Luiji Candia, the owner of Pacific Hotel, which the army raided on the last day of Arua Municipality parliamentary by-election campaign last August, has died.
He passed on at Mulago National Referral Hospital on Sunday morning, according to multiple family sources.
“Mr Candia Luiji, owner of Pacific hotel- Arua where I stayed before my brutal arrest and torture last year has passed on. He stood his ground & refused to be compromised and lie that I entered the hotel with guns and bullets which were paraded by the state. A good man! RIP sir,” Bobi Wine tweeted on Sunday.
He was 69.
According to a family member, Candia suffered a stroke in Arua on Wednesday, this week, and was transferred first to St Francis Hospital Nsambya in Kampala, before being moved to Mulago.
The actual cause of death is yet to be established, pending autopsy.
But doctors told relatives Candia had suffered brain damage as a result of the stroke, rendering him unable to speak in his last days.
A family meeting is underway in Kira Municipality, Wakiso District, to draft the funeral programme
Candia’s name gained national attention last year when Special Forces commandos raided his Pacific Hotel in Arua to brutally arrest Opposition politicians, including Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine, his Mityana Municipality counterpart, Mr Francis Zaake and Mr Kassiano Wadri, who won the by-election while in incarceration.
The military claimed they recovered guns from the hotel, but the state later charged the Opposition leaders and 33 Wadri supporters with treason over accusations that they stoned and smashed the hind-door of one of President Yoweri Museveni’s vehicles as his motorcade exited Arua town on the last day of campaigns.
The initial allegation of illegal possession of firearms by the politicians collapsed after Pacific Hotel owner, Candia, dismissed the claims as made-up and said his staff thoroughly screened the guests and their luggage during check-in and none carried a weapon.
Shortly after the raid, Candia’s hypertensive condition worsened dramatically and he was taken ill at Mulago Hospital where he underwent a delicate procedure.
The state’s delay to compensate for property destroyed at the hotel during the raid stressed Candia and made his condition worse, according to another family member.
On Wednesday, Arua Hospital management declared that Candia’s latest stroke was beyond its handling and, together with his family, transported him to Kampala.