By Stephen Wandera
KAMPALA, Americans twice tried to assassinate former Uganda President Iddi Amin Dada who ruled the country (1971 to 1979) with an iron hand killing over several civilians including Arch Bishop Bendicto Kiwanuka. According to Martin Aliker’s new book; ‘The bell is ringing,’ the plot to kill former the President was hatched in London in 1978.
“I was aware of two attempts to remove Amin force. Early in 1977, my friend Carl Ziegler of the First Chicago Bank introduced me to a man calling himself Sprague who simply said I cannot sleep at night while Amin I alive. Sprague provided US$30,000 (Shs111 million) for assignation attempt codenamed ‘luzira’. Although the planning was thorough and careful, two attempts failed,” said Mr Aliker.
He further explains, “Early in 1978, Bruce Mackenzie, a former Minister of Agriculture in the Kenya government, with whom I had worked on several projects asked me to fly to London for an important meeting, the purpose of which was not disclosed. On arrival at Barkely Hotel, Knightsbridge, the former governor-general of Uganda, Sir Walter Coutts phoned and told me take a taxi to an address just behind Piccadilly Circus. I then met David Stirling, the founder of SAS and several private military companies someone called Andrew Nightingale. Coutts when direct to the point, the situation in Uganda is intolerable,” he said.
Adding, “The country we know and love is being destroyed. A benefactor has offered 10 million pounds to secure regime change. A plan has been discussed, which has full cooperation of Kenya authorities. We discussed strategy and tactics at length. Nightingale was to lead the operation.”
Dr Aliker says in due course, Nightingale and his wife moved to Nairobi and established an office in Westland.
“They worked hard and secretively. They acquired detailed maps of Kampala. A small team of mercenaries flown to northern Kenya started training and we in final stages of preparation when Amin invaded Tanzania in 1978 and they cancelled the project,” reads part of the book.
He said in May 1978, the plane in which Bruce Mackenzie, who reputedly had British and Israel intelligence links, was flying from Entebbe to Nairobi blew up. This was probably Amin’s retaliation for Mackenzie’s role in helping the Israelis at the time of Entebbe Raid in 1976, and in securing Kenyan cooperation with them. Mackenzie and Charles Njonjo were close and, after his death, Kenya turned against Amin
Dr Aliker said the plots few months before Amin’s government collapsed we abandoned by the funders when they realized a planned attacked by Ugandans in exiled helped by Tanzania forces.
President Amin first bombed Tanzania prompting former President Julius Nyerere to retaliate by supporting Uganda National Liberation Army rebels of which President Yoweri Museveni played a key role.
Next story is President Museveni’s role in the liberation struggle.