By Hussein Lumumba Amin
I read a story about a purported murder of the late Sheikh Shaban Nkutu (RIP) who passed away a long time ago back in 1973. Not only have they suddenly started claiming his death as a murder (they only started making this claim in 2004 after my own late father President Idi Amin passed away in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), they are also now claiming that it was my late father the President who killed the late Hajji Shaban Nkutu. This is an issue I have previously confronted his own son about three years ago, and I asked him why he was trying to tarnish my late father’s name by now claiming that his father was murdered by Amin?
For the record, it is President Idi Amin who released Sheikh Shaban Nkutu from Obote’s prisons after the military take-over in January 1971. The release was public and involved the famous 51 political opponents that dictator Milton Obote had jailed in 1966 and 1969.
After the release, it is Amin who offered the late Sheikh Nkutu a job in government (he was actually an experienced senior public servant since the days of independence until his imprisonment n 1969) but Mzee Nkutu refused because of his poor health following untold torture and the rough dungeon conditions during imprisonment by dictator Milton Obote.
It is also Amin who then sent the late Nkutu to Nairobi, Kenya for specialized treatment to cure him in vain (the records exist to this day). When the doctors told him that there was nothing more they could do, it is now Shaban Nkutu himself who decided to leave the hospital saying “since I am going to die, let me at least die in my own country and not in a foreign hospital”.
He was then returned home but very incapacitated. He could barely even sit up, let alone walk. It is also President Amin who then offered Mzee Shaban Nkutu security at his home. At the time the Obote’s rebels had started abducting prominent Ugandan’s in the Amin government starting with Ben Kiwanuka just three months before Mzee Nkutu died. Being a previous Obote’s political prisoner just like Ben Kiwanuka, the Amin government had strong reasons to believe that Obote’s would target all those released in 1971 by President Amin. They were all given security after the Ben Kiwanuka disappearance. I have even discussed with one of the very soldiers who guarded the late Mzee Nkutu’s home in Jinja until his death. Indeed he confirmed to me that the late elder died peacefully in his own home and in his own country as he had wished. It is also the Amin government which helped the family in organizing and conducting the funeral. The Amin government also then paid school fees for his children. I know them because we were all put together in the same school called Kabale Preparatory School in Kigezi until the 1979 warbwhen we separated.
I read the news article and noticed that they say his family conducted a pre-burial prayer before he even died.
Why conduct such a thing for a living person?
The only reason is that they knew from the Kenyan doctors that he was soon going to die, and it was clearly visible even to an ordinary person.
The late Hajji Shaban Nkutu then died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family.
It is the Amin government that organized his burial together with his family. He was laid to rest in their family grounds as is the tradition, and all the elder members of his family, plus government officials and their entire village attended. It is only because former Amin government officials are quiet that this scam is going unchallenged. Even the late Allen Kagina’s father, who was District Commissioner for Jinja at the time, participated in the burial.
The media claims that the late Shaban Nkutu was buried twice. In reality he rests in peace in his only real resting place. What happened later is that in 2004, one of his sons called Conrad Nkutu, started writing articles claiming that the late Mzee Nkutu was murdered by Amin and buried in a secret mass grave?
Before 2004 nobody had ever heard about anything criminal around the death of someone called Shaban Nkutu (RIP). Not even the UNLA investigations in 1980 nor the Commission of inquiry of 1974, not even the NRM Commission of Inquiry of 1986 which purported to cover all the human rights violations since independence, tackled anything about a person with that name.
Yet suddenly in 2004, an issue pops out of thin air. All single-handedly engineered by his son who quickly wrote teary-eyed articles in the Daily Monitor where he was Managing Director, and then started frantically showing his own articles to a highly gullible populace, and claiming his own writings to be evidence of some heinous crime. That is how he dragged almost the entire country into a fictitious murder he invented just through crocodile tears and his own newspaper opinion articles full of bogus investigations and bogus claims.
With his connections in government, mostly his uncle Mzee Kirunda Kivejinja who is Museveni’s Deputy Prime Minister, they then put the state apparatus to support their claims. Including bogus tests and even purported clothes that in reality could not have remained intact under the ground 40 years.
It is just scientifically impossible.
They also tried to link it to the fleeing to exile of Amin foreign minister Wanume Kibedi, when in reality Kibedi fled after learning that he was being investigated for the disappearance of the late Ben Kiwanuka.
However, in 2005 Hajji Nkutu’s son led a group of people to Jinja cemetary, picked an unknown corpse from its peace in a public grave, claimed it was Mzee Nkutu, and buried it again in a bogus ceremony organized together with the entire Museveni regime fooled for purpose simply because they failed to ask one professional question. What was the motive of this murder?
The truth is, why would Amin murder someone he had himself released from prison about a year earlier, someone Amin had himself then sent for specialized medical treatment, and a person Amin had himself offered a job in government? If it is a political death, why would Amin murder someone who had even refused to go back to politics and public life because of his failing health following Obote’s torture chambers? Why would Amin murder a fellow Muslim who had previously been instrumental in uniting Muslims before being imprisoned by Obote’s?
If we agree that your enemy’s enemy is your friend, then are we now saying that Amin killed his own friend Shaban Nkutu just for nothing like that?
Only the few people who put critical investigative thinking into the matter have already seen that there is not even a single motive for President Idi Amin to murder Mzee Shaban. On the contrary Amin is the only person in the world who did everything for the late Shaban Nkutu and what we are seeing is just a completely ungrateful family who benefited humongously from the Amin government until he left, including in properties redistributed to Ugandans, but they are either just too greedy to even let their own father rest in peace, and/or are actually just cowards who feared people discovering that they were actually “Amin people” as was commonly said once the UNLA government came with the Tanzanians in 1979 and started slaughtering whoever was said to be even remotely connected to the Amin government.
This whole reburial saga is all just “Kiwaani” concocted single-handedly by one of the late Shaban Nkutu’s own sons called Conrad Nkutu backed by a few colluding family members to get political sympathy, government perks and a big job (Tullow Oil Corporate Manager) from the Museveni junta.
I therefore call on the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council to hold special prayers for the late Hajji Shaban Nkutu, but also for his son. This so that sanity can ultimately prevail and the late Hajji, one of the people who struggled for the unity of Muslims in Uganda prior to his imprisonment by Obote, that his soul can finally rest in eternal peace.
As for his son, despite being quite evil, and cunning enough to
single-handedly organize such serious damaging accusations against my late father, and only starting his vicious campaign just after the late Amin’s 2003 death in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, I already forgave Mr. Conrad Nkutu and even though I have previously made my thoughts known to him, for several years I have labored to refrain from any public confrontation until this statement now.
I however discussed in detail how the late former Chief Justice of Uganda, Benedicto Kiwanuka was abducted by four unknown men from his chambers at the High Court in the capital Kampala. The abduction took place on 24th September 1972. His captors vehicle speeding off from the court premises was the last that Ugandans would see of him despite a rigorous police manhunt from the moment he was abducted.
At the time of his abduction, Ben Kiwanuka had barely been appointed Chief Justice by President Idi Amin. His appointment to the senior position was on 27th June 1971, and his abduction happened the following year. Little is known about the fact that his disappearance also happened a few weeks after he had been designated by President Idi Amin as the person who would be the next president of Uganda. Back stage discussions were in high gear for the military to return the country to civilian rule as had been promised by Idi Amin right after the 1971 military take-over. It now only awaited the formal announcement. Benedicto Kiwanuka had also been one of the 51 political prisoners jailed by the previous president dictator Milton Obote and he had been freed by the new incoming Amin government just 5 months before appointing him Chief Justice of Uganda. Suddenly, in the year after their releaase and right after the 1972 invasion of Uganda by Obote’s sympathizers, several of these freed politicians started disappearing mysteriously.
The question is why were they disappearing?
The only person who had known ill motives against Ben Kiwanuka and the 51 political prisoners was a possibly disgruntled former President Milton Obote, their captor. He had arrested his political opponents following the 1966 debacle where Obote ordered the army to attack the sitting president Edward Muteesa who fled to exile and Obote then appointed himself president. Obote also forced a new constitution cancelling all traditional leaders and banning all political parties except his own Uganda Peoples Congress party (UPC). This would be known as “The Pigeon hole constitution” following the incident where Obote ordered the military to surround the parliament and forced the Members of Parliament to pass his new constitution, telling them “you will find it in your pigeon holes”. The new constitution was enacted by parliament without the Members even having had the time to read the draft or debate its contents. They were all literally held at gun point.
Prior to the 1966 Obote coup d’etat, the same Obote had engineered the cancellation of Ben Kiwanuka’s premiership at Uganda’s independence in 1962, and got himself chosen as the independence executive Prime Minister of Uganda.
This Obote-engineered cancellation of Ben Kiwanuka’s prime ministership in 1962 was the actual beginning of their political enemity and bitter rivalry.
But in 1971, Obote was now seeing Ben Kiwanuka rising again in a high position in the new Amin government while he (Obote) was the one now kicked out of the presidency by the same army that he had used to kick out the previous and legitimate independence president of Uganda Sir Edward Muteesa.
These were the major political grudges known to all Ugandans, and by 1972, only one person, exiled dictator Apollo Milton Obote, could want Ben Kiwanuka and all Amin government officials dead.
After the disappearance of Ben Kiwanuka, Amin mentioned Obote’s rebels as the main suspects. Indeed the abduction happened just five days after the Obote rebels had infiltrated Uganda from Tanzania on September 17th during the infamous 1972 invasion.
It turns out that as they planned this invasion, God also planned it’s outcome.
They had divided themselves in three groups to attack different parts of the country simultaneously and had with them an assassination list of prominent Amin government officials and Ugandan elites that supported him.
The main military offensive by the rebels was on a military barracks in Mbarara town called Simba batallion. There too around 350 ill-prepared rebels were killed or captured mostly by the local civilian population when the poorly-trained rebels fired away their guns unprofessionally and quickly found themselves out of ammunition, then attempted to hide amongst the population. This episode is known as the 1972 invasion. It is also said to be the reason why Mbarara people were massacred when the rebels returned seven years later, this time accompanied by the Tanzanian forces. An event known as the Mbarara massacre.
The second line of attack in the 1972 invasion was by ship. They crossed from Tanzania to Uganda on Lake Victoria, and were to arrive at Entebbe, attack the airport and State House Entebbe simultaneously, after which another battalion of rebels would fly in by plane and land at the airport.
They had hijacked an East African Airways plane and had it waiting to transport the rebels upto Entebbe International Airport but it had bust its tires upon landing at the rebels base in Tanzania, and they were now looking frantically for repairs. Due to unknown causes, the ship that was heading to Entebbe would also sink mysteriously by itself in the middle of Lake Victoria with all its 400 dictator Obote rebels onboard. All died, and their weapons and munitions lost before even setting foot on Ugandan soil.
The third line of attack was by road to Kampala via Masaka. While the other two groups were completely out of action, this third group is the one that succeeded in making some headway. As they were confronted primarily by aerial bombing by Amin’s MIG 21 jet fighters, they scattered and continued their way upto Kampala, infiltrating the country in the process. It is this third group that was now engaging in subversive activities including all the abductions and murders of innocent Ugandans, particularly the prominent officials in the Amin government and the elites who supported Amin.
Ben Kiwanuka was the rebels first abduction operation in Kampala barely 4 days after they crossed from Tanzania into Uganda on September 19th. In the three months that followed, nine more senior government officials and politicians would be abducted and/or disappeared in the exact same fashion as Ben Kiwanuka. These include Joseph Mubiru who was Governor of Bank of Uganda and was abducted the week after Ben Kiwanuka. There was also Frank Kalimuzo; Vice Chancellor of Makerere University; John Kalema, a former Minister of Commerce and Industry, Basil Bataringaya; a former Minister of Internal Affairs, Jolly Joe Kiwanuka (murdered in Nairobi), John Kakonge, Ambassador Michael Ondoga, who was abducted as he dropped his children at Kitante Primary School, plus several other public figures including Hajji Balunywa, Henry Kasigwa and several other people close to the Amin government. Though a few names are remembered by the public today, these deadly operations planned by Obote himself in Daresalaam and implemented by his henchmen in Uganda would take countless other civilian officials and businessmen who were either in the Amin government or now fully supported Amin after the 1971 fall of the fascist Obote I regime/dictatorship that had come to power in a 1966 military coup where Obote had toppled Sir Edward Muteesa and declared himself the new executive president. This was in contrast to the largely ceremonial presidency that existed until then.
as was established at Uganda’s independence.
Meanwhile, the abductions during the early years of the Amin presidency would continue intermittently for almost three years, with one of the last being my own mother the late First Lady Kay Amin (RIP) who was abducted from her private apartment across Kisekka market in downtown Kampala on August 14th 1974. She had noticed some unusual activity in front of her house and called her brother John Adroa who drove immediately to her house.
Upon arriving he found plenty of commotion, and the people on site told him that some unknown gunmen in civilian clothes had just taken Kay Amin by force into a vehicle and driven off barely seconds before he (John) arrived at the scene. He attempted a pursuit but then seeing that he couldn’t get them on his own, he called in the police and security agencies and a manhunt was immediately initiated. That evening while at the president’s office at parliament building, President Idi Amin received the dreaded call that Kay Amin was found murdered after a police search found her remains in the boot of a vehicle as the criminals were in the process of trying to secretly dispose of her remains.
It is most probable that all those who had been abducted before her, had suffered the exact same fate as my late mother. She had been dismembered by the criminals probably to make the disposal of the body easier.
They were most likely trying to get to a remote location, possibly the Namanve bushes or the Mabira forest reserve, both on the Kampala-Jinja highway, area’s where human remains were known to be disposed of in the subsequent regimes after Amin. The very people who in 1972 were rebels abducting Amin government officials. And some of them today conducting highly emotional and eloquent key-note speeches in memorials for the very people that they themselves viciously abducted and heartlessly slaughtered.
What the Amin government found as a clue to the abductions is the list of officials targeted for assassination by exiled dictator Milton Obote. In a book titled the Guardian Angel, the author Arnold Bosaase who was privy to the assassination plans, confesses about how Obote drafted this list at his exile residence in Daresalaam, Tanzania, and then operationalized the murders.The Amin government also found it suspicious that Milton Obote and the international press would immediately claim that the abducted government officials had been murdered, even when no dead body was found. This raised the question how did they know that these disappeared people were already dead? Because only the abducter would know for sure such information at a time when the police was still searching for the lost persons. This confirmed to security agencies that Obote had a deadly hand in the disappearances.
Personally I once asked about all the weapons that were smuggled into the country by exiled dictator Milton Obote to his henchmen for their so-called “covert operations against the Amin regime”. Were these weapons shooting butterflies for eight years or were they rather killing Ugandans, terrorism targeted particularly against officials in the Amin government, some of whom even started fleeing to exile for rear of being murdered, not by the Amin government but by the Obote/FRONASA killers known to Ugandan as “bakondo”?
What exactly were these armed “covert operations”?
It turns out that British journalist David Martin was meeting personally with Milton Obote in Daresalaam and getting this information directly from the actual mastermind of the abductions then writing dispatching the story to the international press.
While the Amin government and Uganda police were still conducting investigations, manhunts for the criminals, and searching for the abducted persons, how else could Obote know that they were already dead except if he had received immediate first-hand information from the actual assassin’s?
Another pattern that was clear is that all the abductees had either been Obote prisoners released by Amin after the military coup in 1971, or had embraced and/or taken up senior positions in the new Amin government and therefore only Obote had a clear motive for their elimination. And it turns out they were all on Obote’s list for assassination when his rebels invaded Uganda. Their disappearances started exactly with that invasion. A mission that was part of a bigger military and covert operation intended to make the Amin government fall.
They did later start economic sabotage of the thriving Ugandan economy. One such operation was to deliberately deprive Ugandans of sugar (they called it “essentials”) and make them disgruntled against the Amin government.
They infiltrated Kakira sugar factory and got drivers to take the trucks of sugar and offload them directly into Lake Victoria. That is how the sugar crisis came about.
However Amin resolved the crisis by not only ensuring the delivery of sugar to retailers but he also built a new sugar factory from scratch. Kinyara Sugar Works, which at the time was only a minor gunnery supplying ingredients for a local alcohol known as waragi, suddenly was transformed into a major industrial sugar production development project. This was done in its entirety by Idi Amin in a space of just six months.
The Ben Kiwanuka disappearance shocked a country that was still in the euphoria of the expulsion of British Asians. A deportation that had happened just weeks earlier in August 1972, and in response to which the entire country was still celebrating.
In the police investigation of the Ben Kiwanuka abduction, one of the secondary leads indicated Foreign Minister Wanume Kibedi as a possible suspect. This is a little known fact about the case. Wanume Kibedi, Foreign Minister in the Amin government, was also an inlaw to Amin who was married to Kibedi’s sister First Lady Mama Maryam Amin.
It was reported to the 1974 Commission of Inquiry that Foreign Minister Kibedi had wanted himself to be the president when the army returned power to civilian rule. After news of Kibedi’s intentions started reaching President Amin, he summoned both Kibedi and Ben Kiwanuka for a meeting and indicated clearly to both of them that the Chief Justice being the most senior civilian government official after the military president and his military Vice President, Ben Kiwanuka would be the civilian official to take charge as interim president and be responsible for organizing general elections within four years. This development is what is said to have angered Kibedi who wanted to be the one to become the president after the military government returned to the barracks. He was counting on his family ties with Amin to outdo Ben Kiwanuka. However Amin was intent on following known government protocol and seniority standards.
A year after Ben Kiwanuka’s disappearance, a soldier named Sgt. Simon Kintu would reveal to the 1974 Commission of Inquiry that he had been secretly contacted by Foreign Minister Kibedi whom he knew personally, and had been asked to eliminate Ben Kiwanuka so that Kibedi would automatically be the next senior civilian official in line for the interim presidency when the army returned the country to civilian rule.
The officer told the commission that after his initial meeting with Kibedi, he went back to work and dodged all subsequent attempts by the Foreign Minister to meet him on the subject. He had simply decided to not get involved in the request to assassinate the Chief Justice. The officer then told the commission that when he later heard the news that Ben Kiwanuka had been abducted and disappeared, “By God I knew it could only be Kibedi.” he said.
Four months after the abduction and disappearance of Ben Kiwanuka, Foreign Minister Kibedi learned of the police investigation determining him as a suspect, he quickly fled to London and requested asylum. That was 11th January 1973.
Thirteen years later, during the1986 NRM Commission of Inquiry, Wanume Kibedi, who had returned to Uganda under the 1980’s Obote II/UNLA regime, was summoned to answer the same accusations about his possible involvement in the disappearance of Chief Justice Ben Kiwanuka. While he vehemently refuted the allegations, he immediately fled back again to exile until his death two years ago in London on 13th June 2016. The Buganda establishment was still considering him a suspect in the disappearance of their hero who had also previously been the first Prime Minister of Uganda at independence in 1962, and whom Amin had actually liberated from Obote’s prisons in 1971, appointed him Chief Justice of Uganda, and treated him well in the one year that he served before he was brutally abducted, never to be seen again.
As mentioned earlier, it was during this 1972 invasion that Ben Kiwanuka was abducted. It was also during the same attack that former Obote minister Alex Ojera was caught red-handed with his fellow rebels fleeing battle. He was sent to a military tribunal and charged with treason for his actions against the country.
Previously, I have found some individuals commiserating about an armed criminal called Captain Tom Masaba who was given the capital punishment (firing squad) by a military tribunal.
Firstly, this Mr. Masaba has today been officially recognized by his colleagues as a FRONASA rebel. Thereby confirming that Masaba wasn’t some innocent person being unfairly witch-hunted. He was what President Amin said he was.
At the time Masaba was being sent by his criminal bosses to murder Ugandan civilians inconsiderately in an effort to terrorize Ugandans. Back then they were infamously known by Ugandans as the “wakondo”. The Ugandan terrorists of those days.
I was shocked to find that a murderous villain of that caliber was now being considered as some gallant martyr. I remember thinking that some people’s brains must have turned upside down to mourn a dangerous criminal who was not even fighting government soldiers. He was actually murdering innocent Ugandans.
The reality is that he was a hard core criminal who engaged in bloody murders and terror. And while most people today have no clue what Masaba did to innocent Ugandan civilians, a few of his colleagues do. Court records still exist about his case. He was put on trial, there was prosecution, defense, and a court ruling. It wasn’t just summary execution for any criminal even though they deserved it. In fact at the time of his execution by firing squad, the relatives of his victims actually wanted him burnt alive instead.
Masaba’s last words to the chaplain was to beg Ugandans for forgiveness for all the murders he had been committing against innocent citizens mostly in the dead of night. Indeed seeing how some Ugandans speak of him today, God must have granted him his last prayer despite my surprise and current protestations.
Last year the case of another FRONASA rebel was ignited in the public domain after construction workers, while building a new house on the property of the late James Karambuzi, suddenly unearthed guns he had hidden back in the 70’s. They quickly called the police to retrieve the whole stash of now rusted weapons, and pictures were published in the media of police posing with the find. Mr. Karambuzi who was given the death sentence in 1973 by the military court martial, is a person whom it was claimed that he was an innocent person killed by Amin. It turns out that the Amin government intelligence and CID had actually caught only part of the incriminating evidence back then and justice had actually been served against a dangerous criminal as per the law.
As for Israeli citizen Dora Bloch. Her death was unclear even to President Idi Amin. She had been taken ill to Mulago hospital while the president was in Mauritius handing over the African Union chairmanship and had not even known about her sickness. The Israeli’s raided Entebbe airport barely 15 minutes after he had returned and left the airport for home.
Basically he had not even been briefed that one of the hostages had been taken to hospital in his absence. He was also only told the next day that she had died and was buried at Jinja military Cemetary. It is there that the Israeli’s later recovered a body when Amin was now in exile. They claimed it was the late Dora Bloch and buried those remains in Tel-Aviv.
But to say that Amin had anything to do with her predicament is quite a stretch of the human imagination given the timeline of events and what he himself was told by government security services after returning home and being attacked by an Israeli commando raid. For the record this was exactly his own explanation during a press conference in Khartoum, Susanna’s he attended the 1977 African Union summit. A British journalist had asked him specifically about Dora Bloch.
However, it is the attacks by the rebels, the assassinations they were conducting, the tense security situation, and the fear of Obote’s return that made the elders of Rukungiri write a petition calling for President Amin to remain in office, and they called for him to be designated Life President.
But it is especially the abduction of Ben Kiwanuka that saw all Amin’s plans for return to civilian rule crushed by the abductors.
As the people of Uganda remember Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka, it is highly probable (and incredible) that Obote and his UPC party supporters who fanatically hated Ben Kiwanuka politically as they had imprisoned him and countless other political opponents in 1969, yet he rose to serve highly in government after Obote was deposed, those UPC fans and the real abductors who snatched him on 22 September 1972 during the Obote invasion from Tanzania, are among the people who have been mourning him loudest for the last four decades.
Personally it is an interesting experience to watch them forever condemned to pretend to mourn the very political opponents they hated, the very ones they then jailed following Milton Obote’s 1966 coup. The very people they then murdered covertly once these political opponents were in power under the new Amin government.
To this day, the final words in the official police investigation report on the late Chief Justice Ben Kiwanuka and all other elites disappeared during the Amin regime is: “Whereabouts still unknown”.
It is probably for this reason that Museveni, while talking indirectly about Amin, boisterously stated to a security meeting in 1986 that “I cannot be the president of a country who doesn’t know where people have disappeared”.
Such a statement would only be very meaningful to a person involved in the abductions against the Amin government he was fighting.
Everywhere around the world, investigators struggle with what are known as “Cold cases”. This is where a crime has been committed but no criminal has been arrested because of lack of leads to the criminal or lack of evidence pinning a suspect.
Law enforcement should never be just presenting any innocent Muslim youths, claim that these are the culprits, put them on trial on trumped up charges as is seen to be the case these days in Uganda, and then give them life sentences yet they are probably innocent.
Especially when in reality the real criminals are walking scot-free, enjoying impunity for their heinous crimes just like Yoweri Museveni and his mentor genocide dictator Milton Obote, the two together being the known butchers of Luweero on top of being behind all the above mentioned disappearances, mass murders, national insecurity, crime and terror.