Thursday, 29 January 2015
Playwright, Artiste and director of National Theater. Murdered by Amin's henchmen.
The fate of Kawadwa at the hands of Amin's agents was not without its tragic irony.
Several Baganda theatre artists welcomed Amin's coup, as first. Popular theatre artists like Kiyingi and Kawadwa, and literary dramatists like Serumaga, thought Amin would reinstate the Kabaka, (who had been deposed from his traditional Kingship by Obote). Although the Kabaka was not reinstalled, in the early years of Amin's regime, Kawadwa's productions did seem to spearhead a Baganda renaissance.
Eventually, however, Amin's paranoia took offence at one of Kawadwa's most popular plays. St Charles Lwanga, first produced in 1970, was a play about the nineteenth century Baganda Christians who were martyred by Kabaka Mwanga. Kawadwa decided to revive the play in 1976 and owing to its Christian content, sought and received approval for the performance from Muslim Amin's presidential office.
In 1977, the year of the performance, Amin's notorious Bureau of State security outraged Ugandan and world opinion by murdereing the Anglican Archbishop, Janani Luwum. Suddenly Kawadwa's play was transformed from a relatively innocuous exploration of nineteenth century Ugandan history into a politically sensitive allegory on contemporary state terrorists. Soon afterwards, Byron and several members of his theatre company were picked up by the bureau of state security and their burnt bodies were discovered in the bush 33 km outside Kampala. Kawadwa's fate seems all the more pathetic because he was not an oppositional author of a consciously ideological stamp; it was just that his ability to ceate theatrical forms with a wide popular appeal outside Amin's permitted propaganda machinery eventually seemed a threat to the state.
Tuesday, 6 January 2015
Left, murdered by Amin 1977.
The killing of archbishop janani luwum, lands minister and former inspector general of police erinayo oryema and interior minister charles oboth-ofumbi on february 17, 1977, marked the climax of amin’s bloody repression.
After these murders, amin took a ruthless and sweeping decision: all remaining acholi and langi soldiers were to be eliminated. After all, he had allegedly uncovered a plot to overthrow his government in which the archbishop and the two ministers were a part.
Ofumbi knew too much to stay alivePublish Date: Apr 23, 2013
The family of former Internal Affairs Minister, Charles Oboth Ofumbi who was brutally murdered on February 16, 1977, speaks out for the first time about the pain and the tragedy they went through.
By Charles Etukuri
At the family home in Nyamalogo, Mulanda in Tororo district, Ofumbi’s widow, Elizabeth, recalls the last conversation she had with her husband.
“I had travelled to pick our children who were studying in St. Andrews Turi in Kenya when he called me. He sounded different on the phone and he said he was going for a stormy cabinet meeting but was not so sure he would come out alive. ‘Pray for me and should anything happen, please make sure that you give the children the gift of education,’ were his last words to me,” she recalls.
With those words, Ofumbi drove to Nile Mansions (now Kampala Serena Hotel) where President Idi Amin had called a special ministerial meeting. Amin had invited diplomats, the press and religious leaders.
Monday, 5 January 2015
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.