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Museveni, Miria mourn UPC supporters

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th June 2008 03:00 AM

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni and the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) leader, Miria Kalule Obote, over the weekend met in Kamukuzi, Mbarara district and firmly shook hands as they exchanged pleasantries.

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni and the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) leader, Miria Kalule Obote, over the weekend met in Kamukuzi, Mbarara district and firmly shook hands as they exchanged pleasantries.

By Kyomuhendo Muhanga
and Abraham Ssengendo

In Mbarara

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni and the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) leader, Miria Kalule Obote, over the weekend met in Kamukuzi, Mbarara district and firmly shook hands as they exchanged pleasantries.

“Mama Miria, how are you?” Museveni, who was in a jovial mood, asked while holding her right hand. “I am very fine Your Excellency,” Miria replied with a broad smile. During the 2006 presidential elections, Museveni defeated Miria and three others with 4,078,911 votes ( 59.28%), while Miria polled 56,674 (0.82%).

The two politicians met at the memorial ceremony of Nekemiah Bananuka, a former UPC supporter, who was murdered together with his three sons in 1972.

His body was never recovered. During a heavy downpour on Saturday, Bananuka’s family and friends formally buried the remains of his sons; Asaph David Francis Munanura, Nathan James Herbert Mugarura and Edward Wycliffe Charles Bananura.

Idi Amin’s soldiers killed the three on September 18, 1972 as they fled their home in Ruharo in Mbarara following the attack of Makenke Barracks by the Front for National Salvation Fighters (FRONASA), which was then led by Museveni. Their father, Bananuka, was killed the following day. The army suspected that they were UPC spies, who were guiding forces that raided Uganda to oust Amin. Bananuka was a founding member of the Uganda People’s Union, which merged with the Uganda National Congress to form UPC.

During various military operations in Mbarara, many UPC supporters were arrested and killed, according to the Rev. George Nkoba. He told the mourners that when soldiers raided villages and killed several civilians, the bodies were dumped near a forest in Nyakatokye village, Ibanda district, and were left to rot.

The families of the victims picked their remains after Amin was overthrown in 1979.

When Museveni was asked to lead the mourners to the burial site of the three brothers, he walked to the tent where Miria was seated and they walked towards the graves together.

This drew prolonged laughter and cheers as the two politicians walked side-by-side. Whereas Museveni was walking under an umbrella bearing the Uganda flag colours (black, yellow and red), Miria had one for her party.

In his eulogy, Museveni described Bananuka as a person who greatly contributed towards the building of the nation.

He said his murder and that of his sons was a cowardly act, which led to the formation of FRONASA.

Museveni said Amin committed two serious crimes against humanity.

“These were treason and killing people in cold blood. Why kill a person on just mere suspicion? Why should you kill people you have arrested? If you know that the person you have arrested is likely to cause danger, keep him in prison until he is organised and later release him.”

In his book Sowing the Mustard Seed- the struggle for freedom and democracy in Uganda, Museveni: “Following the failure of the invasion,(1972) Amin’s soldiers murdered many people, including Francis Walugembe, Shaban Nkutu, Ben Kiwanuka, Bananuka, Alex Ojera, Joshua Wakholi and Paicho Ali.”

Sarah Bananuka, the assistant resident commissioner of Mpigi district, is one of Nekemiah’s surviving children. She asked the Government to compensate her family for the property Amin’s solders grabbed from them.

Museveni, Miria mourn UPC supporters

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