Ben Kiwanuka memorial lecture on today

Left to right: Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah, President Museveni and First Lady Janet at the unveiling of the Ben Kiwanuka monument in Kampala last year. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Retired Supreme Court judge Jotham Tumwesigye is expected to deliver the keynote address, according to organizers.

The annual Benedicto Kiwanuka memorial lecture is on Thursday with the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo calling upon justice and peace lovers to mirror his life.

This is the 6th annual memorial lecture which is themed: “Enhancing Judicial Accountability, Transparency and the Rule of Law.”

The celebrations will be held at the Judiciary headquarters in Kampala starting 9am with President Museveni expected to be chief guest.

Kiwanuka, the first Ugandan born chief justice of the country, was, 51 years ago today, (1972), dragged out of his chambers at the High Court in Kampala by soldiers of the Idi Amin regime, and he or his remains have never been seen.

“Kiwanuka played a big role in the promotion of the observance of the rule of law and respect for human rights for which he paid the ultimate price; we are called upon to mirror the life of the indomitable Ben Kiwanuka,” Dollo said in a Wednesday statement ahead of the lecture.

Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera, who is also chair of the event organizing committee, said that the day is about the “respect for the rule of law and judiciary independence.”

Retired Supreme Court judge Jotham Tumwesigye is expected to deliver the keynote address, according to organizers.

Earlier in the week, Kampala Archdiocese director of Justice and Peace Department, Fr Emmanuel Sita, urged good governance in memory of Kiwanuka.

"Despite the challenges on the 1960s due to political turbulence, he advocated strongly for justice. This must have led to his disappearance on September 22, 1972,” he told journalists in Kampala on Tuesday in light of a memorial mass planned for Thursday.

The 7pm mass will be graced by Kampala Archbishop Paul Ssemogerere and Papal Nuncio Emeritus, Augustine Kasujja.

Every year, Kampala Archdiocese observes September as a month of peace, an initiative started by the Archbishop Ssemogerere.

Who was Benedicto Kiwanuka?

Benedicto Kiwanuka is remembered for being a selfless defender of human rights and rule of law; for which he was killed by soldiers loyal to former Ugandan president Idi Amin. Born in 1922, Kiwanuka was an accomplished advocate of the High Court, head of the Democratic Party, chief minister of Uganda's Self Government (1961-62) and Uganda's first Prime Minister (March-April 1962).

In December 1969, he was one of the political prisoners taken to Luzira Prison by the Milton Obote government. He was in January 1971 released by Idi Amin, following a coup, and subsequently named Chief Justice by Amin in March 1971. He was on September 21, 1971 kidnapped from his Chief Justice Chambers at the High Court in Kampala by state agents of the Idi Amin regime, never to be seen again.