The Late Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa is remembered to have served this country as President between June 1979- May 1980. However, he was never really president as he struggled all this time trying to make his mark and show authority, which he never wielded at any point except arguably once- when sacking Yoweri Museveni as minister.
Proof of fact that Binaisa was indeed president only on paper came in 1979, when he made a trip to Liberia to attend the Organisation of African Union (OAU) summit for all heads of states.
Binaisa, on arrival found no sit reserved for the President of Uganda. He was told the country he represented was not recognised and nether was he.
One of the reasons he given was that Uganda was still occupied by the Tanzania Defence Forces and did not have a national army.
An angry Binaisa sought OAU intervention for the withdraw of Tanzania forces but he was late as army chief Oyite Ojok had sneaked to Tanzania for support on ‘building a Ugandan army’.
With Ojok in Tanzania where Milton Obote was, it was now clear that the centre of power had shifted to Tanzania. Indeed, at once time Tanzania President Nyerere told Binaisa that he had neither respect nor authority.
Binaisa is said to have started seeking talks with Milton Obote, who had proved so powerful even while in exile and a meeting was reportedly set up for them by Oyite Ojok and Zambia President Kenneth Kaunda.
The meeting would later happen in Lusaka, Zambia in November 1979 on an abrupt note for both parties.
Obote on record claimed that on meeting Binaisa, he only informed him of plans to be in Uganda for Christmas, the news scared Binaisa badly that he collapsed.
Below is a transcript from Obote on the incident;
“Mr. President I want you to know that I want to be in Uganda for Christmas. I want to spend Christmas with my mother,” I said.
Binaisa surprised me when he said: “You mean Uganda?”
I said: “yes’
He asked again: “With your mother?”
I said: “yes’
Then he asked again: “This Christmas?”
I said: “yes”
“Binaisa literary collapsed on the floor and I had to shout for security to come to the room and they brought a doctor from State House who resuscitated him. That was the end of the meeting with the President of Uganda, Godfrey Binaisa QC,” Obote writes.
Binaisa however, before his death denied the allegations.
The writer is a private contributor to Nile Post
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