The former Priest of Kitanga Parish in the Kabale Catholic Diocese Rev. Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda has challenged the National Resistance Army – NRA veterans to emulate the late Gen. Elly Tumwine’s boldness and ask President Yoweri Museveni to peacefully hand over power to another Ugandan.
Known for his heroic actions of 1981 including firing the first shot that launched the NRA War which propelled Museveni into power five years later, Gen. Tumwine died on August 25, 2022 at age 68. He was buried yesterday amidst heroic eulogies.
Gen. Tumwine will be remembered for the statements he made in June 2021, asking Museveni to prepare for a peaceful transition of power.
While handing over the office of security Minister to his successor Rt. Maj. Gen Jim Muhwezi on June 24, 2021, Gen Tumwine who had also been dropped as an army representative in parliament, a position he had occupied since 1986, said Museveni should listen to advice and retire because if he didn’t, that was a recipe for trouble.
“I will continue to give him my genuine support and advice and to me now, I think the best advice we can give him is to prepare for a smooth transition so that we ensure stability and long term peace for the long future. You know it should be our duty to save him from being ‘ngamba nyenka’ (dictator),” Said Tumwiine.
Rev. Fr. Gaetano who recently retired from active priestly service after 47 years, says Tumwine’s statements should be echoed by all the NRA war veterans if they wish to see Museveni leaving the state house peacefully.
“Tumwine’s words were out of honesty and love for the country because he tried to help Museveni to understand the need to prepare for a peaceful transition of power. I wish other army generals and the entire NRA fraternity could emulate Tumwine,” said Fr. Gaetano.
Fr, Gaetano however cast doubt on the boldness of the surviving army generals to openly advise Museveni against overstaying in power.
“Apart from David Tinyefuza who also lost the war against dictatorship, the rest are cowards, and most of them are opportunists who lose a lot when Museveni is no longer the commander in chief,’” said Fr. Gaetano.
On the other hand, Fr. Gaetano refused to condemn Ugandans who were celebrating the death of Tumwine, but asked the late General’s enemies to treat his family with empathy.
“Of course they have reasons why they are celebrating and we also have reasons why we are not celebrating, but let’s all look at the family he has left behind as Ugandans who deserve a place for kindness in our hearts,” said Fr. Gaetano.
Tumwine was laid to rest yesterday, at his ancestral home in Kazo District.
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