Relatives of David Kangire, one of the first recruits into the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), have decried failure by President Yoweri Museveni to fulfil the promises he made to the family.
David Kangire was killed by firing squad on the orders of President Idi Amin on February 10, 1973 at Kabale Municipal Stadium over his connections to the Frelimo group led by Museveni.
At the time, he was only 17 years old and a Senior 3 Student at Kigezi College Butobere.
He was executed along two other recruits Joseph Bitwari and James Karambuzi.
David Kangire at Kigezi College Butobere
Other recruits that Museveni, now President of Uganda, mentions in his book “Sowing the Mustard Seed” include Mukhwana Maumbe, Abwooli Malibo, Augustine Ruzindana, Mwesigwa Black, Eriya Kategaya, Kahinda Otafiire and Martin Mwesiga among others.
The recruits were taken to Nachingwea in Southern Tanzania for guerilla warfare training by the Mozambican Frelimo fighters.
On page 85 of Museveni’s book, he talks of using this group to launch a daring attack on Simba Barracks in Mbarara in September 1972, but notes that the invasion was defeated by Amin’ forces due to “setbacks and mistakes.”
It was after this attack that Amin launched reprisal attacks hunting for suspected rebels and their collaborators. This led to massive arrests and public killings by firing squad as a way of instilling fear among those who nursed plans to join the rebellion.
William Kangire, a young brother of David Kangire narrates that his sibling dropped out of school to join Fronasa
“He was arrested shortly after by Amin’s soldiers while hiding in one of the Hotels in Gulu district where he was acting as a spy for Fronasa,” Williams recounts.
A resident of Kasoni in Mparo town council Rukiga district, William says after the execution of his brother, the army never released the body to his family and that to date they don’t know where he was buried.
After the 1979 liberation war that ousted Amin, Museveni, who at the time was the Vice Chairman of the military council met the Kangire family and promised to help them.
“But after the 1980 elections, he went to the bush and we didn’t hear from him until he captured power in 1986. We then met him again in 1989 and he promised to help our family again,” he said.
William Kangire, who is also the Central ward chairperson in Mparo town council says that during the 2001 presidential election campaigns in Rukiga, Museveni promised to construct a memorial commercial building, donate a heifer and a vehicle to the deceased’s relatives as a way of recognizing his efforts towards the liberation of Uganda from bad leadership.
The president later invited Kangire ’s relatives to State House where he repeated the same pledges. Kangire however, says that when his family members led by his father, Ephraim Kangire contacted the then Principal Private Secretary (PPS) office of the president, Amelia Kyambadde, she sent them away accusing them of supporting the then Rukiga County, Member of Parliament, Jack Sabiiti, who belonged to the opposition.
Kangire says that they have continued pursuing the pledges with the Office of the Prime Minister but nothing has come through.
“Our father eventually passed away in 2008 a heartbroken man because of Museveni’s failure to fulfil his promise,” he said.
“Our brother shed his blood for the good of the country. He didn’t even leave behind a child. All we are asking from government is to at least build for us a building in Rukiga for his remembrance where we can as family get an income as they have done to other families that were killed with him,” he said.
Grace Biramahiire, a sister to the deceased questioned why Museveni rewarded the family of the late Karambuzi with a commercial complex in Kabale Municipality and left their family yet the duo was executed on similar grounds.
When contacted Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda the Former Prime Minister, promised to follow up on the matter.
Rugunda explained that the fulfillment of pledges is done in phases, saying that Kagoro’s family has the chance of benefiting since Karambuzi’s family has already benefited