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Maj. Rurangaranga’s son manned Museveni’s Kololo torture chamber

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In the 1950s, a young teacher, Edward Rurangaranga from Bushenyi joined other Ugandans to found the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC). He was later to abandon the teaching profession when the UPC government banned public servants from active politics.  Instead he remained in the Ankole District Council where he became the Deputy Speaker and later Speaker until kingdoms were abolished in 1967. He was very instrumental in promoting the health and education services in Bushenyi – an act that saw the elevation of Banyankole Bairu’s social status.

When Obote was overthrown in 1971, Rurangaranga was briefly detained at Makindye Barracks.  Upon release, he concentrated on working with Kitagata Bus Service – a local transport company in Ankole. Following the foiled September 1972 armed attack from Tanzania by Ugandans in exile, Rurangaranga was arrested, shot and dumped in River Rwizi.  He miraculously survived and was smuggled to Kenya where he spent most of his life in exile.

In 1978, Maj. Rurangaranga joined the Tanzania backed Uganda exiles armed wing, Kikosi Maalum. Upon crossing the Uganda/Tanzania border, Rurangaranga led a campaign in the Ankole region aimed at undermining Museveni’s influence.  Rurangaranga accused Museveni of being a Rwandese who was bent on recruiting Rwandese into FRONASA and dissuaded several Banyankole Bairu boys from joining FRONASA.  As the administrator for Bushenyi immediately after the fall of Iddi Amin, he was accused of having incited the April, 1979 massacres of Muslims in Ankole.

Rurangaranga accused Museveni who was the then Minister of Defence of having been responsible for the massacres.  Rurangaranga went ahead to challenge Museveni to join him in addressing a joint rally in the affected area of Kiziba in Sheena in order for the locals to pinpoint the right culprit.

Under the first post Iddi Amin governments, Edward Rurangaranga was made a Deputy Minister of Local Government.  He played a vital role in neutralizing Museveni’s influence in Ankole by pulling quite a good number of Bairu young men from Ankole into the new post Iddi Amin army, UNLA.  He played a leading role in the return of Milton Obote from exile in Tanzania before he landed in Bushenyi on 27th May 1980 and this day became a Heroes Day under the 2nd  UPC government.

In 1980, Rurangaranga contested for and won the Bushenyi West parliamentary seat on the UPC ticket by defeating UPM’s Kahinda Otafiire.

In 1981 Obote appointed Rurangaranga as the Minister of State in the President’s Office.  Dr. Milton Obote also gave Maj. Rurangaranga the military rank of Major and appointed him a member of the Defence Council.  Within the ranks of the then Museveni’s rebel NRA, Rurangaranga was the enemy of the people.

Fighters were being indoctrinated with declarations of destroying the likes of Rurangaranga.  Intact, Rurangaranga’s name featured in most of the so called NRA ‘patriotic songs’.  One of them went as follows; “Rurangaranga eh, tutampiga, amba iyo iyo amba (we shall attack Rurangaranga”).

Following the overthrow of Obote by the army in May 1985, Rurangaranga’s  village home was attacked by neighbours and his property was destroyed.

In October 1985, Rurangaranga fled the country only to return in March 1986 after Museveni had taken over government.  Rurangaranga was immediately  arrested and detained without trial until March 1991 when he was released.  Among the concocted charges was that he had masterminded the killing of a one Kaburingo in the early 1980s.

Maj. Rurangaranga’s son, Charles Aine joined the NRA and served under Internal Security Organisation (ISO).  Being a University graduate, Charles Aine was automatically made a Lieutenant and for many years served as the DISO of Masaka District.

In March 1998, Charles Aine was transferred from Masaka to ISO headquarters in Kampala to deputise the then Director of Collection, David Kasura Kyomukama.  Charles Aine was later seconded to the inter-agency Joint Anti-terrorism Task Force (JATTF) base at Kololo.

Right from its inception, JATTF has kidnapped, tortured, framed, illegally detained, maimed and killed.  In July 2011, Charles Aine was appointed the Kampala Metropolitan Regional Internal Security Officer (RISO).  He rose to become a Major in the army under ISO and his military service played a major role in mitigating Maj. Rurangaranga’s relationship with the Museveni regime.

In Bushenyi, Maj. Rurangaranga contested for the position of Constituent Assembly delegate but lost to Prof. Eljah Mushemeza.  Maj. Rurangaranga later won unopposed the position of Councillor for Kitagata Sub County in the Bushenyi District Council.  He became the UPC National Chairman and an influential political figure in Bushenyi and Ankole sub-region. His strong opposition to Museveni was often undermined by his son’s sensitive military service.

However, whenever Maj. Rurangaranga would get a chance, he would pour out his anger.  In some of such interviews, he made statements expressing his disgust for Museveni.  In one instance, he accused Museveni of “allowing refugees to be saluted by Ugandans under the Uganda flag” adding that “it was a grave mistake any independent state could ever make”.  He went ahead to state that the Rwandese were still “so many in the army and regime structures.”  He argued that Uganda could not claim sovereignty over security thus; “How could you develop antagonism, to the extent of fighting, with a country like Rwanda when you have their nationals in your security system!!”

Maj. Edward Rurangaranga passed on two days ago and Museveni allowed him to be accorded a State Funeral.  Maj. Rurangaranga’s  body lying in state in the Parliamentary chambers, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda described him as a patriotic Ugandan who served his country diligently.

Like many others, Edward Rurangaranga was a nationalist whose political career was destroyed by Museveni.  President Yoweri Museveni fabricated a lot of lies about the UPC government and the individual party members to suit his designs of ascending to the presidency for the reasons that even the doubting Thomases have now come to accept.

Had it not been for Maj. Rurangaranga’s son, Maj. Charles Aine, Maj. Rurangaranga would have had a lot of trouble under the Museveni regime and at worst died in detention many years ago.  In the same vein, though he had no army number, we are likely to see him being accorded a military burial parade, if Museveni so wishes. This is because there is no law pertaining to national honours, entitlements and emoluments of past fallen leaders.

Maj. Rurangaranga may have been erratic but not as demonic as portrayed by Museveni for selfish gains.


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