President Kagame is expected for yet another four day visit in Uganda where he will be decorated with a medal for his contribution in the NRA bush war in 1981-1986. According to the sources, President Kagame was invited by his counterpart President YK Museveni on his previous visit where many of President Kagame’s former commanders; like General Salim Saleh Akandwanaho, General Fred Rwigyema, General Elly Tumwine, General David Tinyefuza and others have all received this honor before. This honor has been going on since the country was captured in 1986.
Last year General Fred Rwigyema received the freedom fighters medal which was never collected because his wife, who was expected at the function, was unable to attend because her passport had been confiscated by Kagame’s agents.
This honor begs the question, why now after 26 years is when President Paul Kagame is remembered for his contribution? Most service men of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces only remember President Kagame as a young intelligence officer who was a captain in 1986. They also remember him as a killer who actually never investigated a case and instead ordered the killing of any suspect that came across him.
He moved freely from unit to unit spying on his colleagues.
It was, therefore, not surprising that when Sam Magara, one of the few Munduli-trained officers in the group reportedly hatched a plan to oust Museveni, the CHC moved faster than them thanks to President Kagame’s information.
Veterans say that Museveni trusted Kagame more than Tinyefuza who, like Sam Magara, is from the Muhinda clan of the Bahima, Museveni is a Musita.
In his book, The Agony of the Bush War, Brig. Matayo Kyalgonza writes about the emergence of cliques during the bush war and how the CHC ordered that “ethnicity should cease”.
At the height of ethnic polarization in the bush, Museveni appeared to trust fighters of Rwandan origin, such as Kagame, more than those who were Ugandan. That is why the late Maj. Gen. Fred Rwigyema remained the head of Museveni’s protection unit for a long time.
Although the alleged coup against Museveni had been planned to take place when he was away from the bush (between June -December 1981), the rebel leader got to know about it and was able to suppress it. Veterans say, it is Kagame and others who let Museveni in on the secret.
High ranking bush-war generals remember how Kagame tortured a fellow NRA fighter, Jack Muchunguzi, to extract a confession following the murder of another colleague, Hannington Mugabi.
Brig. Pecos Kutesa describes Mugabi’s death as caused by a pistol accident. But Col. Kizza Besigye, the only officer who witnessed the killing, was never asked to give evidence.
It is reported that Magara wanted to break the NRA force and lead some fighters to another rebel force based in the Rwenzori Mountain. The Rwenzori group was reportedly linked to the Gang of Four; Prof. Edward Rugumayo, Prof. Dan Nabudere, Prof. Yash Tandon and late Omwony Ojwok who operated in areas of Nyabushozi.
The plot to destroy the NRA, it is claimed was hatched by Muchunguzi, Magara and Mugabi. Hannington Mugabi was reportedly uncomfortable with the plot especially after the chief planner had been killed in Kampala under unclear circumstances.
Muchunguzi it is claimed eliminated Mugabi to destroy evidence.
We have been told that Kagame drilled safety pins in Muchunguzi’s fingers, squeezed his testicles and burnt him with cigarette butts to force him to confess.
Museveni also dispatched Kagame alongside other fighters to verify the authenticity of another rebel force that reportedly wanted to join the NRA. This was the rebel group of Maj. Roland Kakooza Mutale. Kagame and company found the group genuine and Mutale’s fighters were integrated into the NRA.
As it’s indicated in Lt Colonel Pecos Kutesa’s book, Uganda’s Resolution: How I saw it: he explains how Kagame, at some point when they were attacked, opened rapid fire when they were supposed to stay silent because they had planned to conduct an ambush on enemy forces. According to this book, Kagame was anxious and shaking thus requiring the High Commander to decide that Kagame would have to stay in the headquarters and continue his lone intelligence work. That is the freedom fighter that will be decorated on 22/1/12. President Paul Kagame (army number RO161) is a Tanzanian-trained spy, Paul Kagame, now President of Rwanda – was the counter-intelligence chief of rebel NRA leader Yoweri Museveni.
Most of the Luwero bush-war veterans are unanimous in their verdict that Kagame was never one of the celebrated NRA fighters yet he was quite meticulous in his role as a spy. His contribution in intelligence gathering and analysis helped Museveni regain control of a mutinous guerrilla force. Sam Magara (RIP) reportedly plotted a coup against Museveni during the early days of the struggle.
In the line of duty, Kagame reported directly to the Chairman of the High Command (CHC), Yoweri Museveni.
He was one of the 27 rebels that launched the war with the attack on Kabamba on Feb. 6, 1981, but his military number was a distant RO 0161.
Kagame who trained in intelligence gathering in Tanzania – went on to become, rebel leader, Yoweri Museveni’s most trusted spy. Specialising in counter intelligence, Kagame spied on colleagues to establish mainly who was undermining the struggle from within or undermining the authority of the rebel leader.
Conspiracy appeared to have crept into the NRA guerrilla movement at the very launch of the rebellion and this prompted the rebel leader to engage with some fighters to spy on others.
Kagame’s work was therefore cut out right from the start when the only Yugoslav-made RPG that the rebels planned to use to storm the armoury of Kabamba barracks went missing.
Only 33 people, including Kagame, who attended the meeting at Mathew Rukikaire’s residence on February 3 that planned the first attack, knew about this weapon that would help the rebels gain access to the armoury and get more guns. At that time the rebels had only 27 guns and needed more.
The RPG mysteriously disappeared a day before the February 6, 1981 attack on Kabamba.
Although the rebels went ahead with the planned attack, on Kabamba their mission to break open the underground armoury failed, though they went on to liberate the country after four years, It is the right time for the two leaders to resurrect the relationship and avoid the dangers a head after overstaying in power and the bloodshed, after the two countries fought in the Congo, their relationship has been cold for some time with a number of incidents indicating plans to execute each other. It was restarted by Kagame’s wife after President Kagame found out that a number of his soldiers are leaving the country.
According to the sources held 800 soldiers have left Rwanda in the last 6 months, this has disturbed Kagame because they all left with the guns, President Kagame believes that getting closer to President Museveni is a means of blocking any support for his opponents.
By: Noble Marara, former Presidential Guard to Paul Kagame, Rwanda
Edited by: Jennifer Fierberg