Benedicto Kiwanuka remembered!
President Yoweri Museveni has described the late former chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka as ‘a forthright person’ and warned citizens in authority against killing others
Benedicto Kiwanuka was the first prime minister of Uganda, a leader of the Democratic Party, and one of the persons that led the country in the transition between colonial British rule and independence according to Wikipedia.
President Museveni was the chief guest at the event organised by the judiciary to remember the works of the former premier and chief justice in Kampala.
Museveni accompanied by wife Janet Museveni, hailed Kiwanuka by stating: “I am very glad that the judiciary has remembered Ex-Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka. A man who does not remember is an ingrate.”
The President glorified: “Kiwanuka was a forthright person, he told the people of Mengo the truth! Had people like Obote been like him, we would not have had the 1966 crisis.”
He went on to reveal: “And this is how the NRM followed in Kiwanuka’s footsteps. In the CA they brought all these, Federal, etc we said NO, yes you can come back as traditional leaders but no powers of legislation, taxation, or administration.”
Museveni regretted: “But still, some groups go around whispering things.”
He warned: “The people who killed Benedicto Kiwanuka and other people thought they were very smart. I want to ask some of them who were in the previous governments. This is a good lesson to people in authority that sooner or later, you will be accountable.”
Chief Justice Owino Dollo promised in his remembrance speech: “The President said we can deploy a Grade One magistrate in every sub-county. I hope we do this when I still head this institution.”
On torture, Owino Dollo regretted: “We continue to witness victims of torture presented in court and unsubstantial evidence presented to court. All these pour water on the memory of Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka.”
Who is Benedicto Kiwanuka?
A member of the Baganda ethnic group, Benedicto Kiwanuka was born in Kisabwa to Kaketo-Namugera (father) and was a member of the Roman Catholic Church.
He was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in February 1956.
As a result of the September 1961 Uganda Constitutional Conference held in London, Uganda achieved internal self-government on 1 March 1962. Kiwanuka became Uganda’s first prime minister in the new National Assembly.
New elections, however, were held in April 1962, with Kiwanuka’s party losing to the alliance of Milton Obote’s Uganda People’s Congress and the Buganda traditionalist party, Kabaka Yekka. In addition, Kiwanuka’s Catholicism made him unpopular with his fellow Buganda, a mainly Protestant people. Uganda achieved independence on 9 October 1962, with Obote as the first prime minister of a fully independent Uganda.
Kiwanuka was imprisoned in 1969 by Obote’s government, but was one of 55 political detainees released by Idi Amin immediately after the coup that brought Amin to power. Amin appointed him as chief justice of Uganda on 27 June 1971.
Kiwanuka soon came into confrontation with Amin’s disregard for the rule of law.
In the immediate aftermath of Obote’s 1972 invasion of Uganda, Kiwanuka was arrested at gunpoint by Amin’s men as he presided over a session of the High Court.
As well as countermanding from the bench some of Amin’s more draconian orders, Kiwanuka had also secretly agreed to support Obote’s return to power, with the proviso that Kiwanuka would be involved in constitutional reform.
Kiwanuka was killed by Amin’s forces on 22 September at Makindye Military Prison in a prolonged execution which, according to eyewitnesses, involved Kiwanuka ears, nose, lips, and arms being severed, a disembowelling, and castration before he was finally immolated.
Kiwanuka’s death was not acknowledged as an execution, with Amin instead publicly blaming it on Obote’s supporters and even launching a police investigation. Kiwanuka’s killing was the first of a series directed against leading figures in the Baganda and Ankole tribes, aimed at curbing their power.
Kiwanuka’s grandson, Mathias Kiwanuka, played defensive end for Boston College’s American football team from 2001 to 2005 and was the New York Giants’ first round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
A monument was dedicated to him in his honor at the request of president Museveni.