Monday, 5 January 2015
Mr Erinayo Oryema
Murdered in 1977
On 16 February 1977, Oryema, Archbishop Janani Luwum and Interior Minister Charles Oboth Ofumbi were arrested. The same day Idi Amin convened a rally in Kampala with the three accused present. A few other "suspects" were paraded forth to read out "confessions" implicating the three men for planning to stage a coup. The next day, Radio Uganda announced that the three had been killed when the car transporting them to an interrogation center had collided with another vehicle. The accident, Radio Uganda reported, had occurred when the victims had tried to overpower the driver in an attempt to escape. Henry Kyemba, Minister of Health in Amin's government, later wrote in his book A State of Blood, that "The bodies were bullet-riddled. The archbishop had been shot through the mouth and at least three bullets in the chest. The ministers had been shot in a similar way but one only in the chest and not through the mouth. Oryema had a bullet wound through the leg."
According to the later testimony of witnesses, the victims had been taken to an army barracks, where they were bullied, beaten and finally shot.
Erinayo Oryema was by the time of his death the longest serving minister in Amin’s government. The murder of Oryema and Luwum had profound effects. Their deaths made many realise that no one was safe, and shortly thereafter several of Amin’s ministers defected or fled to exile.