Did Politics Cost Former vice-president a Son? Bukenya alleges cover- up in Bryan’s 2009 road accident says he knows killers of his son.

By E K Benj at @HICGINewsAgency

Prof Gilbert Bukenya – Courtesy photo

Today in our special series “Senior Citizens” we bring you H.E Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya a Ugandan politician and physician who was the seventh vice president of Uganda from 23 May 2003 until 23 May 2011. He represented the constituency of Busiro County North in the Ugandan Parliament since 1996. His autobiography, Intricate Corridors to Power, was published in 2008.
He was preceded by
H.E Specioza Kazibwe and succeeded by H.E
Edward Ssekandi.
He was Member of the Parliament of Uganda
for Busiro North assumed office 1996. He was
Minister in Charge of the Presidency from 2001–2003,
Minister of State for Trade in
Dean of the Makerere University School of Medicine from
Director Makerere University Institute of Public Health from

Personal details

Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya was born
5 August 1949 (age 73) in
Lwantama, Wakiso District.

He belongs to
National Resistance Movement and resides in Kakiri.

Alma mater

Makerere University School of Medicine
(Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery)
Royal Institute of Public Health
(Diploma in Public Health)
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
(MSc in Community Health)
University of Queensland
(PhD in Public Health)

Physician, university professor, politician, farmer, businessman


Gilbert Bukenya was born on 5 August 1949, in the village of Lwantama in Kakiri sub-county, in Busiro County, in present-day Wakiso District, about 30 kilometres (19 mi), by road, northwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city.


He was educated by the Brothers of Christian Instruction order in Uganda. He had his early education at St. Savio Primary School, Kisubi, St. Mary’s College Kisubi, St. Edward Secondary School, Bukuumi and Old Kampala Secondary School.

Later, he joined Makerere University School of Medicine in 1971, graduating in 1976 with the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB). He worked as a Medical Officer at Mbale Hospital up to 1982 when he left Uganda for Papua New Guinea.

While outside Uganda, he obtained a Diploma in Public Health from the Royal Institute of Public Health, in London, in 1982. He also attained the degrees of Master of Science (MSc) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine UK, and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of Queensland, with a thesis topic of The Epidemiology of Under-Five Childhood Diarrhoeas in a Peri-Urban Population of Papua New Guinea.

Work experience

Gilbert Bukenya returned to Uganda as a Professor of Medicine and was appointed dean of Makerere University School of Medicine, a position he held from 1994 until 1996. In 1996 he entered politics and was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Busiro North constituency. He also served as chairman of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) parliamentary caucus. During this period he is credited for having managed to defuse the tension that was boiling up between President Yoweri Museveni and other historical leaders of the ruling NRM. He was chairman of the NRM in the Buganda region. Bukenya subsequently became Minister of State for Trade and Industry before being elevated to the post of Minister of the Presidency. He became Vice President in 2003 replacing Specioza Kazibwe, who at the time was grappling with marriage. He later stood for the post of Secretary General of the NRM and lost to Amama Mbabazi. In May 2011, he was replaced as Vice President of Uganda by Edward Ssekandi.

Personal details

Bukenya faced a divorce petition from his wife Dr. Margaret Bukenya, a classmate at Makerere Medical School in the early 1970s. He is a member of the Catholic Church. In 2005 Dr. Bukenya surprised political watchers when he alleged that the government was being controlled by a mafia clique. In an interview with the Daily Monitor, he said that the mafia was plotting his downfall. This was attributed to his ever-increasing popularity and his closeness to the powerful Catholic Church in Uganda. He is reported to enjoy swimming and farming. He is credited with the introduction of the cultivation of upland rice, also known as NERICA in Uganda.

Published works

Through intricate corridors to power. Fountain Publishers. 2008. ISBN 9789970028108.

When Bukenya lost a son

PARENT’S GRIEF: Prof. Bukenya breaks down after Bryan’s memorial service in Kampala early this month. COURTESY PHOTO

Prof Gilbert Bukenya, reopened the debate about his son’s death in 2009 by demanding for the long- awaited police report.

In an emotional speech during a memorial service for Bryan at his residence in Lwantama, Wakiso, on November 29, 2014 Bukenya gave the police an ultimatum to release the report immediately.

Bukenya, threatened to name the suspected killers if the ultimatum is not met. Bryan, a UPDF cadet recruit, died in a motor accident on November 7, 2009 at Bbira, about 15km along Mityana road.

However, his father now says he doesn’t believe it was an accident. Paul Kato, the regional CID chief for Kampala Metropolitan and lead investigator in the case, told The Observer news that the police have no hidden agenda.

“Police is doing a lot of investigations including the one regarding Bryan and once each report is complete, we will reveal the outcome,” Kato said.

Brian Bukenya burial

The official police account is that Byran sustained a sliced head from the lower jaw, a deep incision above the right eye and a shattered skull from behind, causing his death. At last week’s memorial service for both Bryan and Prof Bukenya’s mother, Francesca Nabulo, Bukenya said he knows who killed his son.

“What surprises me is that these people [the killers] are in our capital city moving freely and if police do not arrest them, I will name their identities in a few days to come,” Bukenya said.

The former VP further disputed the police’s version of events, stating that the vehicle the detectives claimed was involved in the accident is the wrong one. He said the vehicle he knows is different and is currently being used in DR Congo. Bukenya further said he knows who took it there.

The claim that Bryan jumped out of the vehicle as it overturned and died of injuries, Bukenya said, is just “a cover up.”

Bukenya’s son’s injuries may have been inflicted by a “sharp object”.

Bukenya said he was puzzled that there was neither a wound nor a bruise on the torso, save for a swelling on the left side of the rib cage, suspected to have been caused by a blunt object which might have caused internal bleeding. The deceased’s clothes were not shredded, he noted.

Bukenya further claims that before his death, Bryan’s tea had at one time been laced with poison. However, during holy mass, Fr Edward Ssebukoola urged Bukenya to forgive whoever he thinks wronged him.

Doctor’s report

During Bryan’s burial on November 10, 2009, a medical doctor told mourners that the VP’s son was delivered to Mulago hospital motionless, about an hour after the reported crash.

“He was bleeding from the head, nose, mouth and ears. The blood was mixed with fluid found in the brain. The CT-Scan revealed that Bryan had multiple fractures to the skull and ribs,” the doctor reported.

Bryan was travelling in the same vehicle as his cadet colleagues; Ronald Mukalazi, Charles Balidawa, Emmanuel Muganjo and Denis Oketwong. All of them, apart from Bryan, survived the crash virtually unharmed.

Bryan Bukenya’s grave

The driver, one Lwanga, fled the scene immediately but was arrested days later. Bryan was a law graduate of Coventry University in London.

A lengthy report from the Inspector of Vehicles showed that the pickup, registration UAM 640N, was “completely mangled”.

In a recent memorial service held, Bukenya continued to make more demands. When Daily Monitor contacted ealier, Mulago hospital’s Executive Director, Dr Edward Ddumba, said: “I don’t want to be involved in that story. I know how these things turn around.”

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