The family of the late Andrew Lutaakome Kayiira has said that the award, presented to them on Heroes day was a mockery to his memory.
Kayiira, a former guerrilla organization leader, was posthumously awarded the Luwero Triangle medal, presented by President Yoweri Museveni, to his widow Samali Nakamya, and son David Kayiira, during the Heroes Day celebrations held yesterday in Kasanje, Wakiso district.
Kayiira was the leader of the Uganda Freedom Movement, a guerrilla pressure group comprising Baganda ministers in Lule’s administration, which was formed to promote Buganda’s interests. It transformed into a rebel group after the overthrow of Lule in June 1979 and fought against the governments of Milton Obote and Tito Okello between 1980 and 1986.
Although the group was often seen as a rival entity to the National Resistance Army, led by Yoweri 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.
Kayiira was reportedly murdered in March 1987 from Lukuli-Konge Village, the home of his friend, Henry Gombya, a former stringer with the British Broadcasting Corporation-BBC. His 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 during the struggles against dictatorship.
But David Kayiira, who received the medal, accompanied with an envelope containing 60,000 Shillings, says the entire function ceremony was in mockery of his late father.
He said that they were duped by the government to believe that after 32 years, their father’s contribution to the liberation of the country, would be rewarded. He added that the category of the medal which was given to his father has also been presented to persons who stopped at supplying food and water to the fighters.
David Kayiira also questioned the criteria used to offer the 60,000 Shillings payment to the 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.
The daring attack on Lubiri was to overthrow the Obote regime. But Kayiira’s fighters were overrun by the government troops.
David Kayiira argues that the government must have plotted to disgrace their family.
But the Second Prime Minister AL hajji Ali Kirunda Kivejinja said awards are determined by an awards committee basing on a number of factors, but mostly on the individual’s contribution to the struggle.