My name is Richard Kiiza. I was born in 1980 in Kyererezi, Kapeeka, in the greater Luweero triangle.
In 1981, our mother Rachael Nantege Nakamya joined the NRA rebels led by President Yoweri Museveni through the Kabalega unit.
Her role then, among other things, was to take messages to different groups of the rebel outfits in different parts of Luweero. She would also be sent to buy certain things including cigarettes and foodstuffs.
The father of our mother, James Kasibante, was nicknamed Mwana-lo and interacted with fighters almost on a daily basis. All those who were in the top ranks of the rebels know him. While they were in the bush, they suffered a deadly cholera outbreak that threatened to eliminate all of them.
Our grandfather used local herbicides to treat them and they got healed. If you asked any of them, they loved him so much. He later died shortly after they took power. But even when you come to Kapeeka where there is a barracks now, you will find our house there.
But in associating with the rebels, my grandfather gave them his children to help them run some of the activities while they hid in the bush. One of those was my mother. She was a covert agent who worked hand in hand with other ladies including Joviah Saleh, Gertrude Njuba, and Winnie Byanyima.
But one time in 1985, just months before the rebels could capture the state, our mother was sent to bring some letters to Kampala. She was busted by government soldiers. She was shot in the face and her forehead peeled off, I was told. That time when she died, I was only five years.
My other siblings – Peter Senjala, Winnie Nagujja and Dorah Tugume, and I have grown up not knowing a mother’s love. All we have are past pictures. What hurts us most is that our mother died when we were all young. We did not get anything. We tried to go to school but we could not because no one was there to help us.
As the children we have tried to work our way to find something to eat. I have worked and gotten some money to keep myself. I am a property dealer but when people see me, especially those from Luweero and knew my parents and what they did, they think we received money from government. Many ask us to help them reach the big people in government so that they too can receive some money.
But what annoys us most is that some top officials in government sometimes call us and tell us that our money has been released but we never get that money.
I’ve written several letters to some people – the most recent one being in October when we wrote to the NRA Luweero triangle secretariat. We informed them that we have never received any benefit from government.
On several occasions, we receive phone calls from people who knew our mother inquiring whether we were helped. Some of those people include; historicals who were with our late mother during the struggle in the bush. Others tell us the money has been received. We are not sure whether it is ‘eaten’ along the way.
Many people just promise to help us benefit from our contribution to the struggle but it has always come to nothing. When I was still a little boy in the early 1990s studying at Kitante primary school, some people came there and registered me as one of the people to get help from government because my parents fought in the struggle. I have never seen them again up to now.
What we want is that we should at least be appreciated. The promises that have been made should be fulfilled so that we can know that our mother didn’t die for nothing. We have been lied to a lot of times. Those who call us tell us our compensation has been released but it never gets to us. We hope that those responsible can read this.
I can be reached on 0772581381.
As told to Alon Mwesigwa.