I think the story of the attempted assassination of Dr. Obote at Lugoggo long ago is more confusing than even before.Obviously, if Dr. Obote was shot on the head, the chances of survival would have been more of a miracle. However, I talked to an officer in the then Special Branch of the Uganda Police and he told me that actually Dr. Obote was not shot at all.
He told me that if the truth was to be told, not only would it embarrass the President of Uganda, but could also have caused the question from the international community, about what kind of leadership Uganda fell into. He said that, ”Uganda’s situation was not yet clear, only several years after the confrontation with former President and the most popular of the Kings, Sir Edward Mutesa of Buganda”. I asked him what happened exactly. He said that Dr. Obote drank a lot of alcohol in the bar room at Lugogo in-door stadium and that when he was escorted out towards his official car; he stumbled and fell down on the tarmac. That as some of the body guards tried to help him onto his feet; others opened fire, so that the whole area was deserted as the people ran for cover. ”The President was bleeding from his mouth as the teeth had been damaged by the fall on the tarmac. He was rushed to Mulago Hospital where he was treated”. The officer told me that what the people know is the official statement of what is supposed to have happened. He then asked me if I thought that a gun bullet would have hit the teeth and left the jaw intact. I kept quiet, but he answered himself, ”Never”.
So, whether UPC says that Dr. Obote was shot on the head, contradicting the ”official statement”, in my mind, I still have doubts about what actually happened.Talking with the police officer, he made me believe what he had told me. But again, what if someone aimed to shoot the President and missed, the act that might have prompted the bodyguards to shoot at random? It is still not easy for me to believe that a gun bullet damaged the teeth and left the rest of his face intact. It is easy to believe for someone who does not know the power and effect of the gun bullet but, as much as I respected the late President, I can only conclude that the official report served its purpose.
It surely seems as though we shall end up with ”a conspiracy theory as in the death of JFK”. The reason is that due to the high respect reserved for the former President, very few if any, are willing to discuss frankly about this very unfortunate situation. But a gun bullet damaging the tongue, teeth and the lower jaw of the President and leaving the rest of the face intact?
Now, if someone else fell down as a result of alcohol consumption and lost some teeth, damaged his tongue, would the lower jaw escape the impact? Anyway, let us simply leave this theory alone. It may only hurt some people and may also cause friction here at the UAH. The truth of this matter serves no purpose at all. As I stated, the words were not mine, but as I know the power and effect of the gun bullet, I was convinced.
Fear during Obote
During the presidency of Dr. Obote, since the abolition of the Kingdoms until he was overthrown in January, 1971, nobody could even whisper anything that was considered anti Obote or State. There was a saying that, ”Even the walls have ears”. The people lived under a quiet terror in which people disappeared and others tortured, imprisoned without charge and indefinitely. Now, under such conditions, how could you expect to hear any contradiction of the news or report issued by the Uganda government?
Have we all forgotten the jubilation that welcomed the overthrow of President Dr. Apolo Milton Obote? Have some people also forgotten that one of the strategies to defeat President Idi Amin, was to exclude Dr. Obote from all the meetings pertaining to the ”Liberation”of Uganda and to exclude him from the government that would replace Idi Amin’s?
My point here is to remind you that, even when the people felt that life was becoming hard under President Idi Amin, they preferred to be under Amin than to return Obote to power.
When the Uganda National Liberation Front announced that Prof. Yosuf Kironde Lule would take over as President of Uganda, if or when Amin was defeated, even the Uganda Armed Forces split, as many wanted Amin out. Before the announcement of Prof. Lule as the would be new President, the people of Uganda rallied behind the government of Idi Amin, for they believed that President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania wanted to reinstate Dr. Obote as the President of Uganda.
The incident in question(assassination) has no national importance whatsoever. Why should the people talk about it anyway? Saying that some people were arrested in that regard proves nothing. If in fact they would have confessed under Obote that they ”shot the bullet” that hurt the president, they would have been sentenced to death immediately. If anyone confessed to Idi Amin that he wanted to kill Obote, it is clear that such a person would be rewarded. Do you remember Army Pte. Kayongo who beat up a Cabinet Minister whom he suspected of seducing his wife? That was during the Obote’s presidency. When Amin took over power from Obote, he promoted Private Kayongo to the rank of Captain, ”For beating up the Obote Minister”.
The purpose of this mail is to remind you that nobody could risk contradicting any information by the State, under President Obote. It is also a long time ago, so that being without any national importance, even those who remember what actually happened, may only talk about it as I have made my memory known to you. The police officer was in the police service during the incident in question.
As I stated, the explanation given to me by the police officer convinced me that the President was not shot. The officer told me that when the President stumbled and fell down, the bodyguards opened fire. So, if some other people were shot, as some UPC supporters stated, that could have been by the bodyguards who were shooting at random.
Byarahunga Jonny Rubin