Kagimu Kiwanuka Hoping to Find Benedict Kiwanuka's Remains
Maurice Kagimu Kiwanuka, Benedict Kiwanuka's son,
in an interview with Ultimate Media Consult.

Kagimu Kiwanuka Hoping to Find Benedict Kiwanuka's Remains

...Benedict Kiwanuka was shot twice in the head by Amin himself.

By Risdel Kasasira
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First published: May 30, 2006

For those who were around during Idi Amin's regime (1971-79) this may not sound strange: The burying a Chief Justice and a Bank of Uganda Governor in one grave.

At Luzira prisons near Murchison Bay, there lie the remains of the two great Ugandan men, Joseph Mubiru and Benedict Kiwanuka, who are believed to have been murdered by then President of Uganda Idi Amin Dada, and buried by his notorious Uganda Army.

Maurice Kagimu Kiwanuka, the newly nominated minister in the incoming President Yoweri Museveni's cabinet says he was 11 years old when his father Benedict Kiwanuka was shot twice in the head by Amin himself.

In an interview with Ultimate Media, Kagimu revealed of how his father was followed by the soldiers, picked and taken to military cells. He explains it vividly as if he was driving with him when the soldiers chased his car from home to the High court where he was arrested and later killed at Nakasero State House.

The woes that led to Kiwanuka's death started after he presided over a case involving an English man, one Stuart who was found in possession of printed materials, which condemned the government of Amin over human rights violations.

All the judges feared to handle the case and as Chief Justice, Bendict Kiwanuka decided to take it on. "My father decided to handle the case and he released the white man after the trial," says Kagimu who has been MP for Bukomansimbi in Masaka district.

Kagimu is convinced that the release of Stuart was the main cause of Kiwanuka's death. "On that evening of the ruling, Amin called my father on phone and said, 'You said I have no powers to arrest the white man,'" reminisces Kagimu.

Kiwanuka pleaded with Amin saying the government had powers to arrest but the man was bailed out and would always report to the Court.

Amin banged the phone on the table and hang up on Kiwanuka. After two days, as he was leaving his home in Rubaga, going to Wandegeya where he (Kiwanuka) was building some houses, four Peugeots came following him. "They tried to chase him but the peugeots could not match his Benz," says Kagimu.

When Kiwanuka reached home in Rubaga, his friends told him to flee to Rwanda but he refused. The following day when he went for work at the High Court, the soldiers grabbed him from his car at the Court's entrance and took him to their car. "As they were forcing him to enter the car, one slapped him," Kagimu says with somber face.

The soldiers drove via today's Sheraton Hotel, turned to Lubiri, and from there to Makindye barracks where he was put in cells.

"While he was still at Makindye cells, the President of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta called Amin and told him to release the Chief Justice," Kagimu says.

Then Amin allegedly fabricated a document that Tanzanians had abducted Kiwanuka but the Ugandan Army rescued him, trying to cover up Kiwanuka's unlawful detention.

Amin ordered Kiwanuka to sign the document but he refused. It was sent to him twice in Makindye cells and he consistently refused. The soldiers picked him from Makindye, took him to Nakasero State House, and told Kiwanuka to sign the document in the presence of Amin, and he again refused.

"Amin removed his pistol and shot him twice in the head," says Kagimu who was told about his father's predicaments by the mother and family friends who were working with Amin.

Kiwanuka's body was buried in Luzira in the same grave with then Governor of Bank of Uganda, Joseph Mubiru who was also allegedly killed by Amin.

Little is known about Mubiru's death but Kagimu says he was killed after he refused to print more money as President Amin had ordered.

His death forced many Bank of Uganda workers to flee into exile including the current President General of the Democratic Party, John Ssebaana Kizito.

Kagimu says they have plans of exhuming the remains of his father but there is yet to come someone to tell exactly where Kiwanuka and Mubiru were buried. Kagimu says people who know where the `grave is, fear thinking Ugandans would see them as ones who participated in the murder and burial of the former Chief Justice.

Maurice Kagimu Kiwanuka, Benedict Kiwanuka's son in an interview with Ultimate Media Consult
Maurice Kagimu Kiwanuka, Benedict Kiwanuka's son
in an interview with Ultimate Media Consult.

How father's death shaped Kagimu's current life

Kagimu believes he would be a different person if his father was not killed. "I have few friends because people feared to associate with our family thinking they would also be killed," he says.

He says as children, he and his siblings lived inside the gates of their houses and had no visitors at home. "There was a lot of fear and we never got a chance to play with fellow children," says the 45-year-old Kagimu.

Kagimu is the 8th born out of 10 children in the Ben and Maxencia Kiwanuka family but three of his siblings have died.

Kagimu was born in 1961 at Nakasero where UBC TV is being relocated from, where his father was staying as the Governor in charge of Central region. Bendicto Kiwanuka was also the founding President General of the Democratic Party in 1957.

So Kagimu's appointment as a minister is bringing him back to where his father used to trade, in the high echelons of Uganda's society. Kagimu went to Savio Primary School on Entebbe Road up to P6 but later left, for his P7, to Nyanga Seminary, Jinja in 1973 where he did his Primary Leaving Examinations. He joined St Henry's Kitovu for both 'O'and 'A' level and in 1979 he went to Makerere University and did a degree in Economics.

After his studies, Kagimu worked with Bank of Uganda in 1984 but left the job and went to Kenya for studies and came back in 1989. From Kenya, he briefly worked with National Housing and Construction Company as the Administrative Officer up to 1994 when he came to Constituency Assembly as a delegate for Bukomansimbi.

As a son to the former President General of Democratic Party, Kagimu tried to follow his father's path by trying to take over DP leadership in 1997 but he was told that DP is not hereditary and decided to remain a quiet party member until 2001 when then Bukomansimbi current MP Lubyayi Idd Kisiki was disqualified for lack of academic papers. Kagimu contested with other three candidates and won the Bukomansimbi seat.

Kagimu blames DP for failing to unite its members in the country and says this forced him to vote for the lifting of Presidential term limits last year that enabled President Yoweri Museveni to stand for a 3rd constitutional term.

During the voting on the third term in Parliament after Speaker Edward Ssekandi called Kagimu's name to vote, there was silence by all 300 plus MPs waiting to hear his Vote.

Kagimu stood and tried to reach the fixed microphone which was few meters away and voted "Aye". Many NRM-O MPs clapped for him as a sign of 'Welcome to our Party,' and the opposition MPs like Terego MP Kassiano Wadri seated next to him looked down in disappointment.

After that there were speculations that he would be given a ministerial position, which has eventually come true despite losing his Bukomansimbi parliamentary seat to Lubyayi. By crossing from the DP to NRM, Kagimu made a big decision that will likely be a strong point in history's judgment of Bendicto Kiwanuka's most prominent son. But having been appointed a minister, Kagimu can now start to contribute to what goes down in history books on the Kiwanuka's family and Uganda's politics and governance.

By Risdel Kasasira
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First published: May 30, 2006
To learn more about Ultimate Media Consult go to www.ultimatemediaconsult.com.

Risdel Kasasira is a graduate Journalist who reports for Ultimate Media Consult. He has worked for The Daily Monitor, Radio Uganda and has done several communication related consultancies. He is also the Research Executive at Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd.