By Hanning Mbabazi
Kampala: The family of the late Andrew Lutaakome Kayiira has branded the award which was presented to them on Heroes day a mockery to his memory.
David Kayiira, Son of the late Lutakome, who received the medal which was accompanied with an envelope containing Shs60,000, says the entire function and ceremony was in mockery of his late father’s memory. He (David) said that “Our family was duped by government to believe that after 32 years, our father’s contribution to the liberation of Uganda would be rewarded.” He added that “The category of the medal which was given to my father has also been presented to persons who stopped at supplying food and water to the fighters,” adding that “the government must have plotted to disgrace our family.” He observes that even though the function was held at Kasanje, an area where Dr Kayiira based to launch several attacks, including the infamous attack on Lubiri barracks and the route where fighters later passed to capture Entebbe, his reward came as ridicule.
Who Is Lutakome Kayiira
Kayiira was the leader of the Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM), a guerrilla organization that fought the governments of Dr Milton Obote and Tito Okolo between 1980 and 1986. Kayiira and the UFM were often seen as a rival to the National Resistance Army (NRA) led by Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, which was also fighting a guerrilla war against the Obote and Okello governments. When the NRA took power in 1986, Kayiira was appointed Minister for Energy by Museveni. Later that year, Kayiira was arrested for treason but was released after some time in jail. However, he was a few days thereafter murdered by unknown gunmen on March 9th, 1987 and matters surrounding his murder have always been a thorn in government’ side, which they would rather not want to discuss. The Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF) was a political group formed by exiled Ugandans opposed to the rule of late president Iddi Amin. It worked alongside the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) which acted as a sister wing in liberating Uganda from the alleged autocratic leadership of Iddi Amin Dada. It fought alongside Tanzanian forces in the Uganda-Tanzania War that led to the overthrow of Amin’s regime. Although the group was often seen as a rival entity to the National Resistance Army, led by Museveni, Kayiira was appointed energy minister in 1986, when the NRA took over power. During the same year, he was arrested and charged with treason and released on February 24, 1987, due to lack of evidence. However after one year in office, Kayiira was reportedly murdered in March 1987 from Lukuli-Konge Village, at his friend Henry Gombya’s home. Gombya was a former stringer with the British Broadcasting Corporation-BBC. Kayiira’s death came exactly 10 days after he was acquitted of treason charges. More than thirty years later, the Ugandan government presented him with the Luwero Triangle Medal, an honour awarded to anyone who was in the armed struggle between 1981 and 1986. The medal can also be given to civilians who participated closely with the armed freedom fighters. However, the Second Prime Minister AL hajji Ali Kirunda Kivejinja said that awards are determined by the Awards Committee, basing on a number of factors, but mostly on the individual’s contribution to the struggle.