yoweri Museveni or veteran Samson Kisekka should succeed as leader of the NRM to steer the country to victory in the protracted civil war.

An important meeting was called and I had the honour to participate in it. We were led by the late Eriya Kategaya. The other participants were the late Ben Matogo and ambassador Joseph Tomusange. After a heated debate we persuaded the members who supported Kisekka to back Yoweri Museveni. That is how he became President.

We used constitutional principles of succession to win our argument. We were right. Those who had opposed but were eventually persuaded to accept those principles have no less validity to be equally called NRM veterans.

Following several Cabinet meetings in 1986, we had to seriously decide whether as revolutionaries we should pursue the policies and methods similar to those of Cuba and eliminate saboteurs of the revolution and economy by executing them if necessary or whether to follow a pragmatic approach we judged to be right for our country Uganda.

We chose the latter course which, in my opinion was correct. It was Cabinet which formulated the way forward and not merely the NRM historicals.
This first issue discusses the rise of the NRA armed struggle and ministerial profiles of today but sadly, misses the people and factors that shaped Uganda.

Uganda’s economy was in shambles in 1986 when the NRM acquired power. Sadly, the articles included in this issue omit to mention barter trade which resuscitated the Uganda’s economy from 1986 to confidently lead the country to adopt privatisation and capitalism.

Prof Kanyeihamba is a retired Supreme Court judge.
gwkany@yahoo.com