Finding the right words to capture the essence of Hon. Hajji Hussein Kyanjo’s life is a daunting task. But I felt compelled to honor his memory, knowing that he had always believed in the power of my pen.

The regime that sought to silence him had thought he would immediately succumb to the poison they administered, but fate had other plans. Against all odds, he survived, and he was now granted the chance to tell the world the truth behind the attempt on his life.

His voice will haunt them until their last breath. Hon. Kyanjo had exposed the regime’s vulnerability, revealing that they couldn’t face him in a fair dialogue or a debate. Instead, they had resorted to the cowardly act of poisoning him, trying to silence his unwavering advocacy for Justice and fairness with death.

The first time I encountered Hon. Kyanjo was some 25 years ago when I was just a secondary school student. Hajji Hussein Kyanjo had been invited to speak at a Muslim student leaders seminar at Bwala Primary School in Masaka. Even back then, his words had left an indelible mark on my young mind. He was among our most treasured speakers, alongside Dr. Abbasi Kiyimba and Imam Iddi Kasozi, and we made sure to have at least one of them at every seminar.

Kyanjo had not only inspired us with his words but also mentored us in our Muslim political activism. His dedication to our community shaped our political aspirations and ignited our passion for justice.

On a personal level, I had closely followed his activism over the years. I recalled his fervent opposition to the family domestic bill in Uganda, which threatened our cherished Muslim values of marriage. His stance was firm and clear – Muslims were an integral part of this country, and their values deserved protection, not violation.

I reminisced attending political rallies of former Presidential candidate Mayanja Mohammed Kibirige, where Kyanjo’s eloquence and oratory prowess captivated the crowds. Whether speaking to masses or audiences in conferences, he possessed an unmatched ability to connect with people.

I also vividly recall witnessing his leadership during a protest against the regime’s actions to sell parts of Mabira Forest, a cherished nature reserve. This noble act of protecting our natural heritage led to his arrest, but he never flinched in his pursuit of justice. He was arrested again for objecting to the government’s amendments to the land bill, which he rightly labeled as a land grab favoring the regime’s loyalists.

When the regime attempted to restrict the movements of the Kabaka, the revered King of Buganda, Kyanjo emerged as a resolute advocate, demanding respect for Buganda and its people.

My connection with him deepened during his stay in Sharjah, UAE, for medical treatment after the poisonings. There, our families united, forming a bond that transcended bloodlines. During that time, my wife Sauda and his late wife Sumayya became the best of friends, and our children played together like siblings. Kyanjo had been diagnosed with a rare disease called dystonia of the tongue, suspected to have been caused by the poison. He confided in me, sharing how his investigations into the corruption surrounding oil deals in Kampala had likely triggered the poisoning.

In that trying time, my mother Hajjati Hadija Nakkazi began her battle with cancer. In my panic, I was overwhelmed and unsure how to proceed. Kyanjo, with his characteristic compassion, consoled me, reminding me that advances in medical treatments had transformed cancer from a death sentence to a conquerable foe. He urged me to consider bringing my mother to Dubai for treatment, recalling that his own mother had experienced positive outcomes when she sought treatment in India. Amidst the challenges of raising funds, Kyanjo stepped up as the main fundraiser for this medical journey, even though he was grappling with the aftermath of his own poison treatments. He reassured me that helping was within his limits, and he was willing to do whatever it took to aid my mother’s battle. Tragically, my mother passed away before we could embark on that life-saving trip.

I fondly remember his critique of my first book, “The Ambitious Struggle,” which led to my deportation from Dubai. He provided both praise and criticism, which I received with utmost sincerity, eager to improve as a writer.

The sinister story of his poisoning laid bare the dark reality of a failing regime, one that clung to power through political assassinations, shooting down its political adversaries on bustling streets, and maintaining torture chambers to stifle dissenting voices.

Hon. Kyanjo was a beacon of goodness, advocating tirelessly for the voiceless and vulnerable in our community. His death was an injustice that shook us to the core. But the consolation lay in knowing that his fight was not in vain. His indomitable spirit has left behind a weakened regime, its grasp on power now faltering.

We take solace in the fact that his enemies will always be our enemies. And if we are privileged to witness their imminent downfall, we shall commemorate the occasion by revisiting his most profound speeches, replaying his potent words that once shook the foundations of oppression.

Rest in power, Hon. Hajji Hussein Kyanjo. Your voice lives on in the hearts of those who believe in justice and truth.

May Allah grant you eternal peace in the realms above.

Yasin Kakande

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