The current long-drawn-out Covid-19 lockdown period has provided Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF’s) Maj Gen (Rtd) Matayo Kyaligonza, an opportune time to return home at Rumiina Village in Buhimba Town Council, Kikuube District to construct his longtime yearned for up-to-the-minute monument.
Kyaligonza said he does not want to waste the lockdown time since he does not know when the pandemic will end.
Our correspondent caught up with the veteran soldier supervising the construction works some metres off Hoima-Kagadi-Kakumiro junction along Buhimba-Kakumiro Road.
“I do not know how long the pandemic will last. But with the activities’ slowdown all over the country and the world at large, I saw it as an opportunity to concentrate on my monument construction project. It is my longtime dream,” said the two-star general.
The retired army commander who doubles as Uganda’s ambassador to Burundi wants to construct a state-of-the-art monument in memory of scores of combatants, militants and innocent civilians who died during the National Resistance Army/ Movement (NRA/M) bush war that aimed to overthrow President Milton Obote II’s regime.
The five-year protracted struggle dubbed “Liberation War” that ran from 1980-1986 left several people falling by either the barrel of the gun or sword in the country.
The monument is being erected some 450 metres away from Kyaligonza’s ancestral home in Buhimba town council.
Obote II later General Tito Okello Lutwa’s Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) soldiers and his Anyanya fighters used Buhimba as their military base. The Anyanya mercenaries was Sudanese President, Jaafar Mohammed Nimeiry’s reserve force that he used to hire out to military needy governments.
Maj Gen Kyaligonza told our correspondent that hundreds of human skulls that make a major component of the monument were collected from various different parts of the country including the ones he collected at Bukomero in Kiboga District on his way back home after the war in April 1986.
“I was the head of the 151st Brigade responsible for Kampala and eastern areas whereas Gen. David Ssejusa (then Tinyefuza) was in charge of western part of Uganda. I picked some skulls around Bukomero in Kiboga district,” he revealed.
The veteran soldier wants to establish an international memorial site that will pull intercontinental tourists and consequently boost the local revenue base.
According to Kyaligonza, the site will host a restaurant, a recreational centre and a senior secondary school with an artistic design symbolising the massacres and military engagements there.
He said that the cattle dip at the site that government troops and their mercenaries turned into a torture chamber and a murder house for suspected NRA/M allies will be refurbished with a befitting artistic design.
Kyaligonza wants the monument to be commissioned on June 9, 2021 when the NRM will be commemorating its Heroes Day.
Construction work is projected to cost Shs1b entirely from Maj Gen Kyaligonza’s pocket.
This will be the monument of its kind in the country.
Kyaligonza is one of the main characters of the NRA fighters that ushered the NRM government to power.
He led the force that captured Uganda’s administrative city, Kampala, making their war a success.