Pictures have been circulating of National Resistance Army (NRA) kagodos (child soldiers). The narrative is that current President of Uganda and NRM National Chairman/2021 Presidential Flag Bearer used underage combatants during his war of liberation.
The intention is to justify inciting young people to engage in violent confrontations during the election period. But the two scenarios are unrelated.
The famous kadogos were not picked from their parents homes or encouraged to join the fighting as it is today when young people are being incited and given drugs to stir them into street madness.
The kadogos were children without any option but to join the NRA fighters either after losing their parents and families or losing contact with them. They were on the run, their lives in immediate danger. Many of their colleagues (siblings) had not survived. They were, therefore, lucky to get rescued by NRA which, of course, was not a kindergarten or school or church but a fighting force.
Most of them integrated well and went on to become liberators, making sacrifices so that future “tootos” would never have to go through what they went through. Bazzukulu should not be misled to risk their lives and the wellbeing of their parents, relatives, friends and fellow nationals.