KAMPALA – The son of former Ugandan strongman Idi Amin has written to President Yoweri Museveni seeking the return of family property allegedly confiscated by government.
Mr Hussein Juruga Lumumba said in an open letter to the President that the army continues to occupy some of their family property illegally.
â€œI have been threatened with death by [Ugandan army] UPDF officers who have twice ordered guards to shoot me as I visited the premises to discuss with the tenants,â€ he says.
Mr Lumumba said 10 years ago President Museveni promised Aminâ€™s family that all their properties would be returned following the death of former president Idi Amin in Saudi Arabia.
The allegedly confiscated properties include two houses and a piece of land in Mbuya, one of the wealthiest suburbs in Kampala.
Other properties include a farm and two more houses near an airstrip in Arua district in northern Uganda.
Mr Lumumba says all these properties are under his late fatherâ€™s name.
“He acquired some of these houses before he became president,â€ Mr Lumumba said, adding that he had thrice written to the President Museveni over the issue but received no response.
â€œThatâ€™s why I have decided to write an open letter to him,â€ he said.
Mr Jaffar Amin, one of the late presidentâ€™s sons, said the family property was confiscated in 1979 when his father was deposed.
“I think this country thinks we are supposed to suffer. Unfortunately, people think we are not Ugandans. Until we overcome this problem at politically, we will continue suffering,â€ Mr Jaffar said.
The presidentâ€™s spokesperson Tamale Mirundi said he was not aware of the letters written to the president but said Mr Museveni has no feud with the family.
He said the family should use proper channels like the courts to get an order to evict the soldiers it accuses of illegally occupying their properties.
â€œAlthough Amin committed many atrocities, his family can still get back its properties,â€ Mr Mirundi said.
â€œBut investigations must first be done to ascertain how and when these properties were acquired because some leaders have a tendency of forcefully taking over property when they get to power,â€ he added.
The army spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda said they are willing to vacate the properties if Aminâ€™s family has evidence proving them the rightful owners.
â€œIf they can prove that the properties belong to them, they will get them back,â€ The colonel said.
Lumumbaâ€™s detailed letter:
It is 10 years since my late father Al Hajji Idi Amin passed away in Saudi Arabia.
At the time (2003), you sent then Col Elly Kayanja to make arrangements for the family to return and settle in Uganda.
You promised us good positions in government and publicly said you would handover to us my entire late fatherâ€™s property with compensation for the time the property has been occupied by Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) officers.
I really thought you were genuine and actually came to Uganda from Saudi Arabia with the intention of seeing your word become reality.
Unfortunately, since you announced the above developments 10 years ago, the achievement index for this simple matter is zero.
Instead, I have even been threatened with death by the UPDF officers who have twice ordered the guards to shoot me when I visited the premises to discuss with the tenants.
The letters I have written to the Minister of Defense and to you have remained unanswered yet they were adequately received, dated and stamped by staff at Office of the President, Parliament Building and sent to State House.
The Inspector General of Police also remained silent when I contacted him on the matter (and in writing).
Yet the incidents are of his professional domain and competence since there was threat of violence with a firearm amongst other possible crimes.
In summary, the result to-date is that the property compensation, the ex-gratia payments of former presidents and the military service pensions of our late father have vanished in thin air while Uganda Peoples Defence Forces officers still attempt to grab property by force of arms.
Your Excellency, I fear that some elements in your administration have so excelled in corrupt tendencies to the point of trying to steal the monies and properties of a President of the Republic of Uganda in broad daylight under your watch.
Yes, there is a legal option that I discussed with my lawyer. But why would anyone want to resort to such for this simple matter, unless you have actually shown bad faith in supporting illegal grabbing of citizenâ€™s property.
My first instinct is to make sure that I explain the matter to you through this letter, rather than you finding about it in any other embarrassing ways.
I kindly request that you reign in on these unscrupulous individuals in Defense and Presidents Office who are denigrating a whole presidential directive issued ten years ago by an actual President of the
Republic of Uganda as if you were some average Ugandan civilian.
I kindly hope you are able to intervene on these matters, and also on others involving our people. I am currently still thinking of how best to bring them to your excellence’s attention.
Hussein Juruga Lumumba Amin
Son of Former President Al Hajji Idi Amin Dada
Adapted from Africa Review, a publication of the Nation Media Group.