President Yoweri Museveni has described former Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka as a principled person who stood firm against the tribal chauvinism of Mengo, the capital of Buganda.
Museveni, officiating at the 5th Memorial Day of Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka at the High Court in Kampala on Wednesday, said Kiwanuka said no to pushing tribal agendas and advocating for a national position.
“I worked with him in the Democratic Party (DP) although DP still had its sectarian side being mainly a Catholic party but at least on the national unity, they took a correct position and we should salute him for that,” the President said.
The 5th Kiwanuka Memorial Day was held under the theme: “Benedicto Kiwanuka – Reflections on the Independence of the Judiciary in Modern Times”. Kiwanuka was killed 50 years ago allegedly by the Idi Amin regime.
The president said Uganda would not have had political problems if UPC under Milton Obote had not been opportunistic to try and please Mengo.
Mengo’s Kabaka Yeeka (KY) alienated Kiwanuka’s DP to ally with Obote’s DP. Many political observers looked at Kiwanuka’s falling out with KY as a sign of not being loyal to his tribes’ mate in Buganda.
Buganda Kingdom backed KY and UPC would go on to form the country’s first government with Kabaka Edward Mutesa II as President and Obote as an executive Prime Minister. Four year’s into their regime, the two fell out and Obote ousted Mutesa sending him to exile in London where he died.
At the time, Museveni says Uganda missed opportunities for broad-based unity. “We missed 1962, 1971 and 1980 and every time we met to get a broad-based position, a lot of trouble for the country resulted,” the president reminisced.
“The educated class in Uganda, because of their tribalistic mindset, failed to agree for a common cause like getting rid of former President Idi Amin who ordered for the abduction and killing of former Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka, the whereabouts of whose remains remain unknown,” the president elaborated.
“We salute Ben Kiwanuka but please Ugandans, the political class, let’s not lose new opportunities. NRM has been able to keep you together for 35 years now. That’s why we are moving. I appeal to you all, to consolidate and support this unity and approach of togetherness.