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{UAH} John Kazoora : How I fell out with Museveni.......

John Kazoora was a blue-eyed boy after NRA took power in 1986. As special district administrator for Kampala and later director at Internal Security Organisation he had regular access to President Museveni. However, he soon found himself relegated to the fringe, until he was pushed over the edge, as he recalls in this fourth extract from his upcoming memoirs.

Title: Betrayed by my leader
Author: John B. Kazoora
Available: Monday, Aug. 13 (tomorrow)

As Director of Political Affairs where I was to monitor and analyse all political events and report to the Director General (DG) Jim Muhwezi. ISO was almost paramilitary in its hierarchical nature, so while Jim Muhwezi was the DG at the rank of Lt. Col., it was assumed that at the rank of Major, I was next in Command. However, other directors who were at the rank of Captain and below thought otherwise. I had never, in my life, seen the kind of intrigue and under-hand methods of work in the pretext of secrecy as at ISO. You had to be a man of steel to work in such a callous environment.

On March 12, 1991 I was called to Jim Muhwezi's office for what I thought would be the normal office briefs. I heard him communicating to Lt. Col. James Kazini who was heading the Military Police. When I stepped into his office, Jim Muhwezi told me that I was going to be arrested. He said I was accused of embezzling Shs12 million, and accused of terrorism. I was speechless. Despite the tensions and intrigue in the office, I could not have expected this. He said that I should not bother saying anything as I would explain myself in court.

He then handed me to Kazini, who took me to my residence under heavy escort. They searched my house top to bottom, and when they were done, Kazini told me to jump into the back of a pickup truck. Up until this point I had been too shocked to say much, but now my fury was rising, and I was determined not to be bowed by this man. I looked him in the eyes and told him that, as a senior army officer, my treatment was unacceptable. He continued insisting until I said, calmly but firmly "Kubiriiba Temanywa" - "My friend – you do not know what the future holds". It was a promise, not a threat.

Those words seemed to prick his conscience and he agreed that I should sit inside the pick-up. He even suggested that I wear my army uniform, reflecting my status. Twenty two years later, I bumped into Kazini at Imperial Hotel and he lamented to me his problems, and how the current government was decaying. I reminded him of what I had told him when he arrested me. Unfortunately, two weeks after that meeting, he was killed in mysterious circumstances.

Jim Muhwezi and Stephen Kwiringira testified against me in court. Muhwezi's so-called tawdry evidence contained contradictions and no consistencies, and there were calls for his evidence to be subjected to scrutiny before being accepted by the trial court. The obvious weakness of the case was ignored, and on September 3, 1991, I was found "guilty" and sentenced to five years for embezzlement contrary to Section 257(a) of the Penal Code Act.
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In the interim, Joy Ibaraah and Miria Matembe separately went to see the President to plea for my release. Museveni rejected their pleas, telling them that I had got into bad company with the likes of Julius Chihandae and that I had become spoilt. Bizarrely, he, however, offered to give my mother five exotic cows as some sort of token of recompense. My mother refused, saying that what she wanted was her son and not cows of which she had inherited many.

I remained undeterred in my quest to prove my innocence, and I swiftly appealed the sentence. To my joyful relief, on June 18, 1992 the High Court of Uganda quashed the sentence and ordered that I be compensated. I am still waiting for the compensation up to this day. I know now that certainly, there was no way Jim Muhwezi could have arrested me without Museveni's consent. The President had been somebody I would call any day or time even if he was abroad, a trusted comrade and master. We had been through so much together. I was utterly betrayed.

After I was acquitted, I wrote to the President to explain my predicament. He did not reply, so in essence I remained on katebe (undeployed) with a young family for four years (1992-1996). I am still waiting for his reply.

Politics of Parliament
This new Constitution was promulgated in October 1995 and provided, inter alia, for a new unicameral National Assembly of 276 members. I stood again in Kashari against Urban Tibamanya and Paulo Bakashabaruhanga. The security forces as usual tried their level best to see that I did not make it to Parliament but the people decided otherwise.

The National Assembly convened on July 7, the day after the new Cabinet was announced. We were 226 men and 50 women.

James Wapakhabulo had effectively chaired the Constituent Assembly. He had won the hearts of the delegates, many of whom had now joined the 6th Parliament and no wonder he was overwhelmingly voted in as Speaker.

Museveni's character is such that he doesn't want anybody to be popular except himself, so when he thought Wapakhabulo was becoming influential on the national political scene, he plotted his downfall.

Museveni's first strategy was to move Wapakhabulo from Speaker and appoint him to the post of the defunct National Political Commissar on the pretext that he was going to mobilise the entire country with a view to succeeding him.

A number of MPs and other stakeholders were suspicious and concerned about this development and advised against the move. I personally met Wapakhabulo at Kampala Club and pleaded with him not to accept, telling him it was a trap.

*A positive mind is a courageous mind, without doubts and fears, using the experience and wisdom to give the best of him/herself.
 We must dare invent the future!
The only way of limiting the usurpation of power by
 individuals, the military or otherwise, is to put the people in charge  - Capt. Thomas. Sankara {RIP} '1949-1987

*"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent
revolution inevitable"**…  *J.F Kennedy


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