Rwakitarate must be blocked

Brig Moses Rwakitarate


The EU must not accredit Rwakitarate as a diplomat in their zone,this member of the inner circle of the Museveni-led military junta is being deployed in the mission to primarily eliminate the regimes offshores opponents.The majority of political dissidents have a well-founded discomfort with the presence of this hitman amidst them and they have every right to protest to the host countries the risk of formalizing his appointment in the EU zone.

Brig Moses Rwakitarate

Is one of the candidates destined for deployment as a military attaché in the EU region among other names, since 2001 Brig. Rwakitarate has been implicated in numerous scandals which include and not limited to; undermining democracy, gross human rights abuse during the elections period, he is further cited in corruption scandals.

From the elections of 2001, his role was evident in forming a group called Kalangala Action Plan’ (KAP), this squad of militias was pioneered by the then captain who has since been elevated to the rank of a Brigadier assisted by another notorious retired army officer Major Ronald Kakooza Mutale. This paramilitary squad KAP was entrusted with the job of ‘punishing, beating or possibly doing away’ with whoever opposes the government, especially those against President Museveni. They act intentionally to cause grievous bodily harm on civilians and also complicit in the disappearance of many civilians.

For example, he, alongside Col Kayanja Muhanga, were assigned the role of stopping then Reform Agenda’s presidential candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye, from going to address a rally in Arua in 2001. In a melee, which was captured on video, Besigye is seen smacking the face of Rwakitarate who was then a Captain.

This killer squad was to be used again in the 2006 Ugandan General Election to help the country’s leader, Gen Yoweri Museveni retains power. Brigadier Moses Rwakitarate, a former chief of the Uganda Air Force, Brigadier Leopold Kyanda, the Chief of Staff of Land Forces and Major Roland Kakooza Mutale, a special presidential adviser on political affairs. During the 2006 general election, Kakooza led KAP and is remembered for the way he led a squad to beat up those who showed signs of opposing the NRM.

During the 2006 general election campaign, the same group became infamous for going around the country in yellow buses (the preferred color of the ruling National Resistance Movement wielding big sticks and guns and going around the country’s towns beating up those opposed to the NRM.

In 2016 general elections the same group resurfaced to unleash mayhem on the populace during the elections, Rwakitarate, and many other high-ranking military officials like Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde were gain heavily involved in partisan politics.

Brig. Rwakitarate was sacked in the wake of Somalia destined choppers that went down in Mt Kenya and causing financial loss to the country besides diverting another lump sum of UN funds meant to safely airlift the choppers to Somalia.

On August 12, three Mi-24 combat helicopters on the way to Kismayo, by then the last urban stronghold of the militant al-Shabab in Somalia, crashed in the Mt Kenya ranges, leaving behind a trail of baffling questions. Seven UPDF officers – including pilots and support crew – perished in the crashes. Only one of the four helicopters, a Mi-17, landed without mishap at Garissa. Originally, there were plans to transport the helicopters in one single amphibian plane. Rwakitarate, however, argued that if the plane was targeted, the country could lose all the equipment and arsenal therein.

The officer stands accused of diverting $2.5m financial war-chest from the United Nations given to the Uganda Air Force for the mission in Somalia, this money was to be used in transporting the helicopters in an amphibian plane.

To this effect, Mr. Museveni continues to reward military officers like Brig. Moses Rwakitarate for rigging elections for him by posting him to serve as a military advisor at Uganda’s Embassy in Brussels. He will represent Uganda defense matters in Belgium and other European Union countries.



The Uganda Revolutionary Struggle .

The Uganda Revolutionary Struggle entering a decisive phase – And some little ‘Silence of Revolutionaries’ is not a bad thing. The enemy is left guessing and committing grave mistakes that will hasten his demise.

The online Ugandan publication Eagle Online of Saturday 18/06/2016 has published an interesting article about the implications of the ‘Silence of Mr Amama Mbabazi’.

The article – which can be found at this link –, wonders whether the ‘stiff silence’ of the man who was Museveni’s prime minister, and who participated in the 1980-1986 guerrilla war that brought Museveni to power, using different names including among others – Karyaburo and Ahmed Mbayo, should mean anything within the contexts of the on-going Ugandan freedom struggle.

The online publication concludes the article with the following tercet words:

“…And this begs the question, are we set to see another episode involving Dr Karyaburo or a certain Ahmed Mbayo, the two imaginary men whose proverbial nine lives always caused the ruckus!”

Thanks to the ‘Eagle Online’, the issue of ‘Silence in a Revolutionary Struggle’ is being brought to the fore, and indeed, it should, given the questions some Ugandans have been posing after a week or so of silence on the Free Uganda Facebook page.

Free Uganda received some interesting questions by a few of the tens of thousands of Ugandan citizens who visit the FU page every single day, searching for latest updates about the freedom struggle:

One pro-democracy youth activist from Kampala wrote to ask for reassurance that the freedom struggle was well and alive. And a gentleman who claimed that he is a soldier based in Gulu lamented on the vacuum of news about what seems to be a revolt in sections of the Ugandan army and police in places like Gulu, Makindye, Mbuya, Nakasongola, etc.

‘Revolutionary Silence’ does not mean that the struggle in trouble. It means that the enemy cannot enjoy the luxury of reading about the struggle. It means that the masses have already been fully educated, enlightened and mobilised about the meaning and reasons behind the struggle, and the phase of revolutionary action is now underway.

Simply put, when dangerous Revolutionaries fall silent – it means that the decisive moment of the Freedom Struggle has arrived.

Revolutionary Struggle is not a political campaign. Freedom Struggle battles are not football matches. There reaches a moment when actions speak louder than words.

It would be incomprehensible for a true Revolutionary to shout out his or her operational plans for the enemy to hear unless the shouts were a diversionary tactic to lead the enemy to the cliff-side.

The Message to Museveni:

Mr Museveni, here is a special message for you.

In spite of the advanced stage that the freedom struggle is at, with the inevitable outcome pointing towards a resounding victory for the forces of liberation, it still possible for you, Mr Museveni, to contribute to the resolution of Ugandans problems peacefully.

The People of Uganda are fully resolved to defy and resist the nonsense that is your continued meddling in the country’s politics, using violence, mass arrests, kidnappings and torture, daily murders, etc.

The Defiance Struggle which confronts you today is a Mission No-Surrender. The People cannot surrender, as this is a life-and-death struggle, whose outcome can only be ‘defeat’ for the anti-people forces, and ‘victory’ and survival for the masses and Uganda as a nation.

Mr, Museveni, even a little child can see that, in your weakness and political alienation, you stand no chance. How can you stand a chance, when you have been abandoned by all Ugandans, including even those men and women of the Ugandan security and military forces, on whose backs you have been riding across the decades of your misrule of Uganda? How can you possibly survive the People Power on the slot, when the only defence line left for you are your close family (i.e your son Muhoozi) and a few confused loyalists like Kale Kayihura?

This, at a time when the freedom struggle is getting overwhelmed by the support and love of all the People of Uganda.

Mr Museveni, it is not yet too late for you to save yourself and also save the country from unnecessary confrontation, that could descend into open warfare and violence.

The time is now for you, Mr Museveni, to wake up from the state of denial that you are now engrossed in. It is now time for you to come to the realisation that your camp has been emptied of any popular support from the masses.

When Uganda Peoples Defence Force troops and the men and women of the Uganda Police Force denied you their support at the February 2016 elections; when they voted overwhelmingly in their barracks for the opposition candidate Dr Kizza Besigye, you did not read the clear signs of deadly trouble ahead.

You went ahead, with the support of your son Muhoozi and the remaining few allies, like General Kale Kayihura, to carry out a Coup d’état, forcefully attempting to usurp the political power that you had lost in the elections.

The patriots of the UPDF and within the Uganda police service went silent and now they are doing their thing across the country. The Ugandan freedom struggle has taken on a new direction. It is now transitioning into a new decisive phase. A phase where the masses have been joined by their sons and daughter of the armed services.

The message to Mr Yoweri Museveni is simple and straight forward – the game of attempting to forcefully rule Uganda is over. The force you plan to use to accomplish you evil plan is no longer there. The bulk of the men and women of Uganda’s armed services are no longer prepared to sacrifice their lives for you.

Museveni left guessing and committing grave mistakes that will hasten his demise.

Having been jolted into the realisation that the Defiance Struggle is real and looks like a ‘Mission No Surrender’ for all those involved, Museveni is now in total panic mode, and his joggled mind is telling him that the way forward is to keep Dr Kizza Besigye inside jail and to constantly aggress and brutalise all other liberation struggle leaders and activists.Thousands of pro-democracy activists have been kidnapped or arrested in the last few weeks.

Interestingly, Museveni has now decided to pounce on hundreds and hundreds of members of the Ugandan armed forces, including some very senior officers, from both land and air divisions, who are being rounded up for supposedly attempting to remove Museveni from State House.

The problem with this approach is that the more of these people you arrest, the more trouble they’re angry and frustrated colleagues can cause.

If anyone was wondering how military coups are caused, the answer is simple and clear. Groups of army officers rebel. They are arrested, and their colleagues are forced to strike at those responsible for arresting their colleagues.

The big worry for those concerned with human rights violations is that many of these officers being arrested, just like hundreds of civilians who have been kidnapped or arrested are innocent of any crime. Most are being framed and falsely accused of belonging to rebel groups.

Truth be told – Museveni, Kayihura and Muhoozi do not have a clue as to who is actually a rebel and who is not. They do not have a clue as to the nature of the enemy they are facing.

Hence the panic, and the unwarranted arrests, kidnappings, torture and murder of innocent citizens.

The result of all this brutalization and dehumanisation; the result of keeping Dr Kizza Besigye in indefinite confinement; the result of framing and victimising innocent Ugandans, including senior army and police officers, is obvious to all – this will be the end of Museveni and Musevenism in Uganda, sooner rather than later.

As for now, a bit of ‘Revolutionary Silence’ will surface. Let Museveni keep guessing, and let him continue making grave mistakes that will hasten his demise.

The Struggle continues.

A review of the current state of the Ugandan liberation struggle.  By Vincent Magombe, Secretary Free Uganda Leadership Committee and Press Secretary FU – 18/06/2016




Mr.Museveni rejected electoral reforms. He chose to organize, instead a sham election hoping to win it. Even with a sham election, the people of Uganda rejected him and he instead chose to steal the result of a sham election.

I am writing to all Ugandans and the opposition, in general, to demand Mr.Museveni(74) to let the country breathe. He has failed to create jobs for young people and just made some crime preventers without contracts and salaries.

Tell Mr.Museveni that ONLY the benefits in rejecting electoral reforms and organizing sham elections. Tell him that his entire body language clearly shows that he does not feel legitimate and rightly so. He lacks credibility in the public. He has exhibited fear for the fair competition which is a weakness of character over time.

Jailing a popular opposition leader does not make Mr.Museveni popular. It does not even make him look strong and tough if he thought so. It instead makes him look weak, petty and trivial. What would motivate a ruler who has been in power for 30 years to politically persecute his opponents on trampled up charges?

Political persecution of Ugandans due to growing public agitation for lack of industrial jobs for young people cannot change the minds of Ugandans to rally around a ruler who has been in power for 30 years.

Without jobs for Ugandans, they have no option but to view you as a failed leader who came with so much promise but ended up into a perpetual self-promotion program. Think of it, if people have no jobs for 30 years, why should you stay in State House longer?

Mr.Museveni, there is nothing you can do to bring back the memories of Ugandans to love you and locking up a leader in jail for his popularity can never transfer their support for Besigye to you.

Urgently release Dr.Kizza Besigye and apologize for stealing his victory may be and just may be you will also stop being his prisoner.

Ugandans know you have no capacity to industrialize the economy since 18 million hoes and promotion of malwa groups were some of your election promises. 30 years ago you promised an industrial economy and boy you have failed to transform Uganda’s agrarian economy to industry and instead become an expert at organizing sham elections and persecuting those asking you to stop it.

Jailing Rtd.Col.Dr.Kizza Besigye will not bring factories and investors to Uganda to industrialize the economy. Persecuting those who no longer believe in your nomadic economic policies will not industrialize the economy. You can build the army all you want but you can’t industrialize the Ugandan economy and create jobs and raise wages for hardworking Ugandans. You neither have formulae, not the time to do. Your 30 years came and went without industrializing the economy.

So many young people know like their parents waited for industrial jobs for 30 years that did not come, even if you stay for another 15 years to effectively make it 50 years in State House, there will be no industrialization to create them jobs.

So let’s cut the chase and accept you are the guarantor of poverty in Uganda and release the people’s President as you stay in your jail in State House.

Urgently release Dr.Kizza Besigye and dialogue your transition out of power rather than waste the country’s time and resources.

By Shaka Maverick


Call for immediate and unconditional release of the president, Dr. Kizza Besigye.


Call for immediate and unconditional release of the president, Dr. Kizza Besigye.



WE, the undersigned members of the Uganda Diaspora P10, human rights and democracy advocates, draw the attention your Government to the following:


WHEREAS, February 18, 2016, Uganda election was marred by wanton violence, intimidation, disappearance and murder of opposition members by security forces;


WHEREAS, the atmosphere preceding February 18, 2016, elections were characterized by militarization, military occupation of the state, and severe restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of all Ugandans, and especially those of the FDC political leaders and their agents all over Uganda;


WHEREAS, we recognize the roles of International Criminal Court ( ICC) as enshrined in the Rome Statute and the need for Uganda to commit to the values of the ICC as an institution for accountability against gross crimes against humanity, for which Mr. Museveni must be tried for war crimes and genocide in, Congo and Northern Uganda and lately South Sudan;


WHEREAS, the intimidation, frequent arbitrary detention of Dr. Kizza Besigye, the flag bearer of the FDC Party prevented him from accessing justice to petition with sufficient evidence to challenge the fraudulent elections;


WHEREAS, the Human Rights Peace and Education Center (HURIPEC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), Chapter Four Uganda & Amnesty international have all expressed deep concern over the continued detention of FDC President, Dr. Kizza Besigye in his home as having no legal basis in Ugandan law, constitutes arbitrary detention and violates basic human right to freedom of expression and association;


WHEREAS, the situation in Uganda has degenerated into gross human rights abuse, a break down the enforcement of law and order, and subsequent arrest, deportation, imprisonment and irregular charging of Opposition leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye Kifefe with treason.


THEREFORE, your petitioners call the Government to immediately:


(a) Defer recognizing General Museveni’s claim to a new term of office until an international audit of February 18, 2016, election is done;

(b) Call for immediate and unconditional release of FDC President, Dr. Kizza Besigye. (c) Call on General Yoweri Museveni to withdraw the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) from Kampala city and major urban centers;

(d) Call on General Museveni, the UPDF, Police and Government directed vigilantes to respect the rights of citizens to free assembly, association, worship and speech;

(e) Call on General Museveni and security forces to stop political persecution of opposition candidates and their followers throughout the country;

(f) Suspend any co-operations and transactions with the dictatorship in Uganda until the rule of law and respect for human rights are addressed;

(g) Suspend the deportation of all Ugandans under your custody and consider providing political asylum to all Ugandans who are genuinely at risk of facing torture, arbitrary arrests, denial of justice, and being killed by the armed forces of Uganda; should be also grant asylum and any form of immigration assistance to Ugandan already in their countries  and those fleeing political persecution from the regime.

(h) Recognize the leadership of H.E. Dr. Kizza Besigye Kifefe as the legitimate head of state of the Republic of Uganda and demand for his immediate release from prison;

(i) Provide direct support to civil society organizations and opposition political Parties to strengthen their capacity to advocate for the restoration of peace, justice, respect for human rights, democracy, and civilian rule in Uganda.

(j) Suspend all program support to train, equip and facilitate the Uganda justice law and order sector. For failure to ensure access to justice, lack of independence, corruption and being used as an instrument of persecution.

(k) Present a resolution to the UN renouncing, M7’s attack on a vital UN organ: the ICC from which Uganda derives enormous benefits, has officers and presented cases which are in the judicial process. Such attacks are sub judicial and jeopardize the credibility of the ongoing trials and process.


We look forward to working closely with you to ensure that the rule of law and democracy are restored to Uganda.


Thank you,


Uganda Diaspora P10



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Museveni Fascism Exposed in Uganda, as officials acknowledge using dreaded paramilitary gangs to abuse citizens’ rights and freedoms.



Free Uganda statement Museveni’s use of paramilitary terror gangs to abuse citizens’ rights in Uganda. Posted by Dr. Vincent Magombe, Secretary Free Uganda Leadership Committee and Press Secretary FU – 03/06/2016


Yet again, there is mounting evidence in Uganda of Museveni’s terror outfit using the dread paramilitary gangs to actualise the fascist ideology of ultimate violence against anyone suspected of harbouring anti-Museveni sentiments.

Follow this link to view Museveni fascist gangs at work-


The paramilitary terror gangs have been recorded operating hand in hand with General Kayihura’s police torture squads and Major General Muhoozi Kaneirugaba’s special forces in the Ugandan capital Kampala and other Ugandan towns. Muhoozi is Museveni’s own son, who is the head of the so-called Special Forces Command (SFC) which acts as Museveni’s personal guard, but whose operatives are also involved in the on-going systemic brutalization of Ugandan pro-democracy campaigners and human rights activists.





Local and international television networks and press media outlets have recorded the terror gangs unleashing gross violence against civilians, most of whom were mere bystanders in Ugandan streets where a prominent pro-democracy activist happened to be passing or was being arrested by Museveni forces.


In recent weeks, Museveni and his terror commanders have feigned ignorance of the exact identities of the marauding paramilitaries, most of whom regularly don black face masks, as they go about beating and viciously torturing innocent civilians, quite often without minding that hundreds of witnesses and hordes of television and press media crews are watching and recording their barbaric acts.


Increasingly the paramilitary gangs have taken part in broad daylight abductions of opposition activists, grabbing them in front of onlookers and forcing them to enter unmarked or sometimes marked black vans known to be used by General Kayihura’s terror squads as holding containers where chemical and pepper sprays are administered directly into the eyes of the victims, in addition to suffering more beatings and other forms of torture, before being transported to secret torture chambers (the so-called ‘Safe Houses’) for further ‘out-of-sight processing.’


Clearly, Museveni and his killer squads, led by General Kale Kayihura and Major General Muhoozi, are engaged in the grievous defilement of the constitutional rights and freedoms of Ugandan people.


What we are witnessing in Uganda today is nothing but the naked violation of all known local and international human rights laws and conventions.


The question to ask is – how much longer can Ugandans and the world at large allow this gross inhumanity to go on unhampered, and the perpetrators of these severe violations to go about their illegalities with total impunity?


In Uganda, the people have launched a freedom and defiance struggle, in a determined effort to rid the country of the incredulous Museveni barbarity.


So far the struggle has been peaceful and non-violent, but as all the possible avenues of peaceful protest are closed off, some Ugandans are seriously considering the use of ‘all means necessary’ to counter the intolerable menace and scourge haunting and hounding their Motherland.


The hope is that Ugandans will be fully appreciated and supported in their hour of greatest need by all people of good will the world over.


The Struggle Continues.


Dr. Vincent Magombe, Secretary Free Uganda Leadership Committee and Press Secretary FU

The Legend Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali, the silver-tongued boxer and civil rights champion who famously proclaimed himself “The Greatest” and then spent a lifetime living up to the billing, is dead.
Ali died Friday at a Phoenix-area hospital, where he had spent the past few days being treated for respiratory complications, a family spokesman confirmed to NBC News. He was 74.
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“After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening,” Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman, told NBC News.
Ali had suffered for three decades from Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive neurological condition that slowly robbed him of both his legendary verbal grace and his physical dexterity. A funeral service is planned in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
Even as his health declined, Ali did not shy from politics or controversy, releasing a statement in December criticizing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. “We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda,” he said.
The remark bookended the life of a man who burst into the national consciousness in the early 1960s, when as a young heavyweight champion he converted to Islam and refused to serve in the Vietnam War, and became an emblem of strength, eloquence, conscience and courage. Ali was an anti-establishment showman who transcended borders and barriers, race and religion. His fights against other men became spectacles, but he embodied much greater battles.
Born Cassius Clay on Jan. 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, to middle-class parents, Ali started boxing when he was 12, winning Golden Gloves titles before heading to the 1960 Olympics in Rome, where he won a gold medal as a light heavyweight.
He turned professional shortly afterward, supported at first by Louisville business owners who guaranteed him an unprecedented 50-50 split in earnings. His knack for talking up his own talents — often in verse — earned him the dismissive nickname “the Louisville Lip,” but he backed up his talk with action, relocating to Miami to train with the legendary trainer Angelo Dundee and build a case for getting a shot at the heavyweight title.
As his profile rose, Ali acted out against American racism. After he was refused services at a soda fountain counter, he said, he threw his Olympic gold medal into a river.
Recoiling from the sport’s tightly knit community of agents and promoters, Ali found guidance instead from the Nation of Islam, an American Muslim sect that advocated racial separation and rejected the pacifism of most civil rights activism. Inspired by Malcolm X, one of the group’s leaders, he converted in 1963. But he kept his new faith a secret until the crown was safely in hand.
That came the following year, when heavyweight champion Sonny Liston agreed to fight Ali. The challenger geared up for the bout with a litany of insults and rhymes, including the line, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” He beat the fearsome Liston in a sixth-round technical knockout before a stunned Miami Beach crowd. In the ring, Ali proclaimed, “I am the greatest! I am the greatest! I’m the king of the world.”
A Controversial Champion
The new champion soon renounced Cassius Clay as his “slave name” and said he would be known from then on as Muhammad Ali — bestowed by Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad. He was 22 years old.
The move split sports fans and the broader American public: an American sports champion rejecting his birth name and adopting one that sounded subversive.
Image: Muhammad Ali
Speaking at a press conference in Chicago on Sept. 25, 1970, deposed world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali “Cassius Clay” said he might fight Jerry Quarry in New York if Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox succeeds in halting the scheduled Atlanta bout. Charles Kolenovsky / AP, file
Ali successfully defended his title six times, including a rematch with Liston. Then, in 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War, Ali was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army.
He’d said previously that the war did not comport with his faith, and that he had “no quarrel” with America’s enemy, the Vietcong. He refused to serve.
“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, some poor, hungry people in the mud, for big powerful America, and shoot them for what?” Ali said in an interview. “They never called me nigger. They never lynched me. They didn’t put no dogs on me.”
His stand culminated with an April appearance at an Army recruiting station, where he refused to step forward when his name was called. The reaction was swift and harsh. He was stripped of his boxing title, convicted of draft evasion and sentenced to five years in prison.
Released on appeal but unable to fight or leave the country, Ali turned to the lecture circuit, speaking on college campuses, where he engaged in heated debates, pointing out the hypocrisy of denying rights to blacks even as they were ordered to fight the country’s battles abroad.
“My enemy is the white people, not Vietcongs or Chinese or Japanese,” Ali told one white student who challenged his draft avoidance. “You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. You won’t even stand up for me in America for my religious beliefs and you want me to go somewhere and fight but you won’t even stand up for me here at home.”
Ali’s fiery commentary was praised by antiwar activists and black nationalists and vilified by conservatives, including many other athletes and sportswriters.
His appeal took four years to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, which in June 1971 reversed the conviction in a unanimous decision that found the Department of Justice had improperly told the draft board that Ali’s stance wasn’t motivated by religious belief.
Return to the Ring
Toward the end of his legal saga, Georgia agreed to issue Ali a boxing license, which allowed him to fight Jerry Quarry, whom he beat. Six months later, at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, he lost to Joe Frazier in a 15-round duel touted as “the fight of the century.” It was Ali’s first defeat as a pro.
That fight began one of boxing’s and sport’s greatest rivalries. Ali and Frazier fought again in 1974, after Frazier had lost his crown. This time, Ali won in a unanimous decision, making him the lead challenger for the heavyweight title.
He took it from George Foreman later that year in a fight in Zaire dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle,” a spectacularly hyped bout for which Ali moved to Africa for the summer, followed by crowds of chanting locals wherever he went. A three-day music festival featuring James Brown and B.B. King preceded the fight. Finally, Ali delivered a historic performance in the ring, employing a new strategy dubbed the “rope-a-dope,” goading the favored Foreman into attacking him, then leaning back into the ropes in a defensive stance and waiting for Foreman to tire. Ali then went on the attack, knocking out Foreman in the eighth round. The maneuver has been copied by many other champions since.
The third fight in the Ali-Frazier trilogy followed in 1975, the “Thrilla in Manila” that is now regarded as one of the best boxing matches of all time. Ali won in a technical knockout in the 15th round.
Ali successfully defended his title until 1978, when he was beaten by a young Leon Spinks, and then quickly took it back. He retired in 1979, when he was 37, but, seeking to replenish his dwindling personal fortune, returned in 1980 for a title match against Larry Holmes, which he lost. Ali lost again, to Trevor Berbick, the following year. Finally, Ali retired for good.
‘He’s Human, Like Us’
The following year, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
“I’m in no pain,” he told The New York Times. “A slight slurring of my speech, a little tremor. Nothing critical. If I was in perfect health — if I had won my last two fights — if I had no problem, people would be afraid of me. Now they feel sorry for me. They thought I was Superman. Now they can go, ‘He’s human, like us. He has problems.’ ”
Even as his health gradually declined, Ali — who switched to more mainstream branches of Islam — threw himself into humanitarian causes, traveling to Lebanon in 1985 and Iraq in 1990 to seek the release of American hostages. In 1996, he lit the Olympic flame in Atlanta, lifting the torch with shaking arms. With each public appearance he seemed more feeble, a stark contrast to his outsized aura. He continued to be one of the most recognizable people in the world.
He traveled incessantly for many years, crisscrossing the globe in appearances in which he made money but also pushed philanthropic causes. He met with presidents, royalty, heads of state, the Pope. He told “People” magazine that his largest regret was not playing a more intimate role in the raising of his children. But he said he did not regret boxing. “If I wasn’t a boxer, I wouldn’t be famous,” he said. “If I wasn’t famous, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing now.”
In 2005, President George W. Bush honored Ali with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and his hometown of Louisville opened the Muhammad Ali Center, chronicling his life but also as a forum for promoting tolerance and respect.
Divorced three times and the father of nine children — one of whom, Laila, become a boxer — Ali married his last wife, Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams, in 1986; they lived for a long time in Berrien Springs, Michigan, then moved to Arizona.
In recent years, Ali’s health began to suffer dramatically. There was a death scare in 2013, and last year he was rushed to the hospital after being found unresponsive. He recovered and returned to his new home in Arizona.
In his final years, Ali was barely able to speak. Asked to share his personal philosophy with NPR in 2009, Ali let his wife read his essay:
“I never thought of the possibility of failing, only of the fame and glory I was going to get when I won,” Ali wrote. “I could see it. I could almost feel it. When I proclaimed that I was the greatest of all time, I believed in myself, and I still do.”
UG-DP10 Publicity Team