Uganda People’s Defence Forces Generals have been awarded the third highest military award “The Rwenzori medal I”.
The medal was awarded to the Generals Thursday during Heroes Day celebrations in Buikwe district.
They include; Gen Elly Tumwiine, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, the former army commander and minister of Internal Affairs, army Chief of Defence Forces Gen Katumba Wamala, Gen Moses Ali, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire and Gen Ivan Koreta.
The Rwenzori award I was also given awarded to the later Ronald Batta, Ahmed Seguya, Sam Magara and Eria Kategeya.
RO/0002 (Honorary) Brig Eriya Tukahirwa Kategeya (Deceased)
Kategaya first met Museveni at Kyamate Primary School in Ntungamo.
Kategaya, a close confidant of Museveni, is probably one of the most frequently mentioned individuals in war preparations of the 1970s as well as the 1980s.
On February 6, 1988 during the second Tarehe Sita celebrations, he was given the honorary rank of Brigadier.
Between 1981 and 1986, Kategeya worked closely with the external wing.
He was a member of the first cabinet in 1986 and remained in Cabinet until 2003 when he disagreed with Museveni on removing presidential term limits.
He became one of the founders of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party but later reconciled with Museveni and returned to cabinet.
He was 1st deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African at the time of his death early last year. He died of natural causes.
RO/00011 Maj. Ahmed Seguya (Deceased)
He was the first commander of the National Resistance Army and died of stomach ailment at the start of the 1981-86 war.
His body was preserved by collaborating doctors at Mulago until 1992, nearly10 years after he died, when he was buried with full honours.
RO/00014 Maj. Gen Kahinda Otafiire
He is the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs as well as Member of Parliament representing Ruhinda Constituency.
He first made contact with President Museveni in 1976.
He was a member of Fronasa. When Amin was overthrown, Otafiire advised Museveni to hide guns in case they were to fight the UNLA government.
Museveni refused but regretted why he didn’t heed Otafiire’s advice.
RO/00018 Lt Gen Ivan Koreta
Born in Mbarara in 1964, Koreta trained in the Frelimo camps in Mozambique while still a teenager and participated in the war that removed Idi Amin in 1979.
He later joined Museveni in the 1981-86 war that removed the Obote regime.
He commanded the 13th Battalion that guarded the Kampala-Gulu Highway.
He later served as chairman of the General Court Martial in 2007. In 2013, he was named an ambassador.
RO/00022 Lt. Col. Sam Magara (Deceased)
A brother of Martin Mwesiga (RO/0005), Magara was second army commander of the NRA.
He died on August 2, 1982 at Nakulabye at Katenta Apuuli’s house. Apuuli was a key supporter of the rebel army and Magara was hiding at his place after sneaking out of the bush to get medical attention for a toothache.
His daughter recently narrated to Daily Monitor how Magara had communicated to his family, then exiled in Nairobi, about his plans to visit them but died shortly after.
Apparently, someone had tipped off government on his presence in the area and soldiers surrounded the house, he was shot as he tried to jump over a fence and his body paraded in Bugolobi.
Magara drove the pick-up truck with Museveni as they went to attack Kabamba on February 6, the day Kabamba was attacked marking the start of the war.
RO/00023 Gen. Elly Tumwine (Active)
A former teacher of Fine Art, Tumwine is one of the few surviving original 27 armed men who attacked Kabamba.
He represents the army in Parliament and heads the medal awards committee.
He first joined Museveni in 1978 to fight against Idi Amin. In 1981, he fired the first bullet at the attack on Kabamba.
In 1984, he succeeded Sam Magara as army commander until 1987 when he handed over to Salim Saleh (C. Akandwanaho).
He suffered grave injuries in the war, leading to loss of an eye.