- Published on Sunday, 12 August 2012 09:28
- Written by Cliff Lule
- Category: news
- Hits: 604
Mzee Boniface Byanyima, President Museveni’s adopted father and the former national chairman of the Democratic Party, has denied reports that he recently accepted money from the head of State, and insists he has not forgiven the government for wrongs committed against his family.
He called Sunday Monitor last week from his home in Ruti, Mbarara Municipality, to react to media reports that he had reconciled with President Museveni and received Shs4.5 billion from him as compensation from the government for destruction occasioned on his Nyabushozi ranch. “I have never seen the money, I was told about it by others who read it in newspapers,” Mr Byanyima, whose daughter, Winnie is wife to Dr Kizza Besigye, the leader of opposition Forum for Democratic Change, said.
The aging politician who is known for his assertiveness, in 2006 rejected Shs1 million that then State House Comptroller, Dr Richard Muhinda, had brought as condolence allegedly from the President towards the burial expenses of his son, Bernard Muyogoma Byanyima.
Mr Byanyima spoke of how, in the early 1980s, he lost two square miles of his ranch to squatters after the government invaded his ranch in Nyabushozi (now Kiruhura District). Workers’ houses were burnt, fences destroyed, 1,200 head of friesian and boran cattle taken, he said. “After court verdict, settlers remained on the ranch and I was never compensated up to now,” Mr Byanyima said.
Although one of his sons, Mr Anthony Byanyima, who had fled the country after the 2001 general elections, citing State violence, later returned, Mzee Byanyima insists he is not yet happy.
“My children fled the country over mental torture by government agencies on my family, but last year one of them came back and said he was persuaded by government that he would not be harmed and that government would pay the family all the old claims. However, others are still out there and government has never paid my claims,” said Mr Byanyima.
He added: “I have never been bought (read bribed), no government can afford to buy me. [Former president] Obote called me thrice for a ministerial post and I rejected it, he bought off some DP officials but for me I remained stuck to my DP up to today. Amin came but I did not request him for any post and I did not forgive Museveni, not until government restores my ranch.” However, when contacted, State House Spokesman Tamale Mirundi also refuted claims that the government paid money to Mr Byanyima.
On the old man’s refusal to forgive President Museveni, Mr Mirundi said “the buck stops with Byanyima as a Christian”. “The issue of forgiveness is up to him as a Christian because forgiveness is a Christian value and not a constitutional demand. So nobody is forced to observe Christian values and by him refusing to forgive President Museveni, he is not committing any offence,” he said.