Posted by: Robukui
Last week marked 27 years since the mysterious murder of one of Uganda’s leading statesman, Andrew Lutakome Kayiira on 6th March 1987.
Suspects:Yoweri Museveni and other unknown conspirators.
Kayiira had been one o the leaders of the anti-Iddi Amin groups during the 1970s. After the fall …of Iddi Amin, he was a leading member of the post Amin UNLF government. Following the disputed 1980 Presidential elections, Kayiira formed a formidable guerrilla organisation, UFM with bases in Buganda. His group, unlike Museveni’s NRA that was a southern army against northerners, had the likes of Hussein Adda, Mark Kodil and others who were from West Nile region. Interestingly, even Rwandese who were NRA’s trademark like Ndugute alias Kalisoliso joined hands with Kayiira. Initially, his group was more acceptable by the Baganda and the DP in particular than Museveni’s NRA. This was a cause of worry for Museveni who was struggling to sell his group to the Bagand at the time.
After neutralising the Prof. Yusuf Lule group, Museveni embarked on destroyin the Andrew Kayiira group. He initiated a number of meetings with the group notably the infamous Kikunyu conference where close collaboration was agreed between the two groups. At one time the two groups agreed to jointly attack the UNLA in Lubiri but Museveni’s NRA never showed up at the last hour. Though the UFM went ahead with the plan, the NRA waylaid them upon withdrawing and charged almost all the weapons they had acquired from the attack on the Lubiri barracks. In fact, Sonko Lutaaya drove a lorry load of arms that had been got from the Lubiri and defected with them to the NRA. Museveni used to gather intelligence about UFM using the likes of Kasirye Gwanga and then indirectly pass it on to the government to the detriment of UFM. By 1984, the UFM had been weakened drastically giving rise to a new faction called FEDEMO.
Following the Okello coup of 1985, Kayiira reorganised his UFM and joined hands with the new government in Kampala together with FEDEMO under George Nkwanga. A few of his soldiers under the command of the likes of Kasirye Gwanga, Ndugute aka Kalisoliso and others defected to the NRA in the west. Upon taking over of of power by Museveni in January 1986, Andrew Kayiira handed in his troops to the NRA and Museveni appointed him a cabinet Minister. However, within the NRA, the former government soldiers (UNLA) had ceased being a threat but instead it was UFM and FEDEMO who were treated with suspicion for being “Bipingamizi” (counter revolutionary). Systematic harassment of former UFM and FEDEMO soldiers became the norm.
In October 1986, Andrew Kayiira and a couple of leading Baganda politicians were arrested on charges of treason for plotting a coup against the Museveni government. Following these arrests, there was a purge against former UFM and FEDEMO soldiers within NRA. Some were arrested while others fled into exile while many were rendered redundant (katebe) or deserted. The treason trial against Kayiiira and group involved some senior Baganda army officers like Fred Bogere, Drago Nyanzi and Kasirye Gwanga as State witnesses. In February 1987, Andrew Kayiira was acquitted of treason charges by the High Court and released from Luzira Prison. Museveni did not like what courts had done and throughout the late 80s and early 90s he was always at log heads with the Judiciary. At the time courts were still independent unlike the case now when he has successfully planted his cadre judges in courts of law.
Hardly a month after his release, Andrew Kayiira was gunned down by gunmen while at a friend’s house in the Kampala suburb of Rukuli. Within the NRA the news were received with jubilation because the Kipingamizi had been eliminated. For the former FEDEMO and UFM officers in the NRA, they had been orphaned by the murder of Andrew Kayiira. Government engaged the services of Scotland Yard to investigate the murder. In April 1987, the NRA arrested five suspects who were all former UFM/FEDEMO soldiers in connection with the murder. In August 1989, the High Court acquitted all the five suspects but the NRA re-arrested them from within the court premisses and whisked them away to an unknown destination todate. In March 1988, the High Court had released the other prominent politicians who had earlier been jointly charged with Andrew Kayiira. Only a few army officers of former UFM/FEDEMO were convicted.
Had there been a coup plot?
Yes, the plan had been hatched. It was leaked by Baganda army officers in the NRA like Kasirye Gwanga and Drago Nyanzi who had been contacted by the plotters. The two informed a senior military officer who in turn informed Mueveni and a go-ahead was given for the two “patriotic ugandans” to go ahead and infiltrate the group and keep the government informed. It is the intelligence that failed a successful conviction for having ignored fundamental rules of evidence. Also, there had not been any iota of evidence directly linking Dr Kayiira to the plot. The intelligence relied on circumstantial evidence given the involvement of senior Ex. UFM army offcers. However, had that coup plot succeeded, Uganda would not be in a mess that is in now. The Rwanda genocide and the pillage in Congo would not have been averted. Also the 27 years old northern Uganda insurgency would not have taken root. Most of all, the current bondage that Museveni has subjected ugandas to would have been contained at the initial stage.
Would Kayiira and the Baganda have given in to Museveni?
No. Kayiira at the time was a symbol of Buganda’s military strength against Museveni. For Museveni to diffuse UFM/FEDEMO and tame the Baganda agitators, he needed to eliminate Andrew Kayiira. Since then there has been a systematic allienation of Banganda army officers in the NRA. Museveni hoodwinks the Baganda with the propelling of the insignificant officers like Katumba Wamala, Nalweyiso, Kasirye Gwanga and a few others. Why cant Museveni elevate university graduates like Fred Bogere, Sentongo Dhiba and Mbuga Kojja who were in the bush with him!!! The murder of Andrew Kayiira ended Buganda’s military strength that Museveni was so much worried about. Much earlier during the bush days, Museveni had ‘dealt with ‘ the likes of the influential Kagwa, Mutebi, Seguya and a few others.
Did Scotland Yard unmask the killers??
No. Not conclusively. Scotland yard’s investigations must have hit a snag. Their investigations must have remained at mere speculation and the only obvious fact they may have established was the fact that Kayiira had been a threat to the Museveni and his NRA thus circumstantial evidence that the government had a hand in his murder. That is why they are reluctant to release their findings to thepublic. In 2009 while responding to request by Henry Gombya to release the findings, Scotland Yard objected citing S17 (1) of the Information Act 2000 on grounds that the disclosure would prejudice UK’s relations with Uganda, among other reasons.
Why is it so difficult to find the killers?
Political assassinations are carried out under covert operations by intelligence agencies using special forces/units/squads. Such operations don’t involve the ordinary military commanders and ordinary soldiers. Apart from the President who is the main beneficiary of such operations, the other players are never known by the public, not even within security circles. covert operations also called CoveOps are operations that are so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor. It is intended to create a political effect which can have implications in the military, intelligence or law enforcement arenas. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored the operation.
Whoever, Museveni sent to finish off Kayiira, no doubt some key elements at DMI in Basiima house at the time must have been involved. Given Mueveni’s method of work, it highly likely that even the DMI at the time, Mugisha Muntu was not involved in the operations more especially given Muntu’s straightforwardness. Because Muntu is principled, that is why he did not last long at DMI. So long as Paul Kagame was very influential in DMI, Museveni had the free day. At the time DMI had an extention at CPS that was manned by Museveni’s historical close confidant, Aronda Nyakairima. Under Aronda, were officers like Rwija, Muruli, Wilson Gumisiriza (Rwanda), Kakwavu (Rwanda), Mutabazi Muhwezi (rwanda), Rwigamba (Rwanda), Oswald Murenzi (Rwanda), Mbugani (rwanda) and a few others. From CPS, Aronda controlled all the major Police stations in and around Kampala because at the time the NRA had taken over the powers of policing. In such covert operations, what matters is the intervening/responding force what matters is the intervening/responding force after the execution of the mission. In the instant case it would have been the Police patrol to immediately respond to the shootings but again CPS and all the major police staitions were under the command and control of Aronda. In such covert operations what matters is to compromise any intervening force that can intercept the executors before or after the mission. At the time, the regular police that the NRA had adopted from the previous government had been rendered inactive and had little or no say in policing.
For purposes of military operations, the security of Kampala area had been assigned to the NRA that was based at Lubiri barracks under the Command of Gen. Tinyefuza. Since this was not a military operation that required troops from Lubiri barracks, there was no need of involving any of the top commanders from Lubiri barracks. Instead, it was a precise operation that required survelling the principal (Kayiira), reconaisance of the premisses before hand, execution and safe get away into safety. Even if, the soldiers from Lubiri at the time carried out regular foot patrols in and around Kampala, the DMI too had a free hand in night operations in any part of the city. Under the overall command of a powerful person under DMI, operatives of DMI must have carried out the shooting while DMI at CPS provided the cover for getting away into safety and erasing any traces of evidence. In the circumstances, there is no way Government officers like Paul Ssemogerere and Dr. Besigye who were heading the Ministry of Internal Affairs could have any information as to how Dr. Kayiira was murdered.
The different speculative versions of Dr. Kayiira;s murder are just imaginations of Hollywood film scenes. Imagine Senior army officers communicating on walkie tackies (radio calls) about the mission accomplished! This was a covert operation that is not planned by army Generals. However, what is obvious is that immediately after the killing of Dr. Kayiira, NRA units more especially those around Kampala must have been placed on standby Class One for fear of an uprising by pro-Kayiira army officers in the NRA and other Baganda loyalists. The latest speculation in the London Evening Post is that a one Ssesanga Mvule of DMI was involved in the murder of Dr. Kayiira. The Ssessanga under DMI and later DMI is Vincent Ssesanga aka Munabuddu. He was formerly of UFM who crossed to the NRA an early stage. He served in military intelligence under 7th Battalion and later 157 Brigade in Mbale as the Brigade I.O in the late 80s before he was recalled to the head office and grounded (Katebe). During the early 90s, he headed the military intelligence training school in Ssese Islands. When the school was moved to Kaweweta in Ngoma, Ssessanga remained around CMI headquarters a frustrated officer without assignment (Katebe) but thrived on handouts and information peddling about Buganda.
The killers of Dr. Kayiira will never be known. The best way to honor him would be to redirect all efforts towards dislodging Museveni from power and restore democratic governance because that is what he stood for.
INFORMATION IS POWER.