The cinema fraternity in Uganda is eagerly awaiting the release of 27 Guns, a film on President Yoweri Museveni’s life and bush liberation struggle adapted from his autobiography Sowing The Mustard Seed.
The film is directed by Natasha Karugire, the president’s daughter, and Sharpe Ssewali, under the film production company, Isaiah60 Productions. The production firm is owned by Karugire and Esteri Akandwanaho, a niece of Museveni (daughter of Gen Salim Saleh).
Initial plans by Karugire and Akandwanaho to premiere 27 Guns at this year’s NRM Liberation Day celebrations on January 26, aborted, and no explanation was given.
The production company did not reply to our e-mails inquiring about new dates for release and distribution plans.
The only available information on the Isaiah60 Productions’ website is a notebook and a pen with a message “coming soon.”
Karugire and Akandwanaho are both actors in the film.
The screenplay is by Ssewali and MF Semuju. Mustaque Abdallah directed the photography.
Museveni is played by Arnold Mubangizi, a former member of the Kigezi Kinimba Actors, a famous theatre group from western Uganda.
Also starring in the film is another Museveni daughter, Diana M. Kamuntu, who plays the role of their mother, First Lady Janet Museveni.
Other actors are Sezi Nuwewenka, Michael Wawuyo Jnr, Hussein Marijan and Maureen Jolly.
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda officially launched Isaiah60 Productions on March 28, 2017 at the Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala.
Karugire and Akandwanaho said Isaiah60 Productions was formed to tell authentic Ugandan and African stories to the world through African eyes and experiences.
27 Guns is the company’s first English feature film written and produced in Uganda.
The film captures the five-year National Resistance Army’s bush war that brought Museveni to power on January 26, 1986, following the overthrow of Tito Okello Lutwa’s government.
Forty three rebels armed with only 27 guns, supported by the people sparked a revolution of hope in 1981, at a time when Uganda was gripped by fear and tyranny.
Sowing The Mustard Seed contains a graphic account of Uganda’s turbulent times, and provides an insider’s account of the wasted years following Idi Amin’s overthrow in 1979. When Uganda’s first general election in two decades was rigged in December 1980, Museveni launched a guerrilla war to fight against Obote’s sectarian dictatorship.
The war is estimated to have claimed the lives of 500,000 Ugandans and displaced millions. In one of the scenes, an angry “Museveni” shouts; “The UNLA people killed unarmed civilians with knives and pangas.”
A male commander reminds the NRA rebels that: “Comrades the people know that they are in a liberated zone.”
“Because they know we won’t kill them, rape their daughters or even steal from them,” a female rebel soldier chips in the 1 minute 14 seconds trailer of the film that has been released on YouTube.
“Every gun we get is a fighter less vulnerable,” Museveni says as his rebels load ammunition they have captured from the national army on a lorry.