Following an unsuccessful assassination attempt on President Apollo Milton Obote’s life on December 19 1969, at Lugogo, and another in June 1970 around Silver Springs Bugolobi, the president somewhat resigned to a private life and became suspicious of almost everyone except one man- Akena Adoko, his cousin and head of the General Service Unit (GSU) alias, the Secret Police.
The role of Adoko and his clique was to constantly file whatever the wind brought as intelligence brief on the president’s assassination attempts in wait. And they threw one brief after another in large files and paper sheets direct to Obote and no one else.
Every day, the president received a report on who wanted to assassinate him, where and when. The reports were express and could not be intercepted by anyone, not even the President’s initially trusted Press Secretary and one with whom the two nearly survived death in Lugogo- Henry Kyemba.
Kyemba had taken one of the bullets that was directed to Obote, by the fact that it grazed his neck shortly before diverting from target meant that Kyemba had successfully swayed the bullet from hitting Obote who, by the time had lost teeth following a number of shots coming off Muhamed Ssebaduka’s revolver.
Ratatatatata, Obote who was just close to Kyemba was down and wounded, another shot rang out, bullet off Kyemba’s neck onto zero target. With speed, the president was picked up and rushed to Mulago with a bleeding Kyemba in tow aboard the Vice President’s (John Babiha) car.
Now months later, Obote was suspicious of Kyemba, thanks to the reports filed by the GSU.
According to Kyemba, one time Obote called him during lunch time to brief him about the reports written through the GSU implicating Kyemba.
“I walked into the lounge where he was sitting, without any hesitation, he looked at me and asked. ‘Kyemba tell me, were u really shot during the (assassination) attempt? The GSU thinks you were faking it’.
An infuriated Kyemba after moments of silence exclaimed; ‘what!’, then dashed out of the room in anger, passing by his office and picking up his briefcase and papers with intention of resigning later.
Kyemba however never resigned and Obote did not mention the matter again.
What had Adoko’s team told Obote
A report to Obote on Kyemba had indicated that the latter had just fallen to the ground and scratched himself with a stone to fake a bullet wound.
Nile Post traveled to Jinja to meet with Kyemba, where he revealed a big scar around his neck. He said that was from the assassination escape in Lugogo 50 years ago.
“That was rubbish, sheer stupidity. If I wanted to kill Milton. I would have ensured I wasn’t in firing line or within distance of the grenade that was waiting to blast and finish us,” Kyemba said of the accusations.
During the assassination attempt, the assassins rolled a grenade towards Obote and Kyemba who lay on ground. Fortunately, the grenade simply kept rolling about and never got its blast.
The writer is a private contributor to Nile Post