Museveni attacks Amin over Kiwanuka killing

Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo (centre) and former Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda (2nd right)  with other officials at the Benedicto Kiwanuka Memorial Lecture in Kampala yesterday. PHOTOs/ MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

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The President wondered what the motive of Amin was in killing Kiwanuka, one of the most elite citizens in the country at the time.

President Museveni yesterday used the Benedicto Kiwanuka Memorial Lecture to lash out at former leader Idi Amin over the kidnap and killing of Uganda’s first chief justice.

The President wondered what the motive of Amin was in killing Kiwanuka, one of the most elite citizens in the country at the time.

“If the head of the third arm of government could be dragged from his chambers in broad day light, and summarily executed, one does not need to have ordinary powers beyond imaginations, to guess the fate of millions of ordinary Ugandans with Amin’s bloody regime,” Mr Museveni said in his speech read by former Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda in Kampala.

Adding: “What was the justification for killing the first Ugandan Chief Justice? Benedicto Kiwanuka was highly trained in matters of law, he was an experienced political leader, having served in several portfolios as the first chief minister, and also leader of the Democratic Party.”

‘Country deprived’

The President wondered why Amin deprived the country of the services of such a great leader.

“How did he hope to build the country without the input of professionals such as Benedicto Kiwanuka?” he said.

Mr Museveni further said if there had been disagreements between Amin and Kiwanuka, it was possible to resolve them without resorting to cruel and cowardly methods. The President also said both Amin and Kiwanuka have since died but the former has left a better legacy than his killer.

“Today, both Amin and Benedicto Kiwanuka are long dead, however, their legacies differ; Benedict Kiwanuka’s stands out as for having stood for truth and justice while his murderer Idi Amin will forever, be associated with shame and dishonor,” he said.

Kiwanuka, the first Ugandan Chief Justice, was 51 years ago yesterday (1972), dragged out of his chambers at the High Court in Kampala by soldiers of the Idi Amin regime and has never been seen again, not even his remains.

Call for dialogue

Speaking at the same event in Kampala, Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo called for the spirit of dialogue when disputes emerge than letting angry people pick arms in the process.

“Why don’t we speak peace to ensure that people don’t have to take up arms when they are discontent?” he wondered.

“If Uganda was a country where we speak to one another, informally and formally, if Uganda was a country where people would ask or seek to know to understand better what they did not…, we would not be here today commemorating Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka,” he added.

Likewise, the president of the Uganda Law Society, Mr Bernard Oundo, called upon the Judiciary to exercise transparency and make the recruitment process of judges transparent.

“My lord if we do not have a transparent processes, we may continue to appoint acting judges and acting magistrates and end up with an acting Judiciary because sooner or later every judicial officer will be acting and perhaps end up with acting judgments,” said Mr Oundo.