Head of Oxfam International, Mrs Winnie Byanyima has dismissed claims by Hussein Lumumba Amin, son of deceased former high-handed ruler of Uganda, Idi Amin that the Byanyima’s greatly benefited from some of his father’s economic policies.
Lumumba claims the Byanyimas, a prominent family in the western Mbarara district reaped from Amin’s infamous expulsion of more than 80,000 Asians from Uganda, shortly after taking power through a military coup in 1971.
Accusing these of “sabotaging Uganda’s economy and encouraging corruption,” Amin chased the Asians from Uganda and redistributed their businesses and belongings that included 5,600 firms, ranches, farms, and agricultural estates, cars, homes and other household goods they left behind to a select Ugandans.
Lumumba claims among the beneficiaries of this move was the family of Mzee Boniface Byanyima, which he said was allocated one of the Asian business in Mbarara.
“I remind the Byanyima’s that they were one of the beneficiaries of Amin’s patriotic policies to uplift the economic well being of indigenous Ugandans when they benefitted from one of the nationalized Asian properties in Mbarara town,” claimed Lumumba in a Facebook post.
“That is how their late mother (RIP) became the first modern businesswoman in Mbarara (1974). Mzee Byanyima used to pick supplies for that business from Kampala.
“I know the family from where he used to buy his supplies. That business paid for the children’s education including Winnie who would go to study aeronautical engineering abroad with assistance from the Amin government.”
But this claim was last night dismissed as untrue; by Mrs. Byanyima who in a tweet clarified that the said business was solely, her mother’s initiative.
“I must correct this,” she tweeted, “Our mother opened her hardware shop in 1969, BEFORE Amin came to power. Never got Asian shop.”
I must correct this. Our mother opened her hardware shop in 1969, BEFORE Amin came to power. Never got Asian shop. https://t.co/Onb5ORM0Pf
— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) January 15, 2017
Mrs. Gertrude Byanyima passed away at Mulago Hospital in Kampala in November 2008, where she was rushed with a stroke.
Recently while dedicating to her late mother her honorary doctorate awarded to her by the University of Manchester, Mrs Byanyima recalled that her mother opened the hardware store in Mbarara town; not just a first business on the High Street owned by a woman, but the first owned by an African and not an Asian.
Commenting on the murder of social worker Kenneth Akena, allegedly by her nephew Matthew Kanyamunyu, whose trial has sparked a nationwide tribally charged debate, Mrs Byanyima called on Ugandans to keep tribal sentiments out of it.
She said, “I’m saying let’s not make this horrible criminal act an ethnic or political issue. It’s personal, painful and tragic.”