Henry Kyemba, the then Personal Secretary to Dr Apollo Milton Obote points out that as tension between Mengo and Obote continued rising, there were a lot of accusations. Kyemba notes that since Dr. Lumu was a personal friend to Kabaka Fredrick Muteesa, who was already at loggerheads with Obote, his arrest was unavoidable.
Dark memories surrounding the 1966 crisis have been
evoked as friends and family celebrate the life of Dr. Emmanuel Lumu, Uganda’s
first native Health Minister. Dr. Lumu, who was born in 1916, breathed
his last at his residence in Bakuli on Wednesday morning. He was 103.
He is remembered as a
man for all seasons, whose resilience enabled him to juggle medicine and
politics during troubled times. Our reporters visited his residence and found
several mourners, mostly elderly citizens thanking God for the long and healthy
life given to the deceased. Seated in
white plastic chairs, the mourners shared what they had heard and knew about
Dr. Lumu, who has been one of the two surviving cabinet ministers of the first
Ugandan led government.
Although none of the mourners could speak about the early
years of the celebrated medic, many recalled
events of 1966, which led to his arrest by Dr. Milton Obote on allegations of
plotting a coup. “Those were dark days and no one could tell that he
could survive,” an old lady who declined an interview told fellow mourners.
Dr. Lumu was one of the five ministers arrested
from a cabinet meeting on February 22, 1966. The others arrested with him and detained without trial for five years were Matthias Ngobi, Grace Ibingira, George Magezi and Balaki Kirya. They were released by President Idi Amin Dada in 1971. Lumu’s son, Richard
Ssengendo, says despite the fact the deceased and Dr. Obote were friends,
matters went haywires as the former opposed the latter on several issues.
He says the deceased’s decision to oppose Obote
for setting up a special force, among other factors, could have landed him in
//Cue in; “Obote was a friend…
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Henry Kyemba, the then Personal Secretary to Prime Minister (and later President) Obote points out
that as tension between Mengo and Obote continued rising, there were a lot of
accusations. Kyemba notes that since Dr. Lumu was a personal friend to Kabaka
Fredrick Muteesa, who was already at loggerheads with Obote, his arrest was
//Cue in: “Obote suspended the...
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The deceased’s daughter, Vivian
Kityo who is also the Executive Director of Wakisa Ministries, says life
changed for them as she was joining secondary education because her father was
locked up. She says that her father decided to hang his political boots
following his release from jail in 1971 and opted to live a quiet life at his
Bakuli based home. He started selling used cars to earn a living,
a job most family members didn’t hold in high esteem. Kityo however, notes that
Dr. Lumu wasn’t moved and all he did was to live a healthier life.
//Cue in: “He said no...
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Esther Nsibambi, one of the mourners at the vigil, says apart
from the political angle, Dr. Lumu had a reputation that preceded him. She says
to the residents of Mengo-Kisenyi and surrounding areas where he had set up a
clinic, the medic was known for being a dedicated professional who ensured his
patients received the care that they deserved.
//Cue in; “I knew Dr. Lumu...
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His dedication as a professional doctor came to the fore
while at the helm of the health ministry. A local newspaper once applauded Dr.
Lumu, saying he led the ‘best health system’ in Uganda, which saw the
establishment of Regional Referral hospitals.
In his old age, Dr. Lumu was haunted
by ghosts from his youthful days as several people accused him grabbing land in
Kampala and Mukono districts. His last public appearance was before the Justice
Catherine Bamugemereire Commission where he was grilled over the accusations.
To his son, Richard Ssengendo, Dr. Lumu was
framed by unscrupulous individuals to grab his land. He notes that despite his diligent
service to the country, his father has never been appreciated by government
since he has never received any formal recognition and retirement
//Cue in: “I think, they…
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On his part the Prime Minister,
Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has described Dr. Lumu as one of the few people who were
committed to seeing peace and unity in Uganda during turbulent times. He says
that Dr. Lumu’s contribution to the health sector can still be felt today.