Museveni and Kagame: Shared history but different personalities.

By Didas Gasana

In 1980, Museveni, then vice chairman of the military commission was arrested at an UNLA roadblock in Kireka, Kampala. With him was his wife Janet and son Muhozi, then 6 years old. Although Museveni and Janet’s books don’t mention where they were heading to, they had gone to pick their car in a certain garage in Kireka, according to Muhozi. Also with them was Late Arthur Kasasira and Lawrence (both FRONASA soldiers).

Worried that they had not returned in time, Fred Rwigema combed Museveni’s friends’ homes in desperate search of his commander. With no trace, Fred went to Nile Mansions (now Serena Hotel) to check if Museveni may be in office but in vain. There, a waitress tipped Fred that she had been serving top UNLA Generals and she heard them boasting about how they had succeeded in arresting Museveni and how they shall kill him in pleasure.

Rwigema rushed to Commandant Caleb Akandwanaho (Salim Saleh & Museveni’s brother) and off they set for a search and rescue operation (whether alive or corpses). When they got to the roadbloack, M7 and co were sitted down in the bush and Saleh asked the soldiers manning the road block who those people sitted in the bush were. They responded: “It is Museveni. We have arrested him”. He replied in acceptance. Fred and Saleh moved forward for few meters, turned back the car to the roadblock, all dashed out in a second, pulled out their guns, demanded their release, with their fingers on a trigger.

That is how Late Fred and Saleh saved Museveni’s life in one of the instances where Museveni was facing death in own eyes.

Col. Dr. Kiiza Besigye, as M7’s personal physcian, saved the latter’s life numerous times, as well as other senior commanders’.

To cut a long a long story short, Museveni later developed misunderstandings with both Saleh and Fred over how to handle the question of Banyarwanda officers resentment among the Baganda from as far as 1987 till 1990. He later developed political problems with Col. Besigye. As of now, Besigye and Museveni’s former army commander Gen. Mugisha Muntu, are Uganda’s strongest opposition personalities, doing their politicking inside Uganda.

In a certain southern neighbor, a former director of military intelligence during the war (who later on rose to become the army chief of staff), Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, singularly saved Paul Kagame’s life twice in two of the most dangerous operations that saw Paul Kagame left with no option but to take cover in a banana plantation when the rest had retreated. First on 22 December 1990 at Nkana and second on 23 December 1990 at Kanyantanga. Determined to rescue his comrade and commander, Gen. Nyamwasa risked all in a Fred-Salim like search and rescue mission. Luckily, he succeeded in saving Kagame’s life.

Across tours world over in search for arms and political support; Seth Sendashonga’s home in Nairobi was Kagame’s overnight adress (Sendashonga was working for UN Habitat, stationed in Nairobi). For his travel expenses, Assinapol Rwigara and Tribert Rujugiro paid a larger share.

Later, Kagame and Kayumba had political disagreements. Threatened with death, Nyamwasa fled Kagame’s Rwanda to South Africa. Four attempts on his life sanctioned by his former commander have so far been made. Todate, Kayumba is under 24/7 protection by South African security detail. His brother Col. Rugigana Ngabo is incarcerated in Rwanda.

Sendashonga, after disagreements with Kagame, too, fled Rwanda. He was later gunned down in Nairobi. Rwigara would later die in a mysterious road accident allegedly masterminded by Kagame’s killer squads. His widow and daughter are in Kigali’s maxmum security prison for crimes common to any political dissident in Rwanda. The list goes on.

Moral of the story: Explaining the difference between Humanity and Inhumanity. In everyday life, blessed one is having a friend like Fred, Saleh or Kayumba; who can risk their life to save you. Blessed one is having a friend like Museveni who, despite political disagreements, remains a human being. Cursed you are having the opposite of Museveni, and it is a double tragedy having an an inhuman as your president.