_Updated by Lawrence Mayanja & Agencies_
The Governor of Central Province (Kampala) and administrative official in the 1970s, Lt Col Abdul Abdallah Nasur, says soldiers who worked under President Idi Amin have been blackmailed and their names tainted with mud.
Nasur gave the example of accusations leveled against him that he forced people who roamed the capital city in slippers to eat the rubber sandals. Nasur says competent international bodies who did their independent investigations found the claims baseless.
He was one of the many aged veterans who spoke at the funeral of their fallen comrade, Brig Gen. Ali Fadhul, a close confidant of President Idi Amin. Fadhul passed-on November 2021 aged 81 after succumbing to diabetes and kidney failure and was laid to rest in a Muslim ceremony at his home at Bulumagi village in Njeru Municipality, Buikwe district.
Several senior military officers of the 1970s said they need “to set the record straight” because they have been maligned for too long and a lot of lies repeatedly said about them.
Since the announcement of his death, people started flocking Fadhul’s home to pay their last respects.
The fallen soldier who was forced into the King’s African Rifles (KAR) in 1953 at the age of 13, later served his country in various capacities not limited to; commandant Simba Battalion at Mbarara, Magamaga Barracks, governor Northern Province and Minister for Provincial Administration in 1974 before it was changed to Ministry of Local Government.
Abdul Magid Alule, Fadhul’s son and the family official spokesperson says their father championed the operation of sharing and ensuring the smooth running of properties and businesses that had mostly belonged to Indians, among Ugandans after they had been expelled from the country.
According to him, after President Amin made up his mind on the move, his father championed the process which saw many Ugandans re-possessing power to trade from foreigners.
Fadhul was arrested in 1986 after Museveni’s NRA took overpower, and charged him with the murder of the former administrative secretary of Ankole, Xavier Tibayungwa in 1972.
“The army surrounded our home at around 5 pm in 1986, handcuffed our father, and took him to an unknown place before they later charged him,” Alule recalls.
Fadhul was sentenced to life imprisonment until 2009 when he was released following a pardon from President Museveni. Returning to his home where he stayed until his death, Fadhul maintained his innocence throughout the entire trial and accused the courts of twisting the law against him.
He was charged with Tibayungwa’s murder on two separate occasions, which he always kept arguing was a breach of the double jeopardy principle which prohibits trying a person twice for the same crime based on the same set of facts.
Both trials took place at the High court in Mbarara.
In the first trial, he was found innocent by justice Seth Manyindo but later was taken back to Mbarara where the same witnesses and same evidence were presented and he was found guilty.
What others say
Lt Col. Francis Itabuka, the intelligence chief during Amin’s reign, notes that people like Gen Fadhul should have been given special recognition and care before their last days by this government but they have been completely disregarded.
“Regardless of the regimes they served, they remain soldiers who protected their country during that time,” he said.
“As soldiers who served during Amin’s time, we have been the most disciplined and not involved in any offense during Museveni’s Regime “.
Nasur’s Life Background
Born in 1946 in Nakatonya, Bombo, Uganda, Nasur enlisted in the Uganda Army in 1964 and was involved in military athletics. He rose in the ranks before being made Governor of Central Province, and in this office he played a leading role in Amin’s “Keep Uganda Clean” initiative, garnering a negative reputation for his strict enforcement of the urban beautification campaign. He also frequently intervened in national sporting affairs. Following Amin’s overthrow he fled to Kenya, but was extradited back to Uganda to face charges relating to the murder of the Mayor of Masaka, Francis Walugembe. He was convicted in 1982 and sentenced to death, though there remains disagreement over who was actually responsible for the murder. He was pardoned in 2001 and retired to Bombo.
Nasur was pardoned by President Yoweri Museveni on 10 September 2001and released the following day.
The pardon was received positively by his friends and family, though some Ugandans felt he should have been executed, including members of the Walugembe family. Following his release he retired to his former home in Bombo and became a vocal supporter of Museveni.
Reflecting on Amin in 2003, he said, “Everybody makes mistakes. Do not punish Amin. We should leave the judgment to God.” He remained a devout Muslim in retirement, praying frequently in the local mosque, and is a respected leader in Bombo’s Nubian community.
_Updated by Lawrence Mayanja & Agencies_