Mother of Besigye accuser asks President to help trace daughter

Ms Joanita Kyakuwa  (left) who falsely accused Dr Kizza Besigye of rape.  PHOTO / FILE

What you need to know:

  • Ms Kyakuwa’s name became prominent when she falsely accused Opposition stalwart Dr Kizza Besigye of rape between 1997 and 1998.

An elderly woman claiming to be the mother of Joanita Kyakuwa is pleading for information about the whereabouts of her daughter after not seeing her physically for more than two decades.

Ms Kyakuwa’s name became prominent when she falsely accused Opposition stalwart Dr Kizza Besigye of rape between 1997 and 1998.

 In 2006, then High Court judge John Bosco Katutsi acquitted Dr Besigye ahead of what turned out to be a hotly contested presidential race between the latter and President Museveni.

In his 2006 verdict, Justice Katutsi described the investigations headed by then CID boss Elizabeth Kutesa as “crude…amateurish” and betrayed the intentions behind the case.

Current Electoral Commission boss Simon Byabakama prosecuted the case on behalf of the state while current Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera was the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Ms Kyakuwa had in her testimony told court that—between 1997 and 1998—Dr Besigye was her guardian. She added that she went to live at his home in Luzira in 1997 after writing her A-Level examinations.

Explaining her relationship, Ms Kyakuwa said her aunt, Sauda Kibirige, was a friend of Dr Besigye’s wife—Ms Winnie Byanyima (the current executive director of UNAIDS and an under-secretary-general of the United Nations).

“Since she went to school I have only seen [my daughter] in the news saying that Dr Besigye raped her,” Joweria Namatovu of Katooma Village, Rwangabo Parish, Rugaaga Isingiro District in Western Uganda said, adding, “Since then I have not seen her. All those concerned, especially the President, I request you to give me my daughter so she can see me.”

Speaking in Runyankore, Ms Namatovu further said : “I am looking for my daughter Joanita Kyakuwa. I last saw her 25 years ago when she left home to join university and the next time I saw her, she was on TV and was saying she had been raped by Kizza Besigye.”

“I am asking the President to show me my daughter. If she is dead, let them show me where she is buried. For now, I continue crying for my daughter. She has never called me, contacted me. I just want to know where she is.”

During Dr Besigye’s trial, Ms Kyakuwa told court that since 2001 she has been staying at the State House in Entebbe under the protection of the Presidential Guard Brigade (PGB) because she was afraid for her life.

The force responsible for the protection of the President and other key national assets has since morphed into the Special Forces Command.

Until his elevation as Land Forces commander of the UPDF, the SFC was largely under the command of President Museveni’s son—Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Senior Presidential Press Secretary Linda Nabusayi promised to check with the relevant offices, but also advised Saturday Monitor to crosscheck with the police in case Ms Kyakuwa is missing.

“That was a long time ago. Let me follow up with the relevant offices and revert,” she said.

Little has been heard of Ms Kyakuwa since the infamous case in the early 2000s.

In 2018, the son of the late Ayisha Kiguli who was a state witness, told The Observer newspaper that his mother was forced to spy after being planted at Dr Besigye’s home. He added that she was later compelled to tell lies in court as a state witness with promises of a good life that never materialised. Ms Kiguli died in August 2006, a death which her family describes as suspicious.

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