The Book of Betrayals: Quotes from The Memoirs of John Kazoora

I purposed to look for books that are unofficially banned in Uganda in the last few weeks/days, to try and sip on the forbidden. One of these is Betrayed By My Leader: The Memoirs of John Kazoora. To be unofficially banned means that a book is not banned in the real sense of the word, legally or otherwise, but you can’t find it in bookshops. They pretend that it is out of stock, or things like that. And so the only way to find the book is the same way you would find a banned book. From the underground market.

Kazoora’s book was interesting at many levels. I loved the fact that he does not hide the nature of his grievances against various people in and out of power, be they personal or public. Obviously, Mr. Yoweri Museveni is the leader that has betrayed Mr. John Kazoora, but there are also a number of other people that have betrayed the retired soldier. Let us get into the quotes already.

Correcting the Record about Besigye’s Bush service

Kizza Besigye who was also at the High Command was so dedicated to the cause and you could see from the way he trained and the way he carried himself and whatever he did was done with conviction, determination and perseverance. He was always leading us on the route marches. So while some of us once in a while overslept, Besigye never did. – Page 58

Missing Graduation Because: the bush

I later learnt that my mother was glad that I had graduated but very disappointed that she was not one of the proud parents sitting at Makerere University because I had mysteriously disappeared. She was not even sure if I was still alive. I am told that she became the laughing stock of the village – as other parents were boarding buses to Kampala for the function – she was locked in her room crying. Graduations in those days were such a big issue. – Page 59

NRA Atrocities?

There were also the Alur community who supported the UPC. The NRA referred to them as Bipingamizi (enemy supporters). The late Senior Officer Peter Kerim, a serving NRA Alur officer, would woo them in his language and the NRA would expel them from the war zone and in some cases kill them using a Kafuni. They would dig a shallow grave, tie you kandoya, and lie you facing the ground and crack your skull using an old hoe called Kafuni. This was one way of dismantling the UPC machinery. The CHC would say that they earned their death as a just retribution and deterrent. – Page 83

The Kabaka’s Involvement in the bush

While in Kabale, Prince Ronald Mutebi (now Kabaka) arrived from Rwanda with John Nagenda. I took them to Kasese and handed them over to Amanya Mushega who in turn took them to Fort Portal to meet CHC. I also did the same for Samson Kisekka. He was very impressed to find a smart, eloquent guerilla. – Page 106

Student teaches his Teacher

At Makerere University, Mahmood Mamdani won the RC 4 eat having come through RC 1, RC 2 and RC 3 and he said since he was popularly elected he should be the Vice Chancellor. I tried to explain to him the difference between political roles and administrative duties. This was ironic because he was the one who had taught me Political Science at university and we had become friends. He seemed to have issues with the Vice Chancellor Prof. George Kirya. He kept insisting that he was more popular than Kirya, until I told him to shape up and stop living in cloud cuckoo land. It was both a managerial and administrative challenge to me. – Page 112-3

Disappointment on Retirement

For all my years of contribution and exploited youth, I was given a small plaque made of cheap wood (Kilundu) which I immediately threw away at the very spot in Mpererwe where I had been saved by cigarettes while going to the bush in 1982. But at long last I had received my freedom, and I felt a weight had been lifted.

Amanya Mushega, Tom Butiime and Capt Byaruhanga did not even bother to turn up to receive their discharge certificates.

Capt Guma Gumisiriza was later to make a u-turn and was promoted to Major and Rwamirama to Lt. Col after they voted for Kisanja in their retirement. – Page 185

A Russian anecdote

I am reminded of a wild man who once broke into the Kremlin (Russian Parliament) and ran through the halls shouting “Khrushchev is a fool. Khrushchev is a fool.” Khrushchev was the Russian leader. He was quickly captured, put on trial and convicted. His sentence; twenty two years. Two years for disturbing the peace and twenty years for revealing a state secret. – Page 193

I would ordinarily say, go out and buy the book, and provide a link to an Amazon page, or name a bookshop where you can find the book, but this is an unofficially banned book. The underground market in Kampala may be affected by intelligence boys and girls who come with money and order many copies, such that they buy the unwanted information off the ‘hidden’ market, but you can still find some of these books, if you care enough.

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