By Chris Kiwawulo
DAVID Nyekorach Matsanga is a man who changes with the tide. The 60-year-old born in Bududa, then part of Mbale district, fled Uganda in 1986 after President Yoweri Museveni came to power.
For the last 12 years he has been an on-and-off spokesman of LRA leader Joseph Kony. During this time he was a diehard LRA apologist and a rabid critic of the NRM Government.
Matsanga went to Shikhuyu Primary School before going to Manjasi High School in 1973.
According to Alfred Musamali, an old boy of Manjasi High School, MatsangaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s father is the late Makuyi Wamema, a former employee of Budada Secondary School. Ã¢â‚¬Å“MatsangaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clan name is Wamema.
He became Matsanga as a result of the 1970s tradition requiring anybody seeking to repeat P7 to do so under a different name. When he was registering for S4 exams in 1976, he added the name Nyekorach,Ã¢â‚¬Â Musamali says, adding that he failed his OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢level exams.
Matsanga claims he has a masters degree in Political Sciences and a Phd in Psychology. However, it is not clear if he sat his AÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ level examinations.
Colleagues who have been with Matsanga know him as a man who is quick at sniffing opportunities. When Idi Amin was overthrown in 1979, he embraced the new rulers Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the UNLA Government.
He eventually joined the UPC youth wing and the intelligence service, then called National Security Agency. Around 1983 he was arrested after being suspected of having killed a person during a brawl in a Mbale bar.
He remained in detention until the Obote government fell in 1985. Upon release from jail, he tried to start a business in his home area, Bududa.
He soon got involved with rebels, attempting to overthrow the Government of Museveni in the late 1980s. He was the local guide who led ex-army chief-of-staff Opon Acak when the army ambushed them near Bududa Hospital in the late 1980s.
Acak was arrested and Matsanga fled into exile in the UK. While in London, Matsanga disagreed with Obote supporters such as Joseph Ochieno, creating a gap between him and the UPC members in the diaspora.
In a twist of events, he became the official spokesman of the LRA in early 1998. He later explained that he had wanted to turn the LRA rebels into a liberation front to rescue Uganda.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“However, I found that LRA had already sinned beyond repair and my efforts were not successful,Ã¢â‚¬Â he stated at a press conference in February 2000 when he publicly apologised to Ugandans for his role in the rebel ranks.
Surprisingly, he was brought back as LRA chief mediator by Kony in early 2008. But he was dropped when the LRA leader failed to turn up for the highly publicised signing ceremony in Ri-Kwangba on April 10.
He later insisted that he resigned to pave way for investigations. Press reports at the time said he had been arrested by Southern Sudanese authorities at Juba airport with $20,000.
Matsanga is also a man who does not take chances with his life. While in Juba, he reportedly carried a poison detector to meetings, which he used to check food and drinks served to him.
Before he was appointed LRA negotiator, Matsanga was a public relations consultant to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
Based in the UK then, he was credited for boosting MugabeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s image internationally, especially after his re-election in 2002, through his research outfit called Africa Strategy.
Matsanga, however, fell out with Mugabe after he was allegedly tortured in Harare.
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