How we reported Kayiira’s murder
Nearly 20 years ago the New Vision extensively covered the murder of Dr. Andrew Kayiira. In what is on record as the first interview following the killing, Henry Gombya said he didn't know who the killers were. Today, we reproduce the story as published on March 9, 1987... By William Pike Police are hunting for the killers of Dr Andrew Kayiira , the former Minister of Energy, who was shot at the home of Journalist Henry Gombya on Friday in the Konge-Lukuli suburb of Kampala. Circumstances surrounding the killing are not yet clear, but armed men broke into Gombya’s compound at about 11pm by cutting through the chain link fence. They stole 20 million shillings and some other items. Dr Kayiira was shot in a scuffle at the door of his bedroom. Gombya jumped from his bedroom balcony to make his escape. What is not yet known is if the killing of Kayiira was politically motivated or if he was simply killed in the course of the armed robbery. The house was purchased by Gombya about two weeks ago, shortly before treason charges against Kayiira were dropped by the government. Gombya and Kayiira are longstanding friends and in the final days of the Lutwa period the Uganda Freedom Army, (UFA), which was headed by Kayiira, gave Gombya military protection. “We were just having supper when the incident happened,” Gombya recounted. “We had decided to have supper outside because of power cut and we were listening to music. Andrew was very jolly indeed. “When he was dancing, he said, ‘Kansanyukemu; simanyi bwennafira (Let me enjoy, I do not know when I will die),’” said Gombya. “As we were about to finish supper, men came at us from both sides of the house, having cut through the wire mesh fence and hedge to enter,” said Gombya. “When they came, one said, ‘This is the UFM man’ in Luganda.” “The men ordered us not to move but immediately my wife and three other girls who were there ran into the house. Andrew got up and very slowly entered the house and locked the door. But the gunmen said, ‘We are going to shoot this one unless you open,’ so he opened and let me in,” he recalled. “We ran upstairs and into our rooms. The men also ran upstairs and started knocking on my door which was locked. I started shouting for help to the neighbours and they started shooting through the door. “I had 40 million shillings because I was planning to buy some things. I left 20 million shillings on the bed and put the other 20 million into a BBC bag and threw it from the balcony into the banana plantation.” “I dropped over the balcony and ran towards the gate. A man guarding the gate shouted: ‘He is fleeing’ in Luganda. Although I did not hear it, my wife tells me that someone shouted back from the house: ‘He is still here.’ “I climbed over the gate and hid in the banana shamba until 5am. I reentered the house and found my people hiding in the bathroom,” he said. “They told me that Andrew had fought with them at the door of his room. They had pushed the door open. He said: ‘What do you want?’ And they said, ‘Why were you locking the door of your room? Don’t you think we were going to open it?’ Then one of their colleagues said, ‘He has no gun.’ And then he was shot.” He was shot several times including through the head, legs, thighs and hands, Gombya said. “I do not know who they were,” commented Gombya. Some of them were dressed as civilians and some were in army trousers and gumboots but bare-chested. There are few clues to the identity of the killers. The handbag of Gombya’s wife was dropped about a mile away, and a shirt and jacket were found at the same spot. Police dogs failed to pick up any scent and police have now been touring the area to ask if anyone recognises the jacket and shirt. The handbag is being fingerprinted. “It looks like a robbery because 20 million shillings was stolen,” said the Director CID, Sam Mugamba, who is personally handling the investigations. He said he believed that someone may have found out that Gombya had just brought 40 million shillings in cash to his home. Gombya himself said only a few people at his office knew. “It looks like a local crime because the people knew this area. They walked away and did not come by car. You do not get criminals coming from far away and then walking,” Mugamba said. He believed the criminals probably lived within two miles of the scene of the crime. He said he believed that if the criminals had paid special attention to Kayiira, it was because they believed he was a big man and would have the money. “If it was just a question of killing Kayiira, they would have shot him at first sight and would not have wasted time by coming inside and stealing,” he said. The criminals were well organised in the way they cut through the chain link fence and came simultaneously around both sides of the house, Mugamba admitted. He appealed to the public to help identify the criminals. A police statement has said about ten men were involved, divided in two teams, each with a gun and a torch. There has been some insecurity in the neighbourhood in the last six weeks. The RC II Chairman of next door Buziga parish, Haji Kakande Gava, was at the scene of the crime and said: “We have had several incidents and shootings in this area recently and some houses have been looted. The RCs have confiscated some guns but the gunmen have escaped. We have met RC officials of Konge parish and they have also been complaining.” “Something has to be done about security. There has been insecurity here for the last six weeks. This is the first victim to be killed. Something must be done. Without security, there will be no peace,” said Kakande. However, there still seem to be four theories as to how the killing happened. One: robbery. Two: an NRM killing. Three: the settling of an internal grudge in the UFM and four: a FOBA (Force Obote Back Again) assassination squad. Supporting the robbery theory is the fact that such a large sum of cash as 40m/- was being kept in Gombya’s house. However, the fact that Kayiira was killed and that the killers appeared to recognise him has given rise to several other theories. Immediately after Kayiira’s death, there was speculation that he had been killed by the government. This argument is, however weak. The government’s image has been badly dented by the killing and it will now have to work hard to restore its claim to have improved security. Having recently reintroduced detention orders, the government could have detained Kayiira if they felt he was a threat to public security. This would have been very simple and would not have brought negative publicity. “Definitely one thing should be clear to reasonable men. It was not in the government’s interests to lose Kayiira,” said a top NRA security officer. The attack also did not look like an NRA operation. There were some military characteristics, such as the efficient cutting of the fence, and the military trousers and NRA-style gumboots worn by some attackers. Then the swift move around both sides of the house. On the other hand, the guard left at the gate was not sufficiently organised to stop Gombya from climbing over it. More significantly, the attackers were speaking fluent Luganda. All NRA soldiers are trained in Kiswahili and it is second nature to them to speak in Kiswahili when on operations. The composition of the NRA is mixed and there are very few completely Baganda units. “Never, never, never. It could not be the government or the NRA,” said the NRA officer. “We captured Kayiira when we entered Kampala. Why did we not kill him then if the NRA was that kind of army?” At a meeting of the NRA High command in the Luwero Triangle in 1982, the NRA decided against a policy of assassinating prominent UPC officials and politicians. It was argued, most forcefully by the Chairman of the High Command, Yoweri Museveni, that this would not serve any useful purpose, since they were fighting a system not individuals. In fact, UFA’s policy of assassinating UPC officials and politicians in the Mpigi area and elsewhere was a serious cause of disagreement between the NRA and Kayiira at that time. The officer also dismissed the possibility that it could be a ‘rogue’ NRA unit which was unhappy at Kayiira’s release. He said, “There are other things NRA soldiers are unhappy about, such as the courts, when gunmen are released on bail. But they do not shoot lawyers or magistrates.” Kayiira apparently had been on good terms with the government since his release. He had been promised an audience with President Museveni through his lawyer Henry Kayondo and was waiting for a date. Since his release he had met and spoken amicably with Deputy Army Commander Fred Rwigyema and ministers Ponsiano Mulema, Sam Njuba, Bidandi Ssali and James Wapakhabulo. His wife Betty wanted him to return to the USA where he had been found a university post, but he apparently did not want to leave until he had seen the President. If Kayiira was deliberately killed, there are the two other possibilities: that he was killed by a FOBA hit squad; or by former members of UFA who bore him a grudge. The NRA has recently received intelligence reports that the FOBA group abroad might be attempting to infiltrate small groups of assassins into Uganda. If an assassination campaign was to start, Kayiira would have been a good target for the Obote group since they could anticipate that it would be blamed on the government and that it would upset many Baganda as well as other Ugandans. The other possibility is that Kayiira could have been killed by some of his former colleagues who held a grudge against him. A few days before the fall of Kampala in January 1986, UFA field commander Ben Kashuku was killed in suspicious circumstances. It has been alleged in some quarters that Kayiira and Francis Bwengye, recently released from Luzira, were involved and that they had clashed over Kashuku’s desire to switch over to the NRA. There are still internal disagreements among former UFA and UFM members over the matter. It is also possible that some former UFA soldiers now in the NRA may have resented Kayiira’s alleged involvement in plotting to overthrow the government and the fact that some former UFA soldiers still remain in jail on treason charges. Whatever the truth, it is clear that the matter will not be settled until the killers are arrested. Dr Kayiira is due to be buried at Butambala. Burial arrangements are to be announced later. ========================= Dr A. Kayiira: A profile The former leader of the Uganda Freedom Movement, (UFM) Dr Andrew Lutakome Kayiira, who was killed by unknown people last Friday evening, was about 44 years. He was born in Mawokota, Mpigi district. He received his early education at St Peter’s Primary School, Nsambya, from where he proceeded to Namilyango College. After his high school education, he joined the Prison Service as a cadet officer. He left for Britain for further training. On his return, he was promoted to the rank of assistant superintendent of prisons. In 1968, he went to USA to study at the University of Newhaven where he did a degree course in criminology and mathematics. He did a master’s degree in criminology, themed on criminal justice. In 1975, Kayiira returned to Uganda to complete his research paper on Kondoism for his PhD. He spent much of his time at Makerere Institute of Social Research when he was writing the paper. At the time, Kayiira married Miss Betty Mutema. He later returned to USA. He joined groups that were opposed to Idi Amin and later formed the Uganda Freedom Union (UFU). Kayiira became, the UFU chairman after Mr Godfrey Binaisa, who was its first leader, while Mr Olara Otunu was its secretary. He represented the UFU at the Moshi Unity Conference, which brought together many groups opposing the Amin rule in 1979 after the regime had been overthrown. Kayiira was elected a member of the National Consultative Council (NCC), the legislative organ of the Uganda National Liberation Front that took power after Amin had been removed. The late Yusufu Lule, who was President in the first post-Amin government, appointed Kayiira deputy minister of commerce. In a cabinet reshuffle that followed, Kayiira replaced Paulo Muwanga as Minister of Internal Affairs. Kayiira was dropped when the Lule government was removed. He opposed Lule’s removal from leadership, and founded the Uganda Freedom Movement, though earlier on he had wanted to fight under UFU. After the 1980 elections, Kayiira’s group launched a number of attacks on police stations at Wandegeya, Kira Road and Kawempe, with the aim of getting guns. On February 23, the UFM carried out an unsuccessful attack on Lubiri Barracks. This was a drawback on the movement’s strength. The government managed to get information leading to the areas when the UFM was operating. This forced him to leave the bush and go to USA with the purpose of securing some assistance for his group. Cleavages developed within the UFM, leading to the formation of the Fedemu (Federal Democratic Movement of Uganda). Before he could reorganise his forces, the UNLA faction under Tito Okello toppled the Obote government. Kayiira returned to Uganda when the Okello regime called upon all opposition groups to return and negotiate for peace. According to a close associate of Kayiira, he said on his return: “Our participation in the Military Council should not mean that we achieved what we fought for. We are coming in good faith in answer to the call by the Military Council to try and work out a peaceful way out of the national crisis. There will be no genuine peace unless... all other groups have been invited to participate in the peace process.” The associate also adds that Kayiira warned the Military Council against: “...blocking the National Resistance Movement in search for peace.” Kayiira is survived by six children. They are all living in USA with the mother.
Published on: Saturday, 20th January, 2007
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007
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