Great Lakes February 25, 2020
By Moses Ssejjoba
A survey of the socio-political scene shows that as a country that has clocked 34 years of Museveni rule, there is a definite uptick in social, and political violence. Beatings and other mistreatments of supporters of the opposition are the order of the day. Incidents of police and military battering supporters of the opposition are on the rise.
To those of a certain age, it definitely looks like we are back in the days of Obote and Idi Amin. President Museveni has declared war on the media, to muzzle it. In this time also, kidnappings have become endemic – so much so that Uganda just last year earned the US State Department’s “K” designation of its travel advisory. (“K” stands for kidnap – meaning tourists that travel to Uganda now put themselves at high risk of kidnap).
Museveni’s security agencies have become just another daily terror that Ugandans contend with as life becomes worse for the ordinary citizen. The incident this Monday when a People Power supporter, Rita Nabukenya, was knocked dead by police is only the latest atrocity the NRM government has inflicted on Ugandans.
Nabukenya’s only “offense” was that she is tired of the Museveni misrule, and was one of the millions of youths ready to stand up and demand change.
Her death was confirmed by People Power movement leader Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine. “Yet again, our supporter in the #PeoplePower Movement has been run over and killed by the police. Nabukenya was on her way to Kampala on a motorcycle when police spotted her and ran after her. We shall, and must end Museveni’s murderous regime. This MUST end!” Kyagulanyi tweeted.
The pattern of inhuman extra-judicial killings goes a long way back in this regime.
Veteran exiled opposition politician Dr. Aggrey Kiyingi is under no doubt that the country is in the grip of anarchy.
“Uganda is in crisis mode, and it has not started now!” Kiyingi commented.” It’s just that now everybody can see the crisis. What Museveni is doing is not new. It’s been there all along but people had not realized how bad it was. I Now Ugandans are beginning to wake up; they are seeing what we have been saying for many years – that Museveni is not just a threat; he is an evil to the country!
“He started his destructive ways a long time ago, but he was very clever, the way he went about it. Now it is coming to the surface. Thousands of young people have been arrested and are in prisons and safe houses. Half of them don’t even have a charge. The whereabouts of a quarter of them is not even known – whether they are dead or not! Girls and women have been raped and beaten! Only a few are taken to court; only a few granted bail; the rest are disappeared. This is intimidation at its worst and Museveni is a serious menace to Uganda!”
The violence Ugandans have been suffering at the hands of the government is surpassing understanding. People are being kidnapped Idi Amin style, and disappearing. The family of John Bosco Kibalama for instance are in despair as the People Power accountant who went missing in June last year has never been seen. People Power Spokesman Joel Ssenyonyi confirmed that it was agents of the state that kidnapped Kibalama, in a continued show of intimidation against the people’s movement.
The Museveni regime has become notorious for killing people with impunity. SFC soldiers shot and killed Yassin Kawuma in 2018 in Arua, but their real target was Bobi Wine. Kawuma’s wife became a widow and his children became orphans, but no one has even been held accountable for that crime. Kawuma was killed when Museveni unleashed violence upon the supporters of Bobi during the by-election for the seat of extra-judicially murdered Ibrahim Abiriga.
Abiriga himself, according to political insiders within the NRM itself, was killed because he was demanding from Museveni up to Ushs 2 billion, which the latter had promised the late MP after Abiriga worked to deliver the Arua seat to NRM. When Abiriga became too insistent with his demands, his fate was sealed. Expert gunmen waylaid him at his house as he got out of his car, and riddled him with bullets.
More violence would mar the contest for the dead man’s seat, seeing the death of Kawuma, and the horrific torture of MPs Bobi Wine and Francis Zaake. “This is a criminal regime that Ugandans must do everything to save themselves from!” exclaimed Kiyingi in our exclusive interview with him.
The atrocities that have characterised the 34 years of Museveni misrule include torture dungeons like the notorious Nalufenya Police, or the CMI and ISO safe houses. Their purpose is to strike terror into those Ugandans that choose to exercise their democratic rights to oppose Museveni. They all operate straight out of the Idi Amin playbook, or the Obote NASA intelligence operatives.
The late CIP Muhammad Kirumira, who too was murdered in cold blood because he was an outspoken critic of the Museveni system, hit the nail on the head when he said: “it is through violence that Museveni gains. Museveni cannot allow Uganda Police to operate like a clean, disciplined force. For him, the police has only one purpose. It is a weapon to violently silence all opposition. That’s all!”
Kirumira was gunned down near his residence in an execution that was eerily similar to Abiriga’s. Apparently it is the most dangerous thing to expose, or speak out against Museveni’s violent use of the security forces. He turns them upon the critic!
These only are a few of the ways in which the government of President Museveni has been a threat to the security of Ugandans. The high profile assassinations of Muslim clerics are only a few other examples of extra-judicial killings in the Museveni years. No one is ever charged or brought to book. Kidnappings for ransom have become commonplace, so much so that it is highly suspected elements in Museveni’s security forces are responsible.
Having subdued Ugandans in such a way, Museveni’s only intention has only ever been to turn power into his personal property. After that, he himself has said, his job was to enrich his family! He went ahead to make good on his word, as he and his family looting Uganda on a scale unseen in the country’s history. From junk choppers; to bankrupting Uganda Commercial Bank; to mismanaging Uganda Railways into the ground; to selling the country’s oil and “eating it up” before it has even gotten out of the ground; to human trafficking Uganda’s young into slavery in the Middle East, and so on, Museveni is amongst the most voraciously predatory rulers in the world.
This state of affairs has so exasperated some Ugandans like Dr. Kiyingi – who also are aware of Museveni’s intentions of dying in power – to the extent they contemplate violence as “the only language Museveni understands”!
“At this stage the only thing that can work is for Ugandans to give Museveni a dose of his own medicine; a ‘dose’ of the kind he gave Milton Obote!” Kiyingi said.