War veterans in Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom are urging the President of Uganda, Mr Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa, to consider giving a senior rank to the fallen King (Omukama) Kabaleega of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom as a historical war veteran.
“It is not good to just continue calling him Kabaleega yet he could have a rank maybe; General or Field Marshal as he may wish because it is clear that he was a strong battle fighter,” says Rtd Sgt. Peter Bagonza, emphasising that Kabaleega neither surrendered to his enemies nor fled his kingdom.”
The Coordinator for Civilian and Military War Veterans in Greater Hoima said this during a radio talk show on Kazi-njema Radio in Hoima city, as part of the army week activities ahead of ‘Tarehe Sita’ commemoration on Tuesday, February 6, 2024.
Sgt Bagonza noted that the name Kabaleega has continued to be used displaying his heroic actions against the British colonialists and their allies meaning that hailing him in the world of military is ideal.
“You see Kabaleega International Airport, Kabaleega ferry on Lake Victoria, Kabaleega FM in Hoima, Kabaleega SS (Secondary School) in Masindi and Kabaleega Medals among others indicate the cause given as a fallen hero,” he revealed.
The name Kabaleega was also used during the liberation war by naming one of the strongest regiments after him, he added.
The retired Senior Non Commissioned Officer (SNCO) also urged the president to consider visiting Buhanika sub-county which was the first area to embrace what he calls the liberation struggle in Greater Hoima.
He said more so, it produced the first army commander at national level, Maj Emmy Kyaruhanga who unfortunately died before the end of the bush war.
“The president has been visiting many areas that witnessed fights including Buhimba Heroes Monument but he has never visited Buhanika yet it is very important. We would like a technical institute established there in memory of the heroes from there,” he expressed.
Mr Joseph Karugaba Isimbwa Apuuli, the Chairperson Kulima Kurungi Farmers Association under the Civilian War Veterans in Greater Hoima, urged politicians to respect the veterans and honour their days.
According to him, veterans are disrespected by many local government leaders yet they did a great work to see the peace, unity and development prevailing today.
Mr Karugaba says he was pivotal during the recruitment of the liberation war fighters as he coordinated their movement from Hoima to Luwero for military training.
“Many RDCs (Resident District Commissioners) have not been caring about us. I can only commend (Ms) Jean Kaliba who was RDC Hoima around 2010 and the current Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Mr Badru Mugabi,” he commented.
Mr Karugaba also asks for deliberate funding of veteran activities saying that they have not benefited from government programmes due to corruption during projects’ implementation.
“We thought we could benefit from Operation Wealth Creation but I failed to get anything from it,” he said.
However, Sgt. Bagonza said he planted coffee trees under the same programme which did not help Mr Karugaba.
You can listen to some of their audio extracts below all in Runyoro/Rutooro: