I’ve been asked many times if I can continue with the revolution now that I know what I know. My answer has always been and will always be affirmative. I regret that people had to die as a result of the revolt. However, I believe that if we had not started the revolt, even more people would have died. Our mission was not to destroy but to free the oppressed.
I recall the first time we sat down with Colonel Martinez to talk about the possibilities of a revolt. Martinez was an undergraduate political science student at the time, and I was a new politician annoyed by the injustice of state administrative bodies. Martinez expressed reservations about a revolution. He cited that we would both be risking our careers and safety given that we were not as influential at the time.
It was not until 4 months later that we met once to discuss the possibility of starting a movement that would address political imposition and corruption in our society. I felt that the time was right since certain prominent figures from the opposition parties had gone missing. It was our duty to demand accountability in the face of impositions such as was occasioned by the state at the time. We discussed the technicalities of the project and realized that the biggest obstacle was occasioned by a griping lack of funds.
To address the funding issue, I informed Martinez that we would have to rally all members of the segmented political parties if we were to achieve a milestone in our call for good governance. The members would all contribute equally and according to their abilities towards the projects that were initiated under the movement. I personally committed 60% of my wealth to ensuring that the goals of the movement had been met. Years later I would recount this when we were imprisoned and Martinez would laugh at the gripping determination that I had projected at the time.
The next challenge in the project had been to determine an effective way to oversee our goals. Violence had never been a priority at the time. We had decided to integrate a peaceful accord in calling for the improvement of services in the region. Other priorities that formed part of our institution included the need for inclusivity in the government, the improvement of educational and health settings. It had never been our goal to engage the police and state security agencies in running battles. Our movement was inspired by real and collective social challenges. We were not only seeking redress for political impositions but also economic and social justice.
That we later became violent was a culmination of the government’s relentless purge on our initiatives. Our offices were raided by the police and documents burnt. Our children were kidnapped and our wives were raped. Violence was the only option left to us. We had no choice but to protect ourselves against the injustices. After a series of attacks, I informed Martinez that it was time to move into the forest. Martinez was a cautious and informed that perhaps there was another medium by which we could address the stalemate. However, we both knew that we had exhausted all of the options available to us. The media had illegalized our movement and the international community had completely ignored the course. The forest and the guns were the only options left to us and on the 21st of November 1992, we packed our bags, organized our families and made our way deep into the forest.