The Luwero Triangle population supported the NRM bush war:For the NRA, survival was a lot more than merely being in circulation

I think the most accurate point of reference for assessing the extent to which the NRA relied on Luwero for manning is not January 1986, but December 1984/January 1985 when the transition from guerrilla to conventional operations was effected, with the opening of the Western front. At that point of expanding the zone of operations to beyond Luwero, anything up to 70% of the membership of the NRA may have been Baganda. Note that there were also other Buganda-based rebel groups like Fedemo and UFM. The important point is not that they were under NRA command, but that they were also ranged against the UPC government. In anycase, they all ended up in NRA eventually. Note that the “Western” component of the NRA shot up from early 1985, when the Luwero phase was finished.

In any case, the Luwero Triangle was not exclusively Luwero in geographical terms. It spanned across the central zone of the cattle corridor (Singo, Kiboga, Buwekula, Bulemezi, North Bugerere) and this zone is extremely multiethnic and most of it is not part of the Buganda heartland. It is a zone of transhumance for the nomadic pastoralists many of whom are Bahima, and at the time, Batutsi.

If you look at the census figures for Buganda just before independence, Baganda were a mere 54.9%, Banyarwanda were 11.8%, Barundi were 7.5%, Banyankore were 4.8%, Banyoro were 3.9%; the rest were 17.1%…including the Nubians etc as Mr Mulindwa may very well know (read census report 1959, P.36). So, what would be wrong with having Banyarwanda being represented in NRA in its Luwero phase of existence?…Of course I am also aware of your mix up between Banyarwanda and Rwandese….

Worse still, the Luwero triangle is not part of what are called the “Home counties”: Mawokota, Busujju, Kyaggwe, Busiro, Buddu, Butambala, Gomba…that are inhabited by majority ethnic Baganda.

However, in a situation of insurgency, it is never hard to grasp the fact that the side that wins the hearts and minds of the local populace is the side that survives in a zone of operations. This the point that apologists of UNLA savagery continue to play ostrich with. Similarly, the apologists of LRA brutality would want to make the world believe that UPDF/NRA atrocities in the North of the country are the cause of LRA’s failure to attract local support….and to seek base in Central Africa etc while the UPDF still remains in Central Northern Uganda.

For the NRA in Luwero, survival was a lot more than merely being in circulation: it was all round… it spanned all aspects of sustenance: manning, feeding, concealing, intelligence, transportation etc. You do not terrorise a population and expect to remain embedded amongst them for any reasonable period of time. Come 1986, the NRA was still operating in Luwero and the UNLA had lost out comprehensively. Communities do not sacrifice for/shelter armed groups that terrorize them. Ask Mr Joseph Kony.
In any case, questions of how belligerents treat populations are judged in terms of the endstate of operations: when the dust settles, on whose side is the general populace? For Luwero, it is a waste of time to indulge in endless polemics.

As for other areas where the “treacherous and tricky” YK MUseveni was not operating, I am attaching for you a document on the events in far-off West Nile. As for comparing Masaka with Luwero, try and find out what happened in the South West (including Rakai and Masaka) in 1982/83.


I am reminded here of my primary six days in a school in Western Uganda. One day, this debater shot up to express his concern over the state of the nation’s health. Off he went: “The situation is becoming ungendecable, the massess are dying of enfuitalism”. We all scrambled for the Michael West dictionary to look for the jaw breakers, only for this boy – who always claimed to be a socialist (in P6!) – to educate us that, “ungendecable” meant, very difficult (tebigendeka in Luganda); and “enfuitalism” in Runyakitara meant, “enfu” (diseases); “ezitalizimu” (more than one or diverse).

I think this boy (he was called Zedekiya Bigagire) has now infiltrated the some newspapers in Uganda, hence, such ungendecable enfuitalism as hydrocortomy and gigi…whatever.

The bigger problem though is the intellectual numbness that continues to bedevil the random harvest of the elite that hope to wring some political mileage from, of all people, Ms.Beti Namboze. I will leave them alone: babireke. Deep national crisis! One can rule the whole bunch for 50 years plus a bonus.

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Otto Patrick


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