In April 1990 while in Lusaka, former President of Uganda H.E Apollo Milton Obote penned a long missive, “Notes on the concealment of genocide!” In that missive he laboured to explain what he saw as a deterministic enterprise to exterminate sections of the populace of Uganda who were perceived to be hostile to the National Resistance Movement.
At that time there used to be some what was called “mop up” operations. Woe unto you if you were the subject of interest in these mop up operations. A popular method of incapacitating you was the “Kandoya!” Kandoya meant pushing the shoulders behind so that the shoulder bones joined then tying the hands firm from elbow up leaving the chest portended in a grotesque ‘D’ shape. Then they fell on you from all sides with sticks and boots and metal and all sort of inventive weapons.
After they had had their feel they threw you with whatever little life you had left on the back of a pick up and you were sent barracks. Many people did not return; these were very dark days in the history of this country. Asked about this kandoya the leader of the republic had this to say, “I don’t know about torture. I have educated myself on many things but on torture I have not known the boundary between what is torture and what isn’t torture. I know the NRA tie these people (rebels, etc.) when they catch them. They tie their hands backwards. I am now being told that is torture. It is the traditional method.” (Daily Nation – Nairobi – January 26, 1987)
For details on this and more go to http://www.upcparty.net/obote/genocide.htm
I recall a couple of men who were being accused of plotting treason: Omara Atubo, Tiberio Atwoma Okeny, Zachary Olum, and a few others. All men were well past their 60’s in years. They were flogged, frog matched before being brought to court; defying the myth that old men cannot engage in robust military drills. They went through a most exciting episode that they could not believe was within their ability. All this time their tormentor was watching the episode like a great Roman emperor in the gladiator’s arena. Some of them are still alive to this day.
So it is no so much suprise at the recent turn out of events and the fate of Hon Robert Kyagulanyi, for a leopard cannot change its spots, but just an overwhelming sense of melancholy that we fail to realize that this country cannot be good for any of us if we do not make it good for all of us.
Cry the Beloved country.