David Musuguri

David Bugozi Musuguri (born 4 January 1920) is a Tanzanian soldier and retired military officer who served as Chief of the Tanzania People's Defence Force from 1980 until 1988.

David Bugozi Musuguri
Nickname(s)General Mutukula
Born (1920-01-04) 4 January 1920 (age 102)
Butiama, Tanganyika
Allegiance British Empire
Service/branchKing's African Rifles
Tanganyika Rifles
Tanzania People's Defence Force
Years of service1942–1988
RankLieutenant general
Commands held20th Division TPDF


Early lifeEdit

David Musuguri was born on 4 January 1920 in Butiama, Tanganyika.[1][a] In 1938, he underwent bhakisero, a traditional rite of passage for Zanaki males involving the filing of the top incisors into triangular shapes.[2]

Military careerEdit

In 1942, Musugiri enlisted in the King's African Rifles (KAR),[3] beginning as a private.[4] He later served with the KAR in Madagascar.[3] By 1947 he was a sergeant and acted as an instructor at Kahawa Barracks in Nairobi, Kenya. While there he met future Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who was a pupil of his.[5] In 1957, the British administration introduced the rank of effendi into the KAR, which was awarded to high performing African non-commissioned officers and warrant officers (it was not a true officer classification). Musuguri was given the rank.[6] In December 1961, Tanganyika became a sovereign state and several units of the KAR was transferred to the newly formed Tanganyika Rifles. The rank of effendi was shortly thereafter abandoned,[7] and, by 1962, Musuguri had been promoted to lieutenant.[8] During the Tanganyika Rifles mutiny of January 1964, Musuguri was stationed in Tabora. Rebellious troops, attempting to remove and replace their British officers, declared him a major.[9]

I am proud that I participated in chasing Idi Amin Dada to Saudi Arabia where he sought for asylum. But I can assure you, there is no war that is good. War means killing.

—Musuguri's reflection on the Uganda–Tanzania War[1]

Though reportedly illiterate, Musuguri eventually rose to the rank of brigadier by 1978.[10] In early 1979, he was promoted to major general and given command of the Tanzanian People's Defence Force (TPDF)'s 20th Division, a force that had been assembled to invade Uganda following the outbreak of the Uganda–Tanzania War in 1978.[4][11] During the war, he garnered the nom de guerre "General Mutukula",[12] and successfully commanded his forces during the battles of Simba Hills,[13][14] Masaka,[15][16] and Lukaya,[17][18] as well as Operation Dada Idi.[19] Over the course of the conflict he took charge of over a dozen Ugandan orphans and oversaw their care until they could be turned over to relatives.[20]

In early November 1980, Musuguri was appointed Chief of the TPDF. He returned to Tanzania the following week to take up his new post.[21] On 30 December, President Julius Nyerere promoted him to lieutenant general.[22] On 7 February 1981, Ugandan President Milton Obote gave Musuguri two spears in honor of "his gallant action in the Battle of Lukaya".[23] During his tenure, he was accused of encouraging ethnic favoritism in the armed forces.[24] He was opposed to withdrawing Tanzanian troops from Uganda in 1981 on the grounds that the country had not yet built a reliable armed force, but Nyerere overruled him.[25] His retirement was announced on 31 August 1988.[24]

Later lifeEdit

Following his retirement, Musuguri moved to Butiama.[1][3] In 2002, he endorsed the creation of an East African federation between Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.[26] In 2014, he was awarded the Order of the Union Third Class by President Jakaya Kikwete.[27] On 4 January 2020, he celebrated his 100th birthday.[1]


  1. ^ According to Thomas Molony, Musuguri was born on 4 January 1923.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Mugini, Jacob (4 January 2020). "General Musuguri: Ex-CDF Chief Who Turns 100 Years Today". Daily News. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b Molony 2014, p. 239.
  3. ^ a b c Molony 2014, p. 213.
  4. ^ a b Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. 79.
  5. ^ "General David Musuguri, Idi Amin's nemesis turns 100". The Citizen. 4 January 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  6. ^ Tanganyika Rifles Mutiny 1993, pp. 19–20.
  7. ^ Tanganyika Rifles Mutiny 1993, pp. 20, 25.
  8. ^ Tanganyika Rifles Mutiny 1993, p. 26.
  9. ^ Tanganyika Rifles Mutiny 1993, p. 101.
  10. ^ "Makamanda Walioongoza Vita ya Kagera". Global Publishers (in Swahili). 3 January 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  11. ^ Lubega, Henry (26 April 2014). "Revisiting the Tanzania-Uganda war that toppled Amin". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  12. ^ Mzirai 1980, p. 156.
  13. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, pp. 78–79.
  14. ^ Cooper & Fontanellaz 2015, p. 29.
  15. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. 84.
  16. ^ Cooper & Fontanellaz 2015, pp. 30–31.
  17. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. 91.
  18. ^ Cooper & Fontanellaz 2015, p. 33.
  19. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. 94.
  20. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. xi.
  21. ^ "General Musuguri to Tanzania". Sub-Saharan Africa Report. Foreign Broadcast Information Service. 1980.
  22. ^ "Tanzania : Senior Officers Promoted". Africa Research Bulletin. 1980. p. 5910.
  23. ^ "Ugandan honour for Tanzanian COS". Summary of World Broadcasts: Non-Arab Africa. No. 6612–6661. 1981. OCLC 378680447.
  24. ^ a b "Tanzania : New Defence Chief". Africa Research Bulletin. Vol. 25. 1988. p. 9014.
  25. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, pp. 231–232.
  26. ^ "Tanzania general calls for federation". New Vision. 11 April 2002. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  27. ^ "President honours 86 for selfless service". Daily News. Dar es Salaam. 27 April 2014. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2019.


Military offices
Preceded by Chief of Tanzanian People's Defence Force
Succeeded by