“In 1996 I told President Museveni that the 10 years he had been in leadership were enough and advised him to leave power for others” – Gen. Benon Biraaro in November 2016
Maj. Gen. Benon Biraaro is one of those guys whose loyalty is not questioned. As he joined the Bush-War in 1982 and stayed the course. He has served several of high ranking positions, even as the Chief of Staff in the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and been in the inner-circle of military commando, both as a rebel and as an armed commander.
The man of honour, the man who served so diligently for so long. Still, had one more rebellion in him to defy the bush-war General he previously served. As the Luweero Triangle Medal and others faded. Retired from the army in 2008 after serving it since 1982. He started the armed service after finishing studies at Makerere University. He formed in 2014, the Peace and National Unity (PNU) before relaunching himself again with the Farmers Party ahead of the General Election in 2016. Which was the party he used to stand as a Presidential Candidate in the last election.
The man who is now deceased. Claimed he opposed Museveni before Besigye. However, that doesn’t add up, as the man claimed he was against Museveni in 1996, but he was promoted several of times since then. Therefore, the man was clearly not that vocal before he retired. That is evident, because if he were. He wouldn’t gotten higher ranks and been promoted like he did. President Museveni wouldn’t have done that.
Some are claiming he was a syncopate and a stooge as an opposition candidate. As he didn’t have the recognition nor the flair to stand-up to Museveni. Only empty words, but not like crowds would surge around him. Therefore, Benon was a former Bush-War Veteran who seemed like a possible catch, but not of something that would aim for the stars as a candidate in the 2016 elections. The man who has held lectures for armed personnel, been a teacher and one whose loyalty haven’t been questioned.
Not like he ran against Museveni like Gen. David Sejusa aka Tinyefuza, who had to go to exile because he wanted to retire. No, Benon could just retire and start his own party without any interference or big question. That’s because Biraaro wasn’t anything Museveni feared nor had any issues with. Even if Benon during the campaigns and after it, as warned the President and the NRM of a possible Zimbabwe moment. In regards, that Museveni might get the same treatment, as Mugabe did in his final stages. However, that has happen without any fanfare.
What we do know, is that Benon Biraaro is now deceased. His no longer among us. A man who fought, who started on its own and is no longer amongst us. What he leaves behind is a fringe party, which is the Farmers Party. He leaves behind a weak attempt for a peaceful transition and post-Museveni.
He leaves behind a life in the armed forces, in the higher ranking position and where he was loyal to the core. Biraaro might wanted more for his legacy, but this is what it is. We know he went together with others after the General Elections in 2016 to the house-arrested Dr. Kizza Besigye and tried to offer a power-sharing agreement, where Besigye would be Museveni’s VP. But we know that this was dismissed in February 2016. Therefore, the General wasn’t always able to serve, even when he was trying his hardest.
Benon might want to remembered for more, there isn’t more I can say. He trained people in the Bush-War, he did it after the Bush-War and was a high-ranking official, and gotten medals for his service. Therefore, its not like he didn’t get accolades while living. Now, he is gone, but his legacy is loyalty, but not greatness. That is more than what some will be remembered for. He was loyal to the NRA and the NRM, to the President and to that cause. Peace.