Thank you President Museveni for speaking out on the 1979 Muslim massacres

‘Ugandan Muslims have been waiting for this statement for the last 40 years’

Since 1979, Muslims have been seeking for justice regarding the murder of Muslims at Itendero, Kabwoohe, Kakoba, Nyamitanda and River Rwizi in Mbarara – Western Uganda.

Many Muslims including women and children were massacred during the war that saw the fall of President Idi Amin Dada’s government.

Parts of West Nile, Buganda – particularly Bombo, Eastern and Northern Uganda were also affected, but Western Uganda stood out because this is where the murders started before spreading to other parts.

All attempts to get justice and compensation for the victims and to find clear answers to the many unanswered questions have been futile.

Some Muslims falsely believed that, the then Minister of Defense – Yoweri Museveni was an accomplice in these murders, especially those in Western Uganda.

Today, I am one of the many Muslims who are relieved following the statements made by President Museveni on Saturday 17th March 2018 while addressing hundreds of Muslims at Kabwoohe Muslim Grounds in Kabwoohe Town Council – Sheema District.

He condemned the murder of Muslims in 1979 calling it an act of religious sectarianism. He even delivered his condolences particularly to the families of the 49 Muslims who were murdered in Kabwoohe, after the overthrow of President Idi Amin’s government.

President Museveni said, as the Defense Minister at that time, he led a big delegation to the affected areas to investigate the murders. He says he even attempted to cause some arrests but was stopped by the then President Godfrey Lukongwa Bianisa.

These are some of the answers that we have been waiting for, for the last four decades. At least we now know that he was not involved in the murders of Muslims and that avenues to bring the killers to justice were blocked by the then President.

Now that the President has promised to give a helping hand to the affected families in the next financial year, I thank him and join him by asking members of the affected families to forgive the negative people that murdered their loved ones and work for unity.

However, since the murders happened even outside Western Uganda, the President’s helping hand should also be extended to the affected families in other parts of Uganda. It should be remembered that many of the affected families were forced out of their lands by the killers who still occupy them.

The President’s reassuring statements may have come after a longtime but they will go a long way in putting this longstanding issue to a peaceful end.

My prayer and humble appeal to my fellow Ugandans is that we should never allow such religious sectarianism to happen again in our country. All we need to do is to reject those that the President referred to as ‘greedy and selfish politicians who survive on dividing Ugandans and breed hatred among the Wanainchi’.

The writer is the Public Relations Officer of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.