Kutoka Uganda Record:
A new book reveals shocking details on Tanzania's Former President Julius Nyerere and the 1979 Kagera War !
Dr. Bisase's new autobiography Guardian Angel, published in Oct. 2009. It sheds new light on the true character of Tanzania's late and much-respected leader, Julius Nyerere and the UNLF intrigues in Uganda.
A new book on Ugandan history by a former UNLF cabinet minister reveals shocking details on Julius Nyerere, Milton Obote, Idi Amin, and Yoweri Museveni.
Dr. Arnold S. Bisase was the Minister of Health in the UNLF government, headed by Prof. Yusufu Lule, that took power in Uganda following the fall of Idi Amin's government in April 1979.
The Lule government was ousted in June 1979 after only 68 days in office, following a vote of no confidence by the National Consultative Council, the body that served as Uganda's interim parliament after Amin's fall.
A full, detailed review on the writing style, the author, and the times he describes will be published later by the Uganda Record. However, in rough summary, the book titled Guardian Angel sheds light on the following important areas of Ugandan history:
1. It is one of the very few books --- it is quite possibly the first --- to give the world an intimate understanding of one of the most respected and even revered African personalities: Julius Nyerere, the former president of Tanzania who died in Oct. 1999.
It is a book that will shock many readers in the way it portrays Nyerere so that far from the saint the Roman Catholic Church now believes he was and the heroic status he enjoys among Pan-Africanists, Bisase's book exposes the egomaniac that Nyerere was, the manipulation he was capable of, and how far from being a welcome liberation force, the Tanzanian army that invaded Uganda to overthrow Idi Amin left misery, death, and destruction in its wake and most of these victims were Ugandan civilians, deliberately targeted.
Very few scholars or journalists have ever dared question the Nyerere image. Some questions have been asked about Nelson Mandela, but never Nyerere. Julius Nyerere is to Pan-Africanists what the late Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie is to the Rastafarians. All governments and politicians that led Uganda after Amin's fall have likewise held Nyerere in high esteem. This book will lead many to re-assess their view of the 1979 Tanzania-Uganda war and whether it was a liberation war at all.
2. The book is the first to give a detailed account of the events and maneouvres that led to the ouster, after only 68 days in office, of President Yusufu Lule, from the point of view of a Lule supporter and therefore, from Lule's point of view. This is an important new trove of history to be added to the Ugandan historical record. It is well known that there was much intrigue within the UNLF, even as soon as it was named in the northern Tanzanian town of Moshi in March 1979. This new book adds valuable new images and anecdotes to the story of the post-Amin period in Uganda.
3. The book gives an important description of the night of the attempted assassination of President Milton Obote in Dec. 1969, explaining the unexpected calm and disciplined way in which the Uganda Army and the Uganda Police handled security at impromptu roadblocks in Kololo in Kampala soon after the incident. Coming from Bisase, a staunch Muganda, it sheds significant light on the character of the Uganda Army of the late 1960s and is important in dismissing the widely held view of the 1960s Uganda Army as a bandit force of illiterate and murderous Nilotics. However, there was violence later against Baganda. Who might have been behind it? The book at least helps present the evidence to answer this question.
4. Guardian Angel departs from the generic image of Idi Amin as a bloodthirsty tyrant and while not an apologist for him, Arnold Bisase explains the forces that were at work in Tanzania in the 1970s, vying for power with Amin and at the same time engaged in rivalry with each other and using the method of sabotage and assassination of prominent Ugandans in order to gain the ascendancy and discredit Amin. The book adds its voice to the growing number of sources who are starting to question the claims that Amin murdered or caused the murder of 500,000 or 100,000 Ugandans during his eight-year rule and the view now emerging that exiled groups in Kenya and Tanzania used to stage abductions and killings in order for Amin to get discredited.
5. In its pages and glimpses into the lives of its various characters, the book is a reminder of the powerful and in some way privileged position that Baganda enjoyed in Uganda right up to the early 1970s, at a time in 2009 when most people, including Baganda, are starting to forget what life was like before the Ugandan economy was in the hands of people from western Uganda. Today, the impression is that Uganda will, for the indefinite future, remain in the hands of Bahima and Banyarwanda and most people are resigned to that. Dr. Bisase's book shows that there was a time that this dominant economic status was enjoyed by Baganda.
6. The book offers important new details into how Joseph Mubiru, Benedicto Kiwanuka, Michael Kaggwa, and other prominent Ugandans met their deaths during the Amin years, details that were absent in Henry Kyemba's 1977 book A State of Blood and other books and publications. The author knows what he is talking about, as he was a personal friend to many of these people and got to hear first hand accounts of the moment they were seized, usually by armed men in army uniform, and never to be seen again.
If Bisase knows this and only after 38 years or so has he come out to speak about them, and in which he appears to indirectly exonerate Amin, it can only be wondered if these families that lost their relatives know as much, in spite of their silence.
The book, in print in Britain where Bisase lives, is not yet available in bookshops in Uganda.