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Raila Odinga’s 1991 Dramatic Escape to Exile via Uganda



This week, many were astounded  when Former Kenyan Premier Raila Amollo Odinga opened up on his epic 1991 escape to exile in Norway.

Until yesterday, many of his young followers were oblivious of the fact that at one point in time, the man they call ‘Baaba’ had to sneak through the eye of a needle to save his life.

Perhaps, this would not have happened hadn’t little known Robert Njura spilled the beans days earlier.

But in a typical show of statesmanship, ‘Baaba’ as he is affectionately known, decided to reach out to Njura, a then Senior three student at Makunda Secondary school in Budalangi who paddled him to safety.

In a tear evoking testimony, he recalled how he left Kenya as a Catholic Priest and left the Ugandan territory as a Muslim, in a Thursday August 28, 2020 Facebook post.

“For my flight to exile in Norway via Uganda, to avoid a fourth detention and possibly assassination, I once again honor Robert Njura for his steady hands on the boat,” Odinga extolled.

The Journey

Trouble started brewing in 1982 when a group of young malcontents within the army led by a one Hezekiah Ochuka Rabala attempted to oust President Arap Moi in a badly staged coup.

After subduing the plotters, a paranoid Moi went on rampage incarcerating political opponents and insiders who dared him.

By 1992, Odinga, who then was a thorn in the flesh of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), had already endured three prison spells and numerous threats.

However, around June 21, 1991, he received credible intelligence that state agents were planning to do away with him once and for all.

This prompted him to immediately take to his heels.

“I was evacuated from here following first; an attack by some goons who had been hired, they were following me. They had attacked me in front of my house and I was admitted at Nairobi Hospital,” Odinga recalled yesterday.

Under the stewardship of the Catholic Church, a plot was hatched to sneak him outside the country before the worse got to the worst.

“So I took off through the grace of the Catholic Church, one father, Mark Opio and a catholic nun, Sister Dianne from the United States,” Odinga retorted.

“The father was wearing a collar, the sister was wearing white and myself I was being carried with a collar. And my name was Father Augustine from Machakos,” he stated further.

Thereafter, the company proceeded to a catholic mission in Kisumu where they were served a meal before heading to Ranga’la Mission.

At night, Odinga was taken to a canoe at Sirongo beach located in Bondo and entrusted to Njura, who first steered him to a Lake Victoria Island known as Ndende.

On the waters of Lake Victoria, they came into contact with a boat being manned by Ugandan businessmen.

“These were businessmen, they were bringing timber and they would go back with manufactured products. They would take clothes, sugar, mattresses and so on,” he disclosed.

After acquiring fake Ugandan documents in the name of Joseph Ojiwa, they set off again and arrived at another island where they found only one resident, a man who was related to Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko.

Their next journey took them up to an island near Iganga from where Odinga boarded a Jinja bound taxi and changed to another one which took him to Kampala.

“At the entrance of Owen falls Bridge, we found a road block and they were expecting identification. They saw my name Joseph Ojiwa Odero there and I had also certificates of tax called ‘emisolo’,” he intimated.

Raila Odinga meeting with Njura on Thursday.

Entering Kampala

After maneuvering through obstacles of all kinds, Odinga arrived in Kampala.

This time he was alone had parted ways with his fellow Kenyans who had helped him evade arrest.

Within a blink of an eye, he raised his long time friend, a one Shem Konga who came to his rescue.

On top of housing Odinga for the unspecified time he was in Kampala, Konga assisted him to get documents for asylum in Norway.

“They were again looking for me in Uganda and I had to be camouflaged again. Here I departed as a Ugandan Moslem with a kanzu and my name was Al-Hajj Omar, a Moslem who was going on pilgrimage to Mecca. And that’s how I boarded a plane from Entebbe,” Odinga explained.

Risks at hand

Whereas Government apologetics might claim that Odinga’s persecution was a hoax, media records say otherwise.

A 1992 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) “Focus on Africa” article written by Mitch Odero, who at the time a deputy editor of ‘The Standard’, offers some important leads.

Serial killings

In his article contained in the October to December 1992 issue, Odero recalls a series of mysterious deaths that gripped the nation starting with that of Kenya’s Foreign Minister Dr Robert Ouko in 1990.

Two years after that incident, Hezekiah Oyugi, Powerful Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President also followed suit.

“He died with vital information about the people who murdered Kenya’s Foreign Minister Dr Robert Ouko in 1990. Mr Oyugi was in charge of internal security and provincial administration,” Odero writes.

At the time of his death, Oyugi was interrogating circumstances that led to Ouko’s sudden death but all of a sudden, a judicial commission appointed to this matter was disbanded a day before he could tender in evidence.

Instead, he was named as a suspect in Ouko’s death, incarcerated and died shortly after being released.

“A former International Police (Interpol) Chief in Nairobi, Nehemiah Ombati who had arrested Mr Oyugi and Mr Biwott, died at a Nairobi hospital a day before Mr Oyugi was buried,” Odero further intimates.

A week later, Forum for Restoration of Democracy (FORD) Vice Chairman Masinde Muliro, a close friend of the Odinga’s followed suit.

In an intriguing twist of events, he passed out after returning from a foreign trip where he had met a dissident, a one George Luchiri Wajackoyah.

“A week before Mr. Ombatti died, the vice chairman of FORD, Mr Masinde Muliro collapsed and died at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. He had just returned from London where he had met a former police officer, George Luchiri Wajackoyah,” the article stipulates.

Wajackoyah had reportedly run to London with a cache of evidence incriminating top Government Officials on the murder of the Oyuko.

“Wajackoya had fled to London early this year, claiming to have in his possession highly damaging information about leading politicians gained when he tapped their telephones as a member of the police ‘music box’ unit,” Odero further alleges.

Coincidentally, Moi’s total man, Biwott, had travelled on the same flight with Ouko to and fro but absolved himself saying it was mere chance that they boarded the same flight to the same place.

Perhaps what sums this conversation is an interview of (Raila’s) father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga that is contained in the ‘Law Magazine’ issue of January 1992.

Asked whether the President’s advisors were to blame, he replied, “He cannot be a good person. Advisers go according to your feelings; behave according to your feelings. If they know that Moi likes this or the other thing, then they advise him in that direction.”

“Kenyatta was more humane and at the same time public opinion influenced him. He tried as much as possible to meet people halfway. Moi’s regime is quite ruthless,” Oginga juxtaposed.

At the time, Oginga was interim Chairman of FORD, having parted ways with the ruling KANU as early as 1966.



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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema



When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.


Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded




The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19




Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  

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