I have read with great amusement comments from Ugandans At Heart(UAH) forum. It seems there is a very hot argument about what happened to the late Dr Andrew Lutakome Kayiira and the relationship I had with him. I am going to, hopefully, once and for the last time, explain this relationship. I am not being forced by anybody to contribute to your members as I believe I have explained myself for so many years now. But this is the first time I have addressed the issue on a website.
There has been a lot of conspiracy theories regarding my relationship with Dr Kayiira. Most have been so hurting and painful to me and my family. Questions have been raised as to how Dr Kayiira came to stay at my house and not at anybody else’s. There has also been conspiracy theories that in someway, I was privy to Dr Kayiira’s finances and that when he came out of prison he wanted to know where his money was. These are pathetic conspiracies mostly engineered by those who are bent on seeing that the killers of Dr Kayiira are never brought to book.
Nobody should ever doubt how much I would like to see Kayiira’s killers brought to justice.. But every time the theory conspirators engage in telling the world that I had anything to do with his death, those who fall for their tricks help in making sure that attention is driven away from the killers and those who planned this assassination. I believe these killers (apart from those that have since died) are still roaming the streets of Kampala believing that they got away with murder. But let me tell them this: Whatever it takes and however long it will be, one day they will be brought to justice.
As I have already explained in newspapers worldwide, TV (BBC 2 Newsnight) and on Ugandan and foreign radios about how Kayiira was gunned down in my house, I want to use this opportunity to dioscuss some of the conspiracy theories below.
CONSPIRACY THEORY ONE:
I had been taking care of Andrew’s finances and I had fallen out with Kayiira!
This is indeed a fallacy! Andrew was Chairman of the Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM). This was a big organisation that had him at the top. It meant there were many people below him holding offices as is always the case in similar organisations. I have never been a member of the UFM so I could not have held any position in an organisation where I wasn’t even a member.. To this day, all I know about the UFM is through mostly my academic research here in the United Kingdom. At the time when Andrew was alive, I did not know much about the UFM apart from what every journalist like me knew at that time.
I believe organisations like UFM have Treasury Secretary or those that look after their finances. To this day no such official has ever come forward to claim I was handling any of their monies. Can anybody believe that any organisation wanting to fund a guerrilla movement like the UFM would have channelled their aid through a journalist filing stories for the BBC, the Nairobi Standard, New African and African Concord? Anybody knows that this, for a journalist, would have made very good copy. The fact is I have never been UFM’s financier nor has anybody ever approached me to handle its money. The last few days of Kayiira’s life were spent with friends who looked after him, bought and always paid drinks for him and fed him. While in prison, friends rallied together to collect funds to look after him and pay for his lawyers. I am happy to have been one of thiose friends who was approached for help while Andrew was in prison and I obliged without hesitation.
It should be noted here that I knew Dr Kayiira for a very short period. But our relationship was very much strengthened when he gave me protection while the NRA were shooting their way to power. We all stayed indoors most of this time particularly myself, as I was afraid to be seen on the streets. Staying in close quarters with people often brings them closer.
Therefore there is not a thread of truth that at anytime, Andrew and I had fallen out. He liked me, no doubt and I adored him, but that is where it stopped. Our association grew when he asked me to accompany him on a tour of Western Uganda when he was Energy Minister. What Andrew was doing at that time was rare as Ugandan ministers often never asked journalists to accompany them on tours. But having lived abroad for a long time and as a university professor in Boston, Massachusetts, Andrew was doing what every politician in the West does. They take prominent journalists around with them to record what they (the politicians) are doing. Are you aware how many journalists Prime Minister Gordon Brown usually travels with? Or ho0w many are now travelling with the US President here at the G20 summit? Loads!
CONSPIRACY THEORY TWO: I was working for the NRA!
How stupid! How low can anyone go in advancing such a theory? What am I doing here in Europe 23 years since leaving Uganda if I was a NRA stooge that tricked Dr Kayiira to come and stay at my house? FACT: I invited Kayiira to my house because he had saved my life when the Okello’s threatened me. He gave me 24 hour protection until the NRA captured power and secured Kampala. Finding him squeezed into a one-bed-roomed flat belonging to his cousin, I thought that since this was the very fellow who had protected me I owed it to him to take him into decent accommodation. My only regret is that I failed to return his favour. Contrary to the belief of those cowards who gunned him down, Andrew had no plans to stage a coup against Museveni. Those cowards know themselves. They are the ones who ahve kept quiet and not uttered a word about the many times, Andrew attempted to see Museveni after his release, saying that he could talk to the rebels who were causing problems in the North and that he believed he could persuade them to stop fighting. But every time he tried to make an appointment with Museveni, the door was cruelly banged shut against him.. One of your bloggers thinks I was an NRA spy because I was the one who told Museveni that the Okellos had overthrow Obote. While it is true that I did tell Museveni about Obote’s overthrow, there is no truth whatsoever that I was doing this because of being an NRA spy. FACT: I called Museveni in Gutenberg, Sweden after my bosses at the BBC in London gave me his number and asked me to call him to get a comment about the Okello coup. So calling Museveni was to do with my job as a journalist and nothing to do with the spy conspiracy.
CONSPIRACY THEORY THREE: Where did I get the wealth to live in a 14.5 million house?
I have never lived in a house this expensive and I have no idea where the figure came from. The house I was renting at Gaba was at UgShs3 million a year. I was able to afford this amount because while I may have been working for Ngabo and the Star, I was already freelancing for the BBC programme Focus On Africa, a monthly stipend with the Nairobi Standard newspaper, the weekly African Concord, then based in London, articles for the New African and Africa Now magazines. These paid me in foreign currency and I was easily able to transfer this in Uganda currency and afford such a house.
The money I was paid for my work as News Editor of The Star only paid for fuel for my car. At that time I remember I was one of only about four Ugandans journalists who made most of their earnings through foreign news organisations. We were all relatively well off compared to our fellow colleagues in Uganda.
The killing of Dr Kayiira completely turned my life around.I lost so much money in contracts I had captured with the foreign media. I have had to start my life all over again. The only positive I can take from my exiled life is the fact that I have educated myself to such a degree that I am in a very good position to understand why Africa is the way it is today. Had I been in Uganda all these past 23 years, I doubt whether I would have accumulated the kind of knowledge my poor and exiled life has enable me to achieve.
Throughout this period no one seems to have taken a step back and wondered how it feels to lose a close friend and read every day of your life conspiracy theories that you could have been part of the plot to kill him. No one has had the courage to come out and speak against these theories and no one has spared a thought about my dear wife who was the last person to see Dr Kayiira breathe his last breath. And no one seems to care what effects the killing of Dr Kayiira has had on my life and that of the immediate members of my family.
No one seems to question why some former senior ranking officers of the UFM have chosen to stay quiet and neither come out in my defence, nor speak out against me. No one has question why people like Francis Bwengye who was UFM Secretary General at first fled Uganda soon after Kayiira was killed and is now living comfortable in Kampala. No one has questioned the acceptance of ambassadorial posts by Dan Ssozi, a former close friend of Dr Kayiira. And while I have not stepped on the African continent for more than 23 years now, no one seems to question why so many have come to London and claimed asylum saying they had been Kayiira’s supporters and on getting their immigration status take the next plane back home.
When crimes are committed, the police usually look for a motive. Does anyone in their sane minds really believe that an ordinary journalist like me would have planned and carried out the killing of a leader of a guerrilla movement? I may be academically clever but I doubt whether I would have managed this assignment. It was a professional job done but professional killers. I have never been one. No one has taken much interest in comments made by a Uganda police dog handler who categorically stated that police dogs followed a scent from my house to lubiri barracks and inside, they found my wife’s handbag. Why has no onwe said anything aboyut this? What was my wife’s handbag doing at the end of the police dog scent inside Lubiri barracks? Am I wrong then in thinking that I have been purposely made a scape goat?
I hope I have given you guys something to think about and it is my prayer that you help me find who killed Kayiira. It is a job I intend to do as long as I am alive. It is a job that every peace loving Ugandan should be doing now. On his release from Luzira prison, Museveni told journalists in Kampala: “Kayiira may have been released by the courts. We in the NRA believe he was atttempting to overthrow the government. And we will follow him. If anyone is looking for a motive, shouldn’t they be starting here? And that is one reason I have refused to return to Uganda as I believe this can be done better while I am here. As long as the NRM is in power, Kayiira’s killers may never be brought to justice but as a historian I can only say that history repeats itself. The Museveni regime is here today. It will be gone tomorrow. And then, the search will resume on homeland.
This is the only and last time I will speak on this issue.
Regarding Ngabo Radio, I am happy to report that I will be presenting an English show every Saturday starting May 19, 2009. I am writing this while covering the G20 summit in the Excel Centre East London. I will be away for two weeks and will start the show on Saturday 19th. The show will be the English version of Tuula Twogere, the Luganda show I have been hosting for the last three weeks. We intend to bring on the show several important people to help us understand the problems we have in Uganda today. Ngabo Radio is for all Ugandans and not only for the Baganda. It may have started with Luganda but rest assured that we want each and every Ugandan tio feel free to participate in the shows as this is the only voice at the moment Ugandans have to voice their concerns with fear or favour, knowing that after the show, they will return to their homes without having to look over their shoulders wondering whether anyone is following them. So I urge you to join in by calling the show to say whatevere they want and let everyone know about the radio.
A luta continua!
Journalist/Ugandan residing in the UK