With the palace literally on its knees and the Kabaka sent dashing to ‘nowhere’, Obote was in full gear and solely in command, not that he had not been before anyway.
Even without knowing where Mutesa had run to, alive or dead, injured or fresh, Obote summoned for a press conference to level his accusations against the Kabaka and the palace, while at the same time justify his actions.
In the press conference, a calm Obote put the number of dead at 20 inside palace, and 20 outside palace, making a dubious 40 in total, contrary to the hundreds of thousands that had been reported.
But where was the Kabaka?
Indeed, the press had run papers the next morning with the same question, while the several journalists that turned up for Obote’s press conference were concerned about the same, and they asked.
“The question has been asked already in press and elsewhere and I don’t know why you should ask me that question now. The most important thing is press men think the Kabaka has done nothing wrong,” Obote remarked.
“The Kabaka requested foreign troops in February, we have this on authority. He organised a rebellion, and these are not noticed, but anyway, the truth will come out,” Obote lamented.
Meanwhile Kabaka Mutesa, with hand sprained, was at the moment in hiding at the home of the late Prof Nsibambi’s mother in Kampala. With him, were his most trusted guards; Maj Johoash Katende and George Malo.
There is theory that the King actually had about 6 hours of hiding at Rubaga Cathedral where he would later be dressed as a priest and escorted to Prof Nsibambi’s mother’s place. He was then fetched there on the same day Obote held his press conference and chauffeured out of Kampala.
Meanwhile Obote’s men had wind that Mutesa could still be somewhere in the country, they dashed to Luzira to ascertain if the Kabaka had picked his boat or may be used it in his escape. They found it parked, and to avoid taking anymore chances, burnt it.
Mutesa had started his journey of no return, cutting through Buloba, Bujjuko, then joined Masaka road to Mpigi until Kabale before exiting to Burundi, around June 16th.
Buganda was burning from within, some loyalists in Kayunga started an uprising but was quelled instantly. The army remained heavily deployed in Kampala while people evacuated the city in large numbers.
Certain elements within the city were vowing to make Obote’s governance hell and it is them he sent a message in the press conference. And may be those who would have wanted to help.
“We are prepared for anything; my guess is that there wont be any resistance unless foreigners try to poke their noses in this. But we shall cut their noses to shape,” Obote roared.
Was he abolishing Kabakaship?
Obote distanced self from this intention, he said the Kabaka was on his own.
“if I wanted to abolish Kabaka-ship, I would go for all the four (Busoga, Buganda, Bunyoro, Tooro), not just one,” Obote said.
Well, he was getting late, the Kabaka before leaving had been organising meetings with fellow traditional leaders allegedly to overthrow Obote’s regime. The meetings happened a year before in Fort Portal and were attended by; Kyabazinga of Busoga Wilberforce Nadiope, Ankole’s Charles Godfrey Gasyonga II, Omukama Winyi IV of Bunyoro, Muteesa II of Buganda and George David Kamurasi Rukidi III of Tooro.
With Obote well aware that the element of rebellion could rise up in the rest of the kingdoms, he had to pull the trigger, and abolish kingdoms. This left him with one man to handle- Mutesa.
Mutesa was at this time was an asylum seeker in a one-bedroom flat in Bermondsey, London and soon would be receiving the full wrath of Obote. The chess game began……
Our next article will review how Obote made Mutesa’s life in UK miserable
The writer is a private contributor to Nile Post