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 100)
Butiama, Tanganyika
Allegiance British Empire
Service/branchKing's African Rifles
Tanganyika Rifles
Tanzania People's Defence Force
Years of service1942–1988
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]

Musuguri eventually rose to the rank of brigadier. In 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][10] During the war, he garnered the nom de guerre "General Mutukula",[11] and successfully commanded his forces during the Battle of Simba Hills,[12][13] Battles of Masaka,[14][15] and Lukaya.[16][17] In 1980, Musuguri was appointed Chief of the TPDF.[3] On 30 December, President Julius Nyerere promoted him to lieutenant general.[18] On 7 February 1981, Ugandan President Milton Obote gave Musuguri two spears in honor of "his gallant action in the Battle of Lukaya".[19] During his tenure, he was accused of encouraging ethnic favoritism in the armed forces.[20] 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.[21] His retirement was announced on 31 August 1988.[20]

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.[22] In 2014, he was awarded the Order of the Union Third Class by President Jakaya Kikwete.[23] 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 d 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. ^ Lubega, Henry (26 April 2014). "Revisiting the Tanzania-Uganda war that toppled Amin". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  11. ^ Mzirai 1980, p. 156.
  12. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, pp. 78–79.
  13. ^ Cooper & Fontanellaz 2015, p. 29.
  14. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. 84.
  15. ^ Cooper & Fontanellaz 2015, pp. 30–31.
  16. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. 91.
  17. ^ Cooper & Fontanellaz 2015, p. 33.
  18. ^ "Tanzania : Senior Officers Promoted". Africa Research Bulletin. 1980. p. 5910.
  19. ^ "Ugandan honour for Tanzanian COS". Summary of World Broadcasts: Non-Arab Africa (6612–6661). 1981. OCLC 378680447.
  20. ^ a b "Tanzania : New Defence Chief". Africa Research Bulletin. 25. 1988. p. 9014.
  21. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, pp. 231–232.
  22. ^ "Tanzania general calls for federation". New Vision. 11 April 2002. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  23. ^ "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.