President Museveni has said Idi Amin should have worked out a negotiation plan with Uganda’s first Chief Justice, Benedicto Kiwanuka rather than killing him.
“Kiwanuka was highly trained in matters of law. He was an experienced political leader having served in portfolios as the first chief minister of Uganda and also leader of the Democratic Party. This shows he was a great national asset given his qualifications, experience and his exposure Why did Amin deprive the country of the services of such a great leader? How did he hope to build the country’s institutions without the input of professionals like Benedicto Kiwanuka?If there had been disagreements between Amin and Bendicto Kiwanuka , it was possible to resolve them without resorting to crude and cowardly methods,” Museveni said.
The president was on Thursday speaking during the sixth Benedicto Kiwanuka memorial lecture at the judiciary headquarters in Kampala.
Museveni’s speech was delivered by former Prime Minister, Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda.
Describing the act as a low moment in the country’s history, Museveni said the killing of Benedicto Kiwanuka was later a clear vindication of the actions of liberators who took the path of armed resistance against the then dictatorial and bankrupt regimes.
“If the head of third arm of government could be dragged from his chambers in broad day light and summarily executed, one doesn’t need to have extra ordinary powers of imagination to guest the fate of millions of ordinary Uganda under Idi Amin’s regime. Amin didn’t stop with murder of Kiwanuka but he also targeted the elites who challenged his dictatorship like university professors, doctors, lawyers, politicians, religious leaders and many other individuals and groups. They were either exiled or killed like Archbishop Luwum who was murdered in 1977.”
Museveni said the murders were not evidence of Amin’s strength but rather exposed his ideological bankruptcy that he said ought to be fought.
Museveni said since then, Uganda emerged from the dark past of dictatorships and extrajudicial killings to becoming an island of peace envied by many in the world.
Kiwanuka was dragged from his chambers by Amin’s soldiers on September, 21, 1972 at the Judiciary headquarters and 51 years later, his body has never been recovered.
Speaking during the memorial lecture, the Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny Dollo said Kiwanuka was martyred for defending the rule of law and fundamental freedoms of the people of and in Uganda.
“As the Judiciary Service continues to draw inspiration and motivation from the works and service of Benedicto Kiwanuka, we are reminded of our constitutional obligation, and accountability, to all justice seekers in Uganda in our actions and decisions,” Dollo said.
“Accountability has been expressed to mean the acceptance of responsibility for one’s own actions, including a willingness to be transparent and allowing others to observe and evaluate one’s performance. Judicial officers are not only individually accountable internally to the Judiciary Service but we are also externally accountable to the public that we serve.”
He said judicial accountability requires that judicial actions, inactions and decisions be made in the interest of the people served but also requires that decisions and undertakings be satisfactorily explained to people.
“Every judicial officer is duty-bound, not only to issue correct decisions, but also to explain in clear terms the reasons, for one’s decision and ensure that the same are transparently enforced in accordance with the law,” the Chief Justice said.