How Ankole prince was arrested from his offices by Amin’s men

Sunday March 21 2021
people03pix
By Faustin Mugabe

When former president Milton Obote was ousted by Idi Amin in January 1971, the army issued a statement giving 18 reasons why it had toppled Obote. 

The document was read by Warrant Officer II Sam Wilfred Aswa on Radio Uganda on the afternoon of January 25, 1971, hours after the coup. 

“It has been necessary to take action to save a bad situation from getting worse,” the statement read in part. “(1) the unwarranted detention without trial and for long periods of large number of people, many of whom are totally innocent of any charges.” 

“(3) Lack of freedom in airing of different views on political and social matters, and (4) the frequent loss of life and property arising from almost daily cases of robbery with violence and ‘kondoism’ without strong measures being taken to stop them. The people feel totally insecure and yet ‘kondoism’ increases every day.”

However, arrests and disappearance of people only increased a year later after Ugandan rebels attacked from Tanzania.
Part of the group that attacked Mbarara was the Front for National Salvation (Fronasa) of Yoweri Museveni who hailed from the Ankole area. 

The rebels attacked Mbarara and Rakai towns on September 16, 1972, but were repulsed. 

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Rebels attack Mbarara, spark arrests
In Mbarara, the rebels attacked Simba Barracks, but were repelled by soldiers. 

Few rebels were killed in action and many were captured either by the Uganda Army or wananchi while fleeing.
A parade was arranged inside Simba, now Mbarara Barracks, for the public to identify the rebels as some were known to come from Ankole.

Indeed, many were identified and good intelligence was got. Some of the captured rebels had connections to the Ankole Kingdom royal family. 

The Uganda Argus and Munno newspapers published pictures of some of the rebels. The army issued a statement warning Ugandans assisting or refusing to handle over the rebels to the authorities. 

Amin assigned a loyal police officer, born and raised in Ankole, Superintendent of Police (SP) Rwakanengere, who tirelessly worked with the military and notorious State Research Bureau (SRB) to trace and arrest the rebel collaborators in the Ankole. 

As a result, Prince Patrick Ruhinda, son of late king of Ankole Charles Gashyonga, and Charles Kakuru were arrested by SRB agents in December 1972.

 To this date, they have never been seen again. When the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government came to power in 1986, they instituted a commission of inquiry to investigate violation of human rights from October 9, 1962, to January 25, 1986. The commission was chaired by Justice Arthur Oder. 

Ruhinda’s arrest revealed
On August 30, 1988, at the International Conference Centre, now Kampala Serena Hotel, the story of Prince Ruhinda and Kakuru’s arrests were retold by his younger brother, 38-year-old Prince Fred Gasyonga. 
Gasyonga testified as witness number 129 to the commission. He said he witnessed the arrest carried out by Amin’s notorious secret service agents. He was a clerk at Ruhinda and Mulira Advocates where his brother was a partner. 
According to Gasyonga, Ruhinda was arrested on December 22, 1972, from the Ruhinda and Mulira Advocates offices by three men dressed in civilian clothes, each armed with a pistol. They claimed they were taking Ruhinda and Kakuru to make a statement. 
Gasyonga said Ruhinda wanted to make a statement in his chambers, but the men refused. Ruhinda and Kakuru were then forced into a blue Fiat saloon car by their tormentors who claimed they were being taking to Jinja Road Police Station. That was the last time they were ever seen in public.

Suspicious calls
When Gasyonga was testifying before the commission, he revealed that Ruhinda used to get international telephone calls, but without revealing from which country. 
When Justice Oder asked Gasyonga if he thought Ruhinda was arrested because of the telephone calls he used to receive from abroad, Gasyonga said he was not sure, but adding that they were business calls from John Wycliffe Kazoora, who used to travel to Europe.

Kazoora was building a house in Mbarara and would regularly call Ruhinda and Kakuru to deliver money to his home. 

Justice Oder asked Gasyonga whether he tried looking for Ruhinda after he was arrested. In response, Gasyonga said he did not because he feared for his life.

Earlier, Gasyonga had also mentioned that some senior army officers such as Brig Moses Ali, Maj Onzi and Maj Isaac Maliyamungu regularly visited Ruhinda at his chambers because they were friends. 

Amin pardons Kazoora, goes to exile
After Ruhinda disappeared, Kazoora fled to exile in Kenya. Kazoora and current First Lady Janet Museveni were cousins.

When Amin exerted pressure on Kenya to handover Kazoora, Britain offered Kazoora asylum.  Gasyonga told the commission that when Amin announced the nationalisation of foreign companies in 1972, the British American Tobacco (BAT) headquarters in the US wrote to the BAT (U) requesting its director, Kazoora, to negotiate terms of its shares with the Uganda government. 

But the letter was intercepted at Post Office in Kampala by security agents and taken to president Amin who had suspected Kazoora had links with Americans working against his regime.
 
Kazoora was summoned by Amin to his office, and he was able to convince Amin that the exchanges with the Americans had nothing against the Uganda government. 

Amin bought Kazoora’s explanation, and he was set free. But days later, Kazoora fled to exile.

How Ankole prince was arrested from his offices by Amin’s men

FAUSTIN MUGABE

When former president Milton Obote was ousted by Idi Amin in January 1971, the army issued a statement giving 18 reasons why it had toppled Obote. 

The document was read by Warrant Officer II Sam Wilfred Aswa on Radio Uganda on the afternoon of January 25, 1971, hours after the coup. 

“It has been necessary to take action to save a bad situation from getting worse,” the statement read in part. “(1) the unwarranted detention without trial and for long periods of large number of people, many of whom are totally innocent of any charges.” 

“(3) Lack of freedom in airing of different views on political and social matters, and (4) the frequent loss of life and property arising from almost daily cases of robbery with violence and ‘kondoism’ without strong measures being taken to stop them. The people feel totally insecure and yet ‘kondoism’ increases every day.”

However, arrests and disappearance of people only increased a year later after Ugandan rebels attacked from Tanzania.
Part of the group that attacked Mbarara was the Front for National Salvation (Fronasa) of Yoweri Museveni who hailed from the Ankole area. 

The rebels attacked Mbarara and Rakai towns on September 16, 1972, but were repulsed. 

Rebels attack Mbarara, spark arrests
In Mbarara, the rebels attacked Simba Barracks, but were repelled by soldiers. 

Few rebels were killed in action and many were captured either by the Uganda Army or wananchi while fleeing.
A parade was arranged inside Simba, now Mbarara Barracks, for the public to identify the rebels as some were known to come from Ankole.

Indeed, many were identified and good intelligence was got. Some of the captured rebels had connections to the Ankole Kingdom royal family. 

The Uganda Argus and Munno newspapers published pictures of some of the rebels. The army issued a statement warning Ugandans assisting or refusing to handle over the rebels to the authorities. 

Amin assigned a loyal police officer, born and raised in Ankole, Superintendent of Police (SP) Rwakanengere, who tirelessly worked with the military and notorious State Research Bureau (SRB) to trace and arrest the rebel collaborators in the Ankole. 

As a result, Prince Patrick Ruhinda, son of late king of Ankole Charles Gashyonga, and Charles Kakuru were arrested by SRB agents in December 1972.

 To this date, they have never been seen again. When the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government came to power in 1986, they instituted a commission of inquiry to investigate violation of human rights from October 9, 1962, to January 25, 1986. The commission was chaired by Justice Arthur Oder. 

Ruhinda’s arrest revealed
On August 30, 1988, at the International Conference Centre, now Kampala Serena Hotel, the story of Prince Ruhinda and Kakuru’s arrests were retold by his younger brother, 38-year-old Prince Fred Gasyonga. 
Gasyonga testified as witness number 129 to the commission. He said he witnessed the arrest carried out by Amin’s notorious secret service agents. He was a clerk at Ruhinda and Mulira Advocates where his brother was a partner. 
According to Gasyonga, Ruhinda was arrested on December 22, 1972, from the Ruhinda and Mulira Advocates offices by three men dressed in civilian clothes, each armed with a pistol. They claimed they were taking Ruhinda and Kakuru to make a statement. 
Gasyonga said Ruhinda wanted to make a statement in his chambers, but the men refused. Ruhinda and Kakuru were then forced into a blue Fiat saloon car by their tormentors who claimed they were being taking to Jinja Road Police Station. That was the last time they were ever seen in public.

Suspicious calls
When Gasyonga was testifying before the commission, he revealed that Ruhinda used to get international telephone calls, but without revealing from which country. 
When Justice Oder asked Gasyonga if he thought Ruhinda was arrested because of the telephone calls he used to receive from abroad, Gasyonga said he was not sure, but adding that they were business calls from John Wycliffe Kazoora, who used to travel to Europe.

Kazoora was building a house in Mbarara and would regularly call Ruhinda and Kakuru to deliver money to his home. 

Justice Oder asked Gasyonga whether he tried looking for Ruhinda after he was arrested. In response, Gasyonga said he did not because he feared for his life.

Earlier, Gasyonga had also mentioned that some senior army officers such as Brig Moses Ali, Maj Onzi and Maj Isaac Maliyamungu regularly visited Ruhinda at his chambers because they were friends. 

Amin pardons Kazoora, goes to exile
After Ruhinda disappeared, Kazoora fled to exile in Kenya. Kazoora and current First Lady Janet Museveni were cousins.

When Amin exerted pressure on Kenya to handover Kazoora, Britain offered Kazoora asylum.  Gasyonga told the commission that when Amin announced the nationalisation of foreign companies in 1972, the British American Tobacco (BAT) headquarters in the US wrote to the BAT (U) requesting its director, Kazoora, to negotiate terms of its shares with the Uganda government. 

But the letter was intercepted at Post Office in Kampala by security agents and taken to president Amin who had suspected Kazoora had links with Americans working against his regime.
 Kazoora was summoned by Amin to his office, and he was able to convince Amin that the exchanges with the Americans had nothing against the Uganda government. 

Amin bought Kazoora’s explanation, and he was set free. But days later, Kazoora fled to exile.


 

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