By Henry D Gombya
27 years ago this day of 6 March 1987, approximately a dozen heavily armed men dressed in Uganda army uniforms, burst onto the lawn of my house in Gaba, just outside Kampala, Uganda’s capital and changed my life forever, forcing my wife and I to leave our mother country and Africa where both of us have never returned to since. I am inviting our readers to come with me on this journey of remembering events that led to the assassination of Dr Lutakome Andrew Kayiira and relive the fearful moments that engulfed our lives then and still haunt us, especially my wife to this day.
Having been released from Luzira Maximum Security Prison where he had been held in early 1987 on trumped-up charges of trying to overthrow the Museveni government, I met Dr Kayiira at a relative’s flat just next to the then Apollo Hotel which is now Sheraton Hotel. We met alongside many of his friends to congratulate him on winning the case and to celebrate his freedom.
Without giving any thought about it, I invited Dr Kayiira back to my house. We had just moved into the place, had so much space to ourselves and I thought he would feel quite comfortable there. At the back of my head, I had the thoughts of how just before the year ended, Dr Kayiira had risked his life to protect me after then army chief Gen Bazilio Olara Okello had sent some army chaps to pick me up and give me a lesson or two for reporting for the BBC on what his undisciplined soldiers were up to.
After defeating the group that had been sent to snatch me from the hotel where he had kept and defended me with an armed guard, Dr Kayiira surprised me when he said he would take me to face Gen Olara Okello. I asked him: “Are you mad? That’s the guy who is after my life.” He retorted: “You have to remember that before he does anything to you he will have to kill me first.”