Uganda has been ruled by a brutal dictator – Museveni – for 26 years during which thousands of Ugandans have been killed ,tortured by merciless killer squads”untouchable” putting on police, army uniforms and sometime plain clothed security operatives that have powerful god fathers in government. The government has failed to restrain them or bring them to book in order to create a state of fear among civilians .In Uganda a security operative is free to kill any opposition member and ‘s assured he will always walk away scout free.
These are some of the cases of individual killings in the name of the state that have been protected by the state
Jan. 2012: Police officer Santos Komakech Makmot shot at unarmed civilians killing one and injuring three others instead of shooting in the air to disperse the crowd. He is now remanded in Luzira prison but his boss George Agaba who handed him the gun was released on police bond.
April 2011: Gilbert Arinaitwe viciously attacked Besigye in April 2011 temporarily blinding him leading to hospitalization in full glare of cameras. Arinaitwe is a free man and no known punishment has been meted out on him.
Gilbert Arinaitwe in the photo above pulling Dr. Kizza Besigye
April 2011: Peter Bimanywa, the operations commander of the Masaka Reserve Force, was arrested for commanding the soldiers that indiscriminately shot at Walk-to-Work protesters in April 2011 that left 2 year-old baby Julian Nalwanga dead.
April 2011: Paul Mugenyi, a reserve force operative attached to Masaka Reserve Force central barracks was arrested in connection with baby Julian Nalwanga’s death. After the murder police boss Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura paraded Mugenyi to the residents at the home of Aloysius Walusimbi promising that he would be charged in the court martial and left the bereaved family with Shs 1 million. But Mugenyi and Bimanywa are yet to be court-martialed.
2006: Lt. Ramathan Magara randomly shot at a crowd of Dr Kizza Besigye’s supporters at Bulange Mengo during the 2006 presidential campaigns, killing two people and permanently maiming two others. Lt. Magara, who had evaded a high court trial for three years, was later arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to 14 years in jail in 2009. Magara had been charged with two counts; murder and attempted murder. He was accused of murdering Gideon Makabayi and Vincent Kavuma and attempting to murder Haruna Byamukama. But Justice Wilson Kwesiga reduced the charges to manslaughter. Until then cases of indiscriminate and random public shootings of civilians by security personnel were rare outside the war zone of northern Uganda since President Museveni took power in 1986.
February 4, 2001: A vehicle with government registration plates deliberately drove into a crowd of Col Besigye’s supporters at Namanve, fourteen kilometers outside of Kampala. Three people were killed and eleven injured. The driver of the vehicle walked away scot-free.killing two people and permanently maiming two others. Lt. Magara, who had evaded a high court trial for three years, was later arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to 14 years in jail in 2009. Magara had been charged with two counts; murder and attempted murder. He was accused of murdering Gideon Makabayi and Vincent Kavuma and attempting to murder Haruna Byamukama. But Justice Wilson Kwesiga reduced the charges to manslaughter. Until then cases of indiscriminate and random public shootings of civilians by security personnel were rare outside the war zone of northern Uganda since President Museveni took power in 1986.
During the eviction, a dismayed crowd pleaded with Agaba to halt the evictions for a few minutes to let them salvage some household property but he refused. “We gave you 28 days eviction notice. We can’t accept anything,” Agaba told the pleading residents Soon gunshots were fired as desperate victims threw themselves at the enforcement officers; soon four people lay on the ground. One was dead, while the other three were seriously wounded. The gun that shot them, an AK47 automatic rifle, was Agaba’s. He picked it from his truck and attempted to fire it when the mayhem erupted. Although the gun jammed when Agaba tried to fire it, his bodyguard, Santos Komakech Makmot, was more successful when he took hold of it.
Video news footage of Santos Komakech Makmot shooting at unarmed civilians gives the impression he was enjoying himself with sadistic glee. Clad in blue jeans pants and long-sleeved white shirt Makmot shot one dead and left three wounded in a twinkling of an eye. When the AK47 run out of ammo, Makmot, with an aura of satisfaction, remembered he also had a pistol at the hip under his shirt. He pulled it out and fired off a few volleys.
Many who saw the video are angry that only Makmot was remanded to Luzira Maximum prison and Agaba, the one who handed him the gun has been let free. It is alleged that Agaba, like others before him who have committed heinous crimes but walked off scot-free.
The brandishing of guns by state operatives like Makmot and Agaba has recently become all too common. Characteristically, the security operatives dress up in civilian clothes. After witnessing all that Agaba was released from custody on police bond and without charge .As the Director of public Prosecutions office advised the police that charges against him were not sustainable. We should come out and condemn the DDP’s action.
Another memorable recent incident involved Gilbert Arinaitwe, who publically brutalised Uganda’s opposition leader Kizza Besigye at Mulago Roundabout on April 28, 2011 in scenes that shocked the world Ordinary Ugandans are scared, If they can torture such a prominent person in broad daylight and under the glare of media cameras, local and international, what about an ordinary Ugandan or heinous crimes do they not commit in their chambers; the so-called “safe houses”?
Around the same time Arinaitwe tortured Besigye, a two-year old baby was shot in the arms of her mother in Masaka. They were locked up inside their house as marauding security operatives hunted down protesters. One of the security operatives, later identified as Paul Mugenyi, aimed his gun at the closed door and fired. The baby died. Mugenyi walked away scot-free.
When the royal burial grounds of the Buganda kingdom, the Kasubi Tombs which are a UNESCO heritage site, were burnt in March 2010 at least three civilians lost their lives after plain clothed security operatives shot at the crowds. Cameras caught plain clothed operatives pointing pistols at the unarmed civilians. This was before President Yoweri Museveni visited the scene. In the shootout that followed, 3 civilians were shot dead; the culprits are yet to be brought to book.
The government instituted a commission of inquiry but its findings have not been made public neither has any security personnel been brought before the military court martial. When then- head of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. James Mugira, appeared before the inquiry, he identified one of the commanders as Capt. Napoleon Namanya who denied he fired his gun.
Awoman shot in the stomarch by security operatives in 2009 protests when the kabaka was blocked from visiting kayunga District.
In 2009 more than 27 people were shot dead by Uganda security operatives as demonstration over the government decision to block the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, from visiting Kayunga district. Nobody was charged over the killings.
In all these cases, the perpetrators of these acts have neither been brought to courts of law nor been severely punished. In 2005 a military squad baptized “black mamba” attacked the High Court in Kampala to re-arrest PRA suspects who had been granted bail. The security operatives assaulted some of the suspects and their lawyers. But the despicable actions of the black mamba, condemned as a “rape of the temple of justice” by one the judges, went unpunished as the government shielded the squad. Usually, the attacks are against opposition politicians, especially those from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) of Besigye.
The people of Uganda overwhelmingly want Museveni out of power now. Ugandans demand that the U.S. and European Governments stop propping up this dictator; suspend financial and military assistance to Museveni’s regime. The U.S. Government should support the people of Uganda who want democratic governance, freedom and self determination in accordance with President Obama’s declaration in Accra, Ghana on July 11, 2009, that he will not tolerate dictators who cling onto power by manipulating elections and national constitutions which, Museveni has been doing repeatedly. Museveni has been by organizing sham elections since 1996, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2011 during which his National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has committed the worst electoral fraud in the history of Uganda.