When Museveni used a Panga to ward off thieves and defend his young family -ARCHIVES


    General Yoweri Museveni, became president of the Republic of Uganda 39 years ago, following a 5-year guerilla war he led against the Dr. Milton Obote regime in Kampala. But before that, he had also led a revolutionary group of young men to fight Idi Amin’s regime which came before Obote between the years 1971-1979.

    The year was 1974 and the revolutionary group led by Museveni was still in its normative stages. He had led his group through daring missions and risky encounters including the disastrous 1972 botched attack from Tanzania, and the narrow escape from captivity at House ‘49’ Maluku Housing Estate in Mbale. The group had disintegrated and he was now re-organizing his forces and recruiting fresh blood into the rebel ranks, operating mainly from Nairobi but living in Tanzania.

    As a means to survive Museveni had taken up a teaching job to support his young family of two other members; Janet Keinembabazi (His wife) and a four-month baby boy -Muhoozi Keinerugaba with the three living in a rented house (under college administration) in a remote part of Moshi just bellow Arusha Road. The house, according to Museveni, was good but the problem was the remoteness and attendant fear of crime.

    In his book -Sowing the Mustard seed (Second Edition), despite his connections with the Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere, Museveni tried to get a pistol from local authorities which he wanted to use for protection of his family, but with little success. And indeed, the criminals targeted his home one night trying to steal items which were inside the infant -Muhoozi’s bedroom.

    “One night while asleep, we heard Muhoozi making noses. When we woke up, we found a big pole which the thieves had pushed through the window in order to hook some cloth that was hanging in the room. Fortunately, our good landlord, Kasalama, possibly aware of the thieves around Moshi, had put burglar proof wires (bars) in the window. A human being could not go through the windows. Also, thieves were not armed with guns. They could have fired at us through the windows” Museveni narrates on Page 108.

    “Knowing that we were isolated and had no communication, they tried to climb on the roof of the house. I could hear their pangas scrapping against the drainage pipes. I told them that I was ready for them with my own panga. In addition to the panga, I had commandeered one of the light table chair to act as a shield. I went to the corridor to receive them. Judging that I was probably a dangerous foe, they aborted their effort. I reported the potentially dangerous encounter to the college authorities who promptly got us a night watchman armed with arrows and a counter panga.” He wrote.

    Museveni asserts that the watchman’s arrows and panga, reinforced by his own panga were formidable to ward off the thieves of Moshi. After a few months, he says his family got a secure, brand new house in the compound of the college, but with only two bedrooms. He also goes on to narrate how his family was living a good life on a teacher’s salary with capacity to provide it’s first-born with all necessities Cerelac, Nan Infant Milk, Cod Liver Oil, not to forget the nappies and all that.

    Two years later in March 1976, Museveni’s family received a new addition; Natasha Nyina Ncweende, born in Kirimanjaro Christian Medical Centre. To be specific, it was the 12th day of March 1976 but the next day -13th March 1976, Museveni departed for Nairobi to meet his contacts there.

    He notes that this captures his core belief of “country before family.” He says; without a country, families cannot thrive. Museveni says, they can possibly exist as exiles, but can’t thrive.
    From Sowing the Mustard Seed (Second Edition) written By Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.



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