By President Yoweri Museveni
I first met Ndugu Kashillingyi in January, 1982, at Kanyaanda when I had just returned from my external trip of the 6th of June to the 9th of December, 1981. He introduced himself to me as somebody who had been in the old Army. We normally used those Comrades from the former Armies for training. That is how people like Kanyankore, Emmy Ekyaruhaanga, Rwamukaaga, etc. helped in importing regular Army skills into our Guerilla force.
In combat, Kashillingyi operated directly under me from the 24th of December, 1984 to the 9th of January, 1985. On the 22nd of December, 1984, I left Sebuguzi, near Kapeeka, with a large force of 1,500 fighters and the unarmed “commandoes” that would carry the captured weapons and materials and arm themselves from the same. We started crossing River Mayanja at 1400 hours but never completed the crossing until 0020 hours on the 23rd of December, according to European counting of hours and days. However, in the African way of counting, we started crossing at saa nane za muchana (the 8th hour of the day) and completed the crossing at the 8th hour of the night of the 22nd of December, 1984. This meant that our plan of the long jump of entering Kyamusisi in the night was now compromised. We, indeed, passed though Kiryokya Trading Centre during the morning and the UPC elements quickly informed Kampala that a large force of Guerrillas, with Museveni personally in command, was on the move – going somewhere. In fact, even some of our stragglers were captured by the UPC youth leaders and gave the Government the same version.
However, on account of our security-conscious work methods, the ordinary soldiers did not know where we were going. Consequently, the UPC started deceiving themselves and the Country that Museveni was “running away”, going to Zaire (Congo). We were monitoring all this through my signallers under Bunihizi and Lukyamuzi. We entered our bush camp of Kyamusisi at around mid-day and we cooked and ate. However, I decided not to take chances. I, therefore, divided the force into 2 groups: 700, all armed fighters, to proceed under Saleh, by secret, night marches, and attack Kabamba; the remaining 800, only 300 of them armed, to remain with me, directly commanded by Kashilingyi and deceive the Government that we were going to the North East, towards the Mayanja valley. 24th night, Saleh left with his force. Christmas day, 1984, I stayed in the Kyamusisi camp with the 800 and Kashillingyi. We must have left on the 26th of December, 1984 to re-cross Hoima road, in broad daylight, near Temanakali and head for Kamugabo and Kayonza. The detachment of the Government soldiers at Bukomero was helplessly watching us. They dared not attack us. We spent the night at Kamugabo and moved to Kagembe, maybe on the 27th of December. On the 28th of December, the Government forces attacked us and Kashillingyi in Command repulsed the attack. After a day or so, I decided to move to Kagaari, Dr. Sebuliba’s Farm. The guerilla doctrine: constant mobility, constant vigilance, constant mistrust. It was while we were at Kagaari, around 1400 hours, on New Year’s Day, 1985, that our reliable informant, the UNLA signaler, informed us by sending a message to his fellow UNLAs, that Kabamba had been overrun by a powerful guerilla force, they are still occupying the barracks and had beaten off all the counter-attacks from Mubende.
We did not have to wait for Saleh’s message. The following morning, the 2nd of January, 1985, we started moving until the 9th of January, 1985, when we linked up with Saleh at Birembo where Kashillingyi handed over operational command to Saleh.
Kashillingyi, therefore, made his contribution to our struggle and we salute him. Yesterday and today, I spoke to some of his children such as Halima, Busingye and others and conveyed to them our condolences. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
The writer is the President of the Republic of Uganda.