By Zacharia Kanyonyozi
Photos: YouTube Screenshots
In the bloody cauldron of the bush war inflicted upon Uganda by the National (really, ethno-national) Resistance Army, Dictator Yoweri Museveni, then a mere bandit, set up what are called Barrier troops, blocking units, or anti-retreat forces.
These, by definition, are military units that are located in the rear or on the front line (behind the main forces) to maintain military discipline, prevent the flight of servicemen from the battlefield, capture spies, saboteurs and deserters, and return troops who flee from the front.
To the Ethno-National Resistance Army (ERA, pronounced Error), these were handy death squads to keep ERA combatants in line in fighting an erroneous war against a legitimate government.
Yes, the government of Milton Apollo Obote.
Today, the ERA’s nefarious activities have not changed, even with its pretentions to being a national army, the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF).
Yesterday, the General Court Martial (GCM) sitting at Basecamp-UPDF Sector One Contingent Headquarters sentenced two majors due to “cowardice” in action.
The charge sheet read: RO/10855 Maj John Steven Oluka 58 years and RO/09572 Maj Zadock Abor 49 years, were both found guilty on count one; Cowardice in Action contrary to section 120 (1) (2) (a) of the UPDF Act of 2005. Whereas Maj John Steven Oluka on top of count one was also sentenced with count two; Offences by a person in command when in action contrary to section 128 (1) (b) of the UPDF Act of 2005.
The prosecution stated that the two majors on 25th May 2023 while in Bulomarer Forward Operating Base (FOB) as officers commanding infantry companies, received an intelligence briefing from the intelligence officer and the Battalion commander over an impending attack from Alshabaab but failed to plan and deter the attack. On 26th May 2023 when Alshabaab attacked the base, the two Majors could not encourage officers and men under their command to fight courageously. They instead abandoned their troops and runway to Golweyn FOB.
“Convicts’ act of running away from Alshabaab greatly impacted the name of UPDF and gave Alshabaab the opportunity to easily raid our forces. Because of cowardice in action, a number of our soldiers and equipment were lost,” added Brig Gen Mugabe, the Head of the UDPF’S GCM.
But what name does the UPDF have?
Being known as a private army belonging to Dictator Museveni, its name has been reduced to an occupying force holding Ugandans captive.
In fact one could say that Uganda is not a country with an army, but an army with a country, in echo of the words of Minister Friedrich von Schrötter when describing the Prussian kingdom’s highly militarized reigns under the rule of Fredrick I and particularly his successor Fredrick II.
Again, the UPDF and the myriad security agencies under Dictator Museveni has unlawfully detained and tortured hundreds of government critics, opposition supporters, peaceful protesters, and basically anyone who does not worship at the evil altar of Dictator Museveni’s rule.
This is what the UPDF calls valiant?
Only this year, a UPDF non-commissioned officer, Pte Yosefi Baguma, shot dead 18 cows and injured 25 others in Nakapiripirit district, northeastern Uganda.
How about when Peter Lokidi, a UPDF soldier from Kotido, was arrested after he shot three people dead, strangled his wife and injured three more people in a killing spree?
Clearly the personal cowardice of Dictator Museveni is trickling down to the rank and file of the army. Since, as the old army saying goes, there are no bad soldiers, only bad commanders.
Yet Dictator Museveni is not being Court Martialled for instilling such cowardice in the army, using the army to terrorize Ugandans and destroying the very notion of a national army!
Only in Uganda, the nimbus-haired US boxing promoter Don King would say.
Anyway, if the UPDF wishes to redeem what it deems its good name, it must topple Dictator Museveni and bring forth a new dispensation where Ugandans control their political destiny while the army returns to the barracks.