Thursday, 30 March 2017
At 43 year of age and 17 years of public service under the Museveni regime police force, the teacher by training had attained the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police. He had held various strategic
and sensitive command and administrative positions courtesy of political loyalty and Cadreship.
At a personal level, he had acquired the following properties for himself and his family:
1. A magnificent 8-bedroom mansion (pictured) that sits on a 320-acre piece of land in his village. It has a 15ft x 20ft sitting room and each of the 8 bedrooms is self contained. It has an extra 3 bathrooms and a Guest Wing with bathrooms and toilets. It has a one-and-a-half-acre compound with more than half of it paved. It has piped and running water that was got from sinking a borehole at the backyard.
2. He had over 100 cows on a farm in his home village.
3. A bungalow in Kulambiro (pictured), Kampala. The police used to pay him a housing allowance.
4. Five acres of land in Mbalala, Mukono near Seeta High School.
5. One acre land in Kireka, Bulengwa, land in Namungoona, Nansana, Bweyogerere and other places in and around the greater Kampala.
6. He had a fancy cloth shop in the city for his wife who also drives a Prado TX.
7. His bank account is not known but most likely that in the circumstances it is lean. Illegally acquired cash is usually disguised.
8. He built roads, churches, mosques, and brought electricity to his home area.
While he made big strides in personal riches, he was busy designing administrative policies that saw his fellow police officers and their families evicted from those shacks and thrown in the cold. While he often hosted occasional get together parties at his posh mansions, the children of his fellow police officers evicted from the shacks scavenged the debris of the destroyed mud shelters for what to feed
on. The ugly scenes of police officers and their families shedding tears is a clear testimony that God was not happy with Kaweesi. The above forceful and brutal eviction was because of the February
2016 poll results that witnessed police barracks in Kampala majorly voting the opposition.
Museveni has pledged that the government is to compensate his family. The police will continue to commit its resources to his family. The Kwagalana (club of city tycoons) Group has given his family
25MShilling to the family and pledged to make finishing on the family's Kampala house. If Kawesi had continued working for another five years, he would build a rail way line and airfield at his village
home. It is reported, he harboured political ambitions of becoming a Member of Parliament. Following his murder, the government, religious leaders and the public have applauded his magnificent wealth. No one has come out to question its source.
Kaweesi was a gross and ruthless abuser of human rights and a partisan police stooge but no one is coming out to point out this. For millions of children who have grown up seeing him on their TV screens as devil as confused when everyone is applauding him. For the public servants who are poor just because they have not been abusing their offices, the glorifying of Kaweesi’s ill-gotten wealth gives them the resolve to do 'collateral damage'. At the next national function, Gen. Kaweesi will be post-humously honored with a National Hero medal. For those who did not know Museveni's MIDDLE INCOME drive, Kaweesi is a classic example.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO.
Monday, 27 March 2017
Museveni appointed Gen. Kalekyezi to head the police force with a sole mission of personalising it. In December 2008 Museveni publicly ordered Gen. Kalekyezi to clean up the officers who do not support government policies. He argued thus; “Even the colonial government police understood the policies of their country, which is why they arrested Omukama Kabalega of Bunyoro in defence of imperialism."
Indeed, he has almost achieved this objective at a rating of 85%. He has managed to eliminate the unwanted tribes from the force's strategic command and administrative positions and replaced them with those from Kiruhura, Mbarara and Kisoro. He has managed to turn the police into a coercive army of the regime's umbrella organisation, NRM. He has succeeded in militarising the police and turned it into a brutal force against political dissent and civilians in general.
Yet Museveni recently cried foul alleging that civilians fear to take information to the police. In April 2011, the parliamentary committee on state enterprises and statutory authorities questioned the top police leadership over police cadet recruitment described as "an exclusive club constituted on the basis of political, regional and tribal affiliations." Basing on the documentary evidence provided by a whistleblower, the committee was shocked to learn that the cadet recruitment for 2010/2011 had picked 23 recruits from Kiruhura, followed by Kisoro with 20, Ntungamo with 19 while northern, central and eastern region districts had one recruit per district but even some districts had none. The then Human Resource director, Richard Bisherurwa defended the irregularity arguing that the criteria had considered affirmative action and professional training.
Some members of the police have a licence to arbitrarily arrest, kidnap, illegally detain, torture, maim, kill, rob, steal, extort, solicit for bribes, black mail, protect high profile criminals, invade courts of law and defy court orders while it enjoys total protection from the regime. Within its ranks, deployment, advanced training, assignments, attachments, and promotions are on the basis of tribe, political affiliation and godfathers. The Inspector General of Government (IGG) is investigating the same irregularities but obviously, nothing will be brought to light.
During the recent funeral of Gen. Kaweesi who was shot dead most likely by his colleagues over
position and the accruing resources, Museveni once again instructed Gen. Kalekyezi to clean up the police which he described as infiltrated by criminals. Museveni knows very well that it’s the likes of Kaweesi, Arooni Baguma, Kataratambi, Komurubuga, Kato, Joram Mwesigye, and others from the preferred regions who have committed heinous crimes but have been shielded by his regime. Instead, we have seen the likes of Omara, Kirumira, Okalany, Ogwal and others in that category reprimanded and sent on remand in some cases.
Somewhere midway it was also alleged that those officers who were impartial in their conduct were being put on Katebe (rendered redundant) and replaced by those from Ankole and Kisoro. Much later, the Bishop of Moroto put Gen. Kalekyezi to task to explain why all the four cadets who had been deployed in Moroto, three were from Ankole and one was from Kisoro.
In December 2015 while handing over motorcycles to crime preventers in Ntungamo, Gen. Kalekyezi disclosed that whatever he does is based on Museveni's orders thus; "For us we are small people; agents. I work on orders; the Commander in Chief's (CIC) orders. When you are going to war, the CIC gives instruments of war. He gave me an order; do I have a choice? If I don’t do this, he dismisses me, of course I like my job." He went ahead to add thus; "Those who have been saying Kayihura is militarizing police, it’s in the law. This is just the beginning, have you not seen the plane in the air, I found the police with SAR, they now have anti-aircraft machine guns. Am going to buy Sabasaba, why not. This is the order from the president."
During the last general election campaigns, the police in Karamoja region mounted a 60mm Mortar in the middle of the road as they blocked the opposition candidate, Dr. Besigye from proceeding to the rally venue (see picture). A Mortar of whatever calibre is an army infantry weapon that is used to pound short range targets with bombs. There is no police force anywhere in the world that uses mortars save for Museveni's militarised police.
Being a Lawyer, Gen. Kalekyezi was being smart in preparation for a rainy day - future judicial process in the form of criminal proceedings. Moreover 'Superio order' is a ground for defence in criminal law. For Museveni, he is trying to reap maize yet he sowed red pepper.
INFORMATION IS POWER DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO
Sunday, 26 March 2017
The tribal factor is still an important consideration in the political, economic and social life of Uganda. Baganda as a tribe and Buganda as a kingdom is structured along clans whereby each clan is identified by a totem. The sir name of a Muganda automatically suggests which clan he belongs. The Baganda as a tribe prided themselves in having their own Inspector General of Police in Andrew Felix Kaweesi of the cow clan as the No. 3 in the police hierarchy.
However, tragedy struck last week when he was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Kampala. It soon after became a double tragedy when as it turned out he did not belong to the cow clan but the Defiance clan. The revelation was first made public by his brother, Namanya James when he warned politicians against making Kaweesi's funeral a political platform.
At this stage Baganda started questioning how Namanya could be a brother to Kaweesi. However, they had quickly forgotten that in June 2016 the same Kaweesi had taken sides in a land conflict in Isingiro that involved his own relative, Ntambara (war in Kinyarwanda) together with other Banyarwanda like Karegeya, Sebigombe, Karamuzi and Rushaija. Kaweesi established a police post on the disputed piece of land whereby the police shot and injured four people. Even though the Baganda did not rise any doubt partly due to Kaweesi's flat nose.
Mourners who travelled to Kyazanga for the burial are now perplexed by the presence of such a big number of Banyarwanda in Kaweesi's home village of Kitwekyanjovu. They don’t interrogate why Kaweesi's parentage was completely left out in the eulogies. They don’t question the rise of another Munyarwanda, George Mutabazi as the L.C 5 Chairman of Lwengo district that houses Kaweesi's home leave alone the source of his powers to publicly administer corporal punishment to residents.
In the same regard, they will at one time question another Kyazanga resident, Felix Kulaigye when his children emerge to be named Sembatya, Kiwanuka, Nakawombi etc. Not to mention the controversial
district Chairman, Moses Karangwa in Kayunga who is now renamed Kalangwa.
Kaweesa has been afforded a heroes’ send off just because he extraordinarily defended the rotten Museveni regime's hold on power. His rapid rise in rank and positions of responsibility was because he
was not of the Cow Clan but the Defiance Clan. He had the following categories of mourners:
- those regime sycophants whom he had been defending and providing security of tenure.
- those blind followers of the regime who ignorantly cheer the regime's misdeeds.
- opportunistic fence sitters who are always on the lookout for an opportunity to demonstrate their support for the regime.
- those who want to be seen to sympathise with the regime for selfish ends. It happened with the death of Gen. Aronda
- the few opposition politicians that he had been suppressing who wanted to exonerate themselves from suspicion in his murder.
- the police officers who banked on his patronage for promotion prospects as well as the others whose careers he had undermined.
- the killers who were all out to monitor and suffocate investigative efforts.
For the oppressed majority, his demise was a good riddance. He is being applauded for having been a hardworking officer who built magnificent mansions in both the city and in his home village. He constructed churches, schools, mosques, roads and brought electricity to his home area. No one is questioning how he managed to amasse all those resources in such a short time.
On the other hand, our national leaders are setting Kaweesi and his ill-gotten wealth as a role model to be copied by upcoming leaders. In fact, a serious investigation into his murder wouldn’t skip inquiring into his rapidly acquired wealth. Instead, the regime has offered to commit more of public resources to taking care of his family.
Kaweesi was a bad man but he should have lived longer to see the Museveni regime out of power.
What a loss to Buganda!!! Gunsinze beene.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
General Kale Kayihura is on record praising the efficiency with which Uganda Police Service has moved to arrest those believed to have assassinated his deputy. He revealed that one of the killers was caught at the Uganda-DRC Congo border while attempting to flee the country.
The truth of the matter is that General Kale Kayihura’s naked pronouncements are mere lies, which must be exposed.
There is little doubt that Kale Kayihura is playing a diversionary game meant to divert attention and deflect Ugandans from getting to know the real killers of AIGP Andrew Kaweesi.
It is worth noting that General Kayihura’s unguarded comments on supposed arrests of fleeing killers at the DRC Congo border and elsewhere were made in the wake of an evidently revealing report about people who were seen collecting blood from the murder spot in polythene bags, among whom was an aide to General Kale Kayihura himself.
One question to ask is why has General Kale Kayihura kept exceedingly quiet about this highly important and, without doubt, extremely significant development. Isn’t General Kayihura’s responsibility, as Inspector General of Police, to clarify to Ugandans about the gory goings-on at the murder scene, which seems to involve members of his own police service? Ugandans will want to know more about these people who were collecting blood and blood-stained soil in polythene bags at the murder spot? This by the way happened after the official investigators had left the scene.
Secondly, some reports are emerging that a witness who filmed the murder event, when it was in progress, has disappeared. Who has made this witness disappear, and for what reason?
Another interesting fact, about which General Kayihura has bluntly decided not to comment, is the disturbing revelation that the late AIGP Kaweesi was, in the days leading up to his death, telling and informing all who could listen that his life was in grave danger.
Most notable is the announcement made by Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, the Archbishop of Kampala, when he was addressing mourners, that the late AIGP Andrew Kaweesi had gone to him (Archbishop Lwanga) and asked him to pray for him because he knew that his life was in danger.
In addition to the revelation by Archbishop Lwanga, several other Ugandans have talked of how the late Kaweesi had expressed to them his anxieties about his insecurity and fear of what he thought might befall him.
So, surely, are we made to believe that the only person who was not informed by the late AIGP Kaweesi about his fear of impending murder is his own boss the Inspector General of Police, General Kayihura?
That Kale Kayihura should boast publicly and pride himself in such a grandiose manner, even during the various events of prayer and mourning for the deceased AIGP Andrew Kaweesi, about how he had already defeated the thugs who have been murdering prominent Ugandans, is very telling of the secrets he, Kayihura, is hiding from Ugandans about these deaths.
What does Kayihura know about the killers, which the rest of Ugandans, including senior security officials, like the late AIGP Andrew Kaweesi, did not know? On one hand, Kaweesi and the rest of Ugandans did not believe that the murderers had been defeated. Or else Kaweesi wouldn’t have been intimating to his close ones that he was fearing for his life. As for the rest of Ugandans what they continue to see and experience is a rise, not a decrease in the boda-boda style shootings, culminating in the murder of the second most important police officer in the country.
The question here is – if it is indeed true, as it sure is, that the assassins have not been defeated, which means that General Kayihura is bluntly and shamelessly lying to the country. How can anyone with any common sense in him or her believe in anything else that is uttered by the much-hated Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura?
Going back to Kayihura’s assurances that he has already arrested the killers of AIGP Andrew Kaweesi, why should anyone take his word as truth when on many occasions in the past, Ugandans were murdered in broad daylight, and he, Kayihura, said similar things – that he had arrested the killers, when in fact no one was ever found guilty in a court of law for the murders? Intriguingly, many of those arrested in the swoops seem to have disappeared out of site, for, no one talks about them anymore.
Kayihura must surely do better than merely shouting around that he has arrested the killers of AIGP Kaweesi and other high profile persons. He needs to do better than peddling naked lies about defeating and eliminating those who killed these Ugandans. Failure to do any of the above can make and is indeed making Ugandans aware that the notorious army general who now commands the Uganda police force has utterly failed in his duties and, accordingly resorted to simply lying to Ugandans and the world in order to divert attention from his failures and those of his ultimate boss, Mr. Yoweri Museveni.
INFORMATION IS POWER!
INFORMATION IS POWER!
Monday, 20 March 2017
Television Journalist Andrew Lwanga was brutally battered by a District Police Commander. Inspector Joram Mugume's brutality caused severe spinal injuries that have been treated in South Africa. The
circumstances under which Lwanga was battered coupled by the weapon used and the nature of injuries he sustained constituted a more serious crime of Assault Causing Grievous Bodily Harm and Attempted
Murder in alternative. Instead the police opted to charge its own with a lighter sentence of assault.
When the incident took place, the media fraternity did not effectively show solidarity by at least laying down their tools. Instead Andrew Lwanga chose to accept financial handouts from the police and other government agencies including Museveni. Last week court convicted Inspector Joram Mwesigye and handed him a sentence of a fine of one million shillings or one year imprisonment in default. He was also ordered to pay five million shillings to the victim as compensation.
Now Andrew Lwanga is crying foul that he was not accorded appropriate justice owing to the light sentence handed out to Inspector Mwesigye. The media body, Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists (UHRNJ) has come out strongly to condemn the lighter sentence handed out to the accused. It is calling for the dismissal of Inspector Mwesigye from the Police force. It has joined the victim in crying for the 20M shillings that was promised by Museveni but only received only 7M shillings and the 5M shillings that was promised by the police but only paid 1M.
UHRNJ is threatening to lodge an appeal against the sentence and is questioning the professional conduct of the police Surgeon, Dr. Emmaul Nuwamanya who conducted the medical examination on Andrew Lwanga before making a finding of simple assault. UHRNJ forgets that it not by accident that the Police Surgeons are Dr. Byaruhanga and Dr. Nuwamanya and not Dr. Onzivua who was criminalized for 'stealing the body parts of the late Cerina Nabanda (M.P). Overall, since when did victims of crime accept financial handouts from their tormentors while the matter is before courts of law!!!! No wonder, moreover after the Magistrate reading out the sentence, the accused police commander flashed a thumb up sign of the Museveni regime.
The suspect enjoyed the full protection of the regime that influenced the sentence and all the court fines will be paid from the police budget. Even if the police are pushed into dismissing its commander from the force, he will be reposted to a more lucrative position because job security is part of the terms of regime sponsored brutality.
Now that a cheap price tag has been placed on battering of Journalists, just last week a superintendent of Police, Muhindo attached to Nkozi police station in Mpigi district led a group of Crime Preventers who brutally assaulted two New Vision Journalists and destroyed their cameras. The police officer has been suspended and we are yet to see how much compromise in terms of cash the victims will accept from the Police.
Last week a one Mubarak Kalenge of KCCA was kidnapped by armed regime security agents, detained in unknown place and tortured before he was dumped by the roadside in the city suburb. Under the police guard, he is undergoing treatment for serious injuries that he sustained during the nasty ordeal. The same police have ordered his family members not to disclose to the public any information pertaining to his ordeal or nature of injuries sustained and the subsequent medical treatment he is being offered. This move is designed to provide a cover-up for the excesses of the rogue regime security operatives. To the family of Mubarak Kalenge; your acceptance to be silenced is a betrayal to your fellow country men and women.
The other day the family of Rhona Katusabe who had been murdered by a District Police Commander was compromised into urging the prosecutor authority not to commence criminal proceedings. Lawyers have been battered by the police in the course of their duties to dispense justice as officers of court but the entire legal fraternity has kept silent. Medical workers have not been spared either. Members of the public transport sector have been harassed, tortured, maimed and in some cases arbitrarily killed but silence is the order of the day. It’s that kind of silence and compromise that is breeding impunity among security officers who are not deterred in their resolve to batter, maim, torture, kidnap and kill their victims. You can either eat your cake or have it but not both.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO.
Sunday, 19 March 2017
Ugandans received the killing of AIGP Felix Kawesi with mixed reactions. The oppressors are worried of an armed resistance group while the oppressed are jubilating. This is the 14th killing of high profile figures in a similar fashion in recent times. It started with the Muslim clerics, then the Chief Prosecutor, Joan Kagezi.
Though some people have opted to brand these killings as acts of terrorism, the killings have only targeted specific individuals as opposed to indiscriminate killings. In the case of Joan Kagezi, the killers avoided harming her children and driver. In the case of the Muslim clerics, the killers spared others by not attacking while their victims are in Mosques, homes and other public places. For Kawesi and Maj. Kiggundu their drivers and body guards were killed because they were armed thus a potential obstruction.
Even before the current wave, there had been killings of a similar nature in the past. The shooting dead of Andrew Kayiira shortly after he was acquitted of treason charges. The shooting dead of ISO's Lt. Michael Shalita over a smuggling scam by a top regime General. The killing by drowning of CMI's Lt. Denis Bataringaya who had investigated the robbery of Congolese Mombasa destined coffee in transit by a top army General. The shooting dead of the former IGP Apollo Byekwaso near his home in Kyengera shortly after he had been summarily dismissed from the Police.
In the late 1960s, Brig Okoya was shot dead from his home in Acholiland allegedly by Iddi Amin before he became president. There was an attempt at assassinating former President Obote at Lugogo. Pro-Buganda Kingdom ardent subjects conniving with some dismissed army officers laid an ambush along Port Bell road in Kampala hoping to assassinate Obote but instead it’s his Vice President, John Babiiha who was shot and injured.
An attempt by exiles to assassinate former President Iddi Amin at Nsambya Barracks only ended up fatally injuring his driver. During the UNLF (post Iddi Amin) era a number of prominent people fell victim to targeted killing by shooting in Kampala. They were being perpetrated by rival in-fighting groups seeking to undermine one another for the control of Kampala (Museveni's FRONASA Vs Obote's Kikosi Malum).
During the Museveni Bush War, a special task force (urban hit squad) called Black Bomber (BB) under Matayo Kyaligonza whose mission was to spread terror and blame it on government forces, carried out assassinations in Kampala city. At one time Kyaligonza personally shot dead a DP Member of Parliament for Mwenge county, Hon. Bamuturaki who fell into an ambush set for a senior army officer in the loos of one of the drinking joints at Kisementi in Kampala.
In the mid 1990s the short-lived National Democratic Alliance (NDA) under Maj. Herbert Itongwa rebel group ambushed and hacked to death Regional Police Commander, Karakire along the Kampala-Masaka Road. The same group later kidnapped the then Minister of Health, James Makumbi but was later released. The sectarian oriented Museveni regime lamented why Dr. Makumbi a Muganda was spared but IP Karakire a Muhima was killed. They even went as far as alleging that the kidnap had been stage-managed.
Museveni has directed the installation of CCTV cameras in the entire Kampala city, all towns and highways throughout the country. As a security expert, he urged citizens to physically confront such elements thus; "If you notice such characters and especially if they are trailing a person with armed guards, you should take prompt action and challenge them." His police chief said that even without CCTV cameras the force has succeeded in curbing violent crime. He instead called for public vigilance in form of the Neighborhood Watch scheme.
The usual beneficiaries of government contracts are going to reap big in inflated procurement of substandard cameras. Last year cameras at a human rights NGO captured very clear footages of two men who had broken into its offices and stolen computers and documents after killing a security guard but no suspect was found.
The high-profile killings are not done by any anti-regime group. It is carried out by people who were highly trained on the tax payer's money. The high-level skills and professionalism exhibited depicts people who excelled in topics like surveillance/stalking, VIP protection, fire and manoeuvre, shooting at moving targets, etc. People armed, and enjoying the full protection of their well-placed god fathers.
The confidence exhibited by the attackers depict an assurance from some circles of non-obstruction by 'friendly forces'. IGP Kalekyezi is not a threat to Museveni's hold on power. Relieving him can worsen the situation if he opts to let his mad dogs on the loose with indiscriminate targets in order to discredit his successor. Dismantling his mafia empire has to come at a high cost.
Even in the Kawesi case, the mafias have the capacity to come up with hired suspects in order to hoodwink the public. However, such killings help the regime in psychologically preparing Ugandans in the event it opts to target leading opposition activists. It helps the regime to intensify its repression, instil fear in the general public, pass draconian decrees, and skyrocketing of expenditure on security.
Otherwise for now there is no anti-regime group that is targeting regime functionaries or aiming at tarnishing its already tarnished image. Even if it was to be there, killing of Kawesi wouldn’t be the priority.
The regime would be panicking and as the Prime Minister put it, its security forces are in-charge of the situation. Therefore, such killings will continue as long as they are not a threat to the regime. Forget about the rhetoric of tarnishing the image that would affect tourism and investment, what matters is the regime’s survival against all odds. Moreover, its image is always tarnished by killings in hundreds and what about this isolated incident of Kawesi.
Same suspects, different motive.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO
Saturday, 18 March 2017
Last week the Deputy Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), Gen. Charles Angina ordered for the arrest of Capt. David Bashaija for using his position to grab government land. Capt. (Rtd) Bashaija is the In-charge of OWC for Mbarara Municipality. The land in question is found at the Mbarara Stock Farm on Mbarara-Ishaka Road and belongs to the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO). He fraudulently acquired and forcefully retained this piece of land for his personal use.
Capt. Bashaija is a historical Museveni Bush War veteran who after taking over power in 1986 was retained in Mbarara for harmonizing the land acquisition for the Balalao through the Ranches Restructuring and degazetting of Lake Mburo National Park. He benefitted a lot by acquiring a big chuck of land from the degazetted national park. Together with Gen. Saleh and Gen. Muhweezi, he founded Ngabo Academy located in Mbarara Municipality.
In 1999 Museveni wrote to Capt. Bashaija asking him to vacate the Stock Farm land in vain. In November 2010 Museveni wrote to the Attorney General directing him to investigate the same matter and to cause Bashaija's immediate action and prosecution. Around the same time, the Secretary Uganda Land Commission directed the management of Mbarara Stock Farm to repossess the said piece of land; ".......since the lease that was given to the school had expired." when Dr. Balikowa, the then Mbarara Zonal Director of NARO led a group of workers to evict Capt. Bashaija, they were roughed up leaving Dr. Balikowa injured and a NARO vehicle damaged. The Mbarara police Land Protection Unit sided with Capt. Bashaija for the failed eviction.
Consequently Capt. Bashaija went to court and the matter is under adjudication. He at one time claimed to have bought the said piece of land from a one Kasumari (deceased) at 22m shillings. Gen. Angina's
fake order followed Museveni's recent public statement in Mbarara town that all those illegally occupying Mbarara Stock Farm land should leave.
Capt. Bashaija has not only grabbed the Mbarara Stock Farm land. In Sanga, Kiruhura District, he has grabbed a bigger chunk of land belonging to Sanga Veterinary Research Station under NARO. He used
the cover of expanding Ngabo Academy by constructing an East African Institute of Applied Technology at Kangoro village on the same piece of land in Sanga. He went ahead to claim that he once again founded the institute together with Gen. Saleh, Gen. Muhwezi and Prof. Charles Kwesiga. That the institute was to cater for the children of the fallen comrades of the Bush War who after completing their studies at Ngabo Academy would get stuck. He even went ahead to encroach on the nearby land belonging to Ruhengeri Experimental Farm.
Capt. Bashaija as the Councillor for Kanyaryeru Sub County at Kiruhura District, he became the LC 5 Secretary for Defence. He is a very strong person in Mbarara, Kiruhura and Isingiro districts. Together
with the Capt. (Rtd) Rwakanuma, they led bands of armed LDUs and Crime Preventers to beat up opposition supporters and direct election rigging. In Bukanga they helped Museveni's nephew, Kangwagye to defeat Nathan Byanyima. In Nyabushozi, Capt. Bashaija led a band of rogue NRM supporters who waylaid and the FDC campaign agent, Mujaasi beaten unconsciously. After the elections, in August 2016 Capt. Bashaija led Museveni on a guided tour of his Ngabo Academy where he
commissioned a multi-billion Science Block. In June 2013, Museveni awarded Capt. Bashaija with a Luwero Triangle heroes medal.
Gen. Angina was recently sacked by Museveni from the position of Deputy Army Chief before he was dumped into distribution of seeds under OWC. This is because he had attempted to poke his nose into
multi-billion financial deals in the army which are the ones sustaining 'cohesion and loyalty' in security services. From the Pension scam for former soldiers, survivors benefits for widows and orphans’, sale of logistics under AMISOM, to the most recent 76b shilling fake procurement scandals, Gen. Angina lost all the battles.
Museveni's order hesitated on use of force thus; ".... the government wouldn’t have loved to first use force against encroachers." Even in 2010 he chose to write to Capt. Bashaija and when he defied he
resorted to the Attorney General and its now six years since. Unlike Gen. Angina, Museveni knows the forces behind Capt. Bashaija. Gen. Angina ordered Col. Shikaji Tumusiime to effect the arrest of Capt.
Bashaija yet when Angina was a Capt. in the mid 1990s, Shikaji was a Lt. Col. But more so, owing to political connections and cadreship, Capt. Bashaija is a boss to Col. Shikaji.
Gen. Angina should leave matters of Generals to Generals or else he will be humiliated. It is easier for Gen. Angina to order for the arrest of Vice President Edward Ssekandi than the more powerful Capt. David Bashaija."
INFORMATION IS POWER AND DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO!
Friday, 17 March 2017
SAME SUSPECT, DIFFERENT MOTIVE - MUSEVENI'S TOP CADRE SHOT DEAD
Today morning the Police Director of Human Resource who also doubled as its PRO, Felix Kawesi was shot dead 100 metres from his residence by two men travelling on two motorcycles. His murder adds on the list of other unresolved murders of prominent people in Kampala using the same modus operandi (mode of operation) - armed people riding on motorcycles.
He joined the police in 2001 and was rushed through the ranks to Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP). Starting as a Personal Assistant to the Police Chief, he went on to command the police in Kampala and rose to become the Director of Operations. He brutally surprised all forms of political dissent and made no secret of his alignment to the ruling clique. He committed, defended and promoted the most heinous forms of human rights abuses against the opposition activists. The USA blacklisted him among the officers who were placed on a travel ban to its territory.
In 2015 Kawesi was removed from operations to Human Resource Development - a move the public interpreted as a demotion. In October 2015 during a pass out of police officers at the military academy at Jinja, Police Chief Kalekyezi counselled Kawesi thus; "Don’t be disgruntled by those who say I demoted you simply because you are no longer in the news. Being in the news everyday doesn’t mean one is working very hard." He went ahead to give the example of the former Nansana DPC, Mohamad Kirumira whom he accused of being fond of rushing to the media whenever he got administrative challenges.
However, in October 2016 Kalekyezi succumbed to pressure to bring back Kawesi to the limelight when he appointed him the Police PRO at a time when the force so much needed to clean its tarnished image. The appointment was meant to overshadow the role of AIGP Dr. Fred Yiga who had even given the same role of rebranding the police image as its Chief Political Commissar. Fred Yiga is a long serving professional police officer who had just returned from a UN mission in South Sudan where he had been diverted to give way for army Generals to take command of the police force.
In January 2017 Gen Kalekyezi applied to Museveni to have his contract renewed for another three year fifth term as police Chief. His Deputy, Okoth Ochola also applied for a renewal of his contract. Rumours circulated that Museveni was planning to replace him with Brig. Ronnie Balya, Brig. Leo Kyanda or Felix Kawesi. Though Museveni has not yet responded, Brig Kyanda was beaten out of the contest by the fake arms scandal involving Polish arms dealers. Brig. Balya was sacked from ISO and posted to South Sudan as Ambassador leaving Felix Kawesi in the race.
In his scheme to have his son Gen. Muhoozi take over from him, Museveni has been discarding old Turks and positioning fresh blood in strategic positions of his core political base, the security services. Andrew Kaweesi is one such stooge who would suit well into Kalekyezi's shoes for the Muhoozi project. Indeed, Gen. Muhoozi's condolence Twitter message speaks volumes thus; "AIGP Kawesi was a brave and dedicated officer.
The country has lost one of its best and brightest! May his soul rest in eternal peace." One wonders how and why such a very senior police officer is apprised in terms of bravery of all the attributes! On the other hand, since Kawesi has been at the forefront of militarization of the police force, Gen. Muhoozi could be right if he assesses him from the perspective of the joint SFC/Police battles in Kampala and Kasese.
Gen. Kalekyezi has admitted to have called Kawesi a few minutes before he was shot dead. He says he instructed him to issue out a response to one of the "screaming" headlines in today's newspapers. He has described his killing as a great loss to the police and other security agencies. "They always warned they should hit at the strongest point.
Indeed, killing him was touching us hears." Kawesi is killed at a time when parliament is scheduled to hand the 3rd amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Act 2002. The first one was in June 2015, the second one was in January 2016 and this third one is seeking to criminalize the financing of terrorism and terrorists’ activities. Already the committee on Defence and Internal Affairs is disagreeing on the definition of a terrorist.
The two soldiers, Col. Kulaigye and Maj. Abriga who are members of this committee disagreed on whether rebels fighting a government are terrorists. Museveni has thrived on the global terrorism ticket to suppress all forms of internal dissent while at the same time holding the west at ransom. He would wish to have all criminal offences in Uganda being viewed
from a terrorism perspective.
Whatever the motive, Kawesa's killing sends a clear message to the regime sycophants that those armed body guards are mere scarecrows. Insensitivity and arrogance has a price tag.
INFORMATION IS POWER, DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO!
Sunday, 12 March 2017
First published on May 29, 2015 by Change of Guards Blog
Recent protests in the Burundi capital Bujumbura have seen over 100,000 crossing the border to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Even before the protests had broken out on 26th April 2015, thousands from the country's northern region had already fled to Rwanda. Those refugees are facing acute health hazards in their countries of asylum with over 30 lives already claimed by a cholera outbreak that has hit the temporary reception center in Tanzania.
Almost all of these refugees claim to have fled fearing for their lives against the potential threat posed by the ruling party paramilitary youth wing - the Imbonerakure. Although hardly any refugee was directly harmed or threatened by the Imbonerakure, there was a lot of rumors including that of the Rwandese Interahamwe siding with government but it did not take root. This time around, its not the historical ethnic clashes that saw Hutu flee across the border while Tutsi took refuge with the country in IDP camps. For this reason, among the refugees, there is quite a number of Tutsi too.
Different news anchors and aid workers have presented a picture of a people who have time to prepare for their journeys with intent to stay in their host countries no matter the situation in Burundi. This is confirmed by the type of personal belongings like solar panels, bicycles, mattresses, suitcases, stoves, and other personal effects. Further evidence is that of complete families with no incidents of missing family members during flight. No matter the situation in Burundi, more citizens will leave and seek refuge; already Uganda has registered 3000 refugees since the beginning of the protests yet it does not share a common border with Burundi. Those who fled to Uganda dis not arrive by air but went through neighboring countries which did not deny them asylum.
During colonial era, Burundians more especially Hutu were faced with harsh colonial administrative measures like forced labor and high taxes (commonly known as Ekoli in Kirundi). Non-compliance was often met with harsh and humiliating punishments like the infamous Ibimoko (lashes) by the colonial administrators. Consequently, many Burundians opted to migrate to Congo, Tanganyika and Uganda. In Tanganyika, they worked as casual laborers more especially in Railway construction and Sisal plantations.
In Uganda, the introduction of cash crops economy demanded for labor that consequently brought about the largest wave of immigration. The abolition of Kasanvu (paid compulsory labor) system shortage of labor. Amidst this shortage of labor, in 1924 Mehta started the sugar factory in Lugazi. Cotton, sugar and coffee sectors were concentrated in Buganda and Busoga regions. Since Baganda looked down upon working on European or Asian plantations, migration of labor from other areas of Uganda to this economic zone was inevitable.
Soon the demand for labor especially with the emergence of the sugar plantations exceeded the available local supply leading to laborers migrating into Uganda from neighboring countries. n top of earlier migration, 1925 marks the arrival of Rwandese and Burundian immigrants who were escaping taxes, famine and oppression. By October 1925, 11,771 Rwandese and Burundian immigrants had entered Buganda. Many were destined for Lugazi and Kakira but majority were actually headed to work on cotton plantations and shambas in Buganda region.
For the immigrants from Rwanda, Burundi and Congo, working in Uganda provided a much better quality of life. Many ended up acquiring pieces of land and settling into the country. A 1938 inquiry found that of the laborers working in the sugar industry in Uganda, 65.5% were from Burundi, Rwanda and DRC. The sugar industry had become so dependent on the migrant labor that they set up joint recruiting agencies in West Nile and Masaka to ensure steady supply of despite the colonial administrators of the respective countries trying to limit the immigration.
It is very common for a Burundian to talk about his/her family member who disappeared in Buganda many years ago and stories of the first Burundians to buy bicycles having returned with them from 'Ibugande' (Buganda). They call it Manamba in reference to the employees’ numbers that they would be allotted in Sugar and sisal plantations in Uganda and Tanganyika respectively.
Almost every aging Murundi knows about Mehta in Uganda. Unlike the Rwandese who are treacherous and prefer holding to themselves, Burundians are straight forward and easily assimilate with the host communities and that is why it is difficult to pinpoint Burundians who settled in Uganda decades ago. The likes of Mary Mutesi an NRM activist hailing from Kamuli are a typical example of Rwandese migrants who have failed to assimilate.
The first refugees from Burundi were those of 1972 following bloody ethnic clashes that fell short of amounting to genocide. About 200,000 fled to mostly Rwanda, Congo and Tanzania. Subsequent ethnic clashes led to more Hutus fleeing to the same countries of destination. The climax of the Burundi refugees was in 1993 following the ethnic clashes that followed the assassination of the first democratically elected Hutu president. It is estimated that about 580,000 Burundians fled following the events that were sparked off by the 1993 events.
In his first speech, the slain Hutu President Ndadaye had appealed to the 263,000 Hutu refugees who had fled the country much earlier to return home. When the Rwandese Tutsi dominated RPF took over Rwanda, Burundian Hutu refugees residing in Rwanda at the time moved to Congo and Tanzania. When the new RPF government in Rwanda sought to forcefully repatriate its citizens from Congo and Tanzania, a number of Rwandese Hutu refugees escaped and joined the Burundi Hutu refuge camps in Tanzania and claimed Burundian citizenship.
Following the first Congo war, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda troops backed the Congolese rebels then seeking to oust President Mobutu by sweeping through the territories where some Burundian Hutu refugees resided. Together with their Rwandese Hutu counterparts, these Burundi refugees moved to Tanzania. In Tanzania, the 1972 Burundi refugee lot had been housed in camps around Tabora region while those of the 1993 lot were housed in camps around the Kigoma region. It is in these camps that the rebellion to fight the Tutsi regime in Burundi were born. Over the years, a good number of Burundi Hutu refugees in Tanzania were resettled through the UNHCR
Burundi is a tiny and economically poor country whose average population density is over 300-500 people per Sq. km. 90% of its population is involved in subsistence agriculture concentrated on the fertile, volcanic soils 100-800 m above sea level away from the arid and hot floors and margins of the rift valley. Historically, pressure on land resulted into extensive migration to Tanzania, Congo and Uganda. For small scale farmers, yields are barely enough to live off, let alone turn a profit from.
High population growth and the return of over half a million from exile has made the issue of land more pressing. The country has the highest level of hunger with 88% of children chronically malnourished which hampers their physical and intellectual development. With almost non-existence of a private sector, drought, plant disease, land scarcity, poor health and education facilities, abject rural poverty is the norm. The northern region more especially the province of Kirundo has become endemic to famine.
In 1972 when the first mass exodus of Hutus took place, their land was given to Tutsis with official land titles as a compensation for their loved ones who had been slaughtered by the fleeing Hutus. In other cases, the Tutsis would simply seize land left behind by fleeing Hutus. In some instances, the then Tutsi dominated government simply took over land for schools, hospitals, palm oil and sugar plantations, and other cash crops.
Land grabbing and annexation was not restricted to Tutsi; even Hutu brothers who had remained behind would simply annex land belonging to their kinsmen who had fled. In some instances, those who had fled would sneak back and sell off their land in anticipation that they would never return to Burundi by being locally integrated in their host countries or be taken overseas. Some houses belonging to those who had fled to exile were sold by government. To compound all this, the government then enacted a law to the effect that whoever had regularly land for 15 years becomes the legal owner no matter how it was acquired.
During the civil war Tutsi never fled the country but would gather around specially protected areas by the Tutsi dominated army. As a counter insurgency measure, government had moved people (Tutsi and Hutu) into protected camps (IDPs) in order to isolate the insurgents. Even those who had fled the 1993 bloodbath but could not make it to neighboring countries were hurled into these IDPs more especially in the northern and central regions. Most of these people have not been moved back to their former places of abode due to scarcity of land.
Since 2008, government has set up a number of integrated rural villages for landless returnees and other vulnerable people who are identified by the local administrators. These villages are meant to foster healing and reconciliation and to act as a bridge between the returnees and the surrounding communities. The government put in place a land commission (CNTB) in 2006 for settling returnees, tackling land grievances and disputes. It is composed of 50 members (60% Hutu and 40% Tutsi) as required by the Arusha Peace Agreement.
Burundians have a natural attachment to land even by intellectuals who can live without land. Land has social and cultural values with specific plots closely linked to a sense of identity. CNTB has been dividing plots between residents (those who did not flee) and returnees (those returning from exile) but may times such rulings are overruled by courts of law. Government promised compensation for both returnees and residents but nothing has been implemented. Because most of the returnees had either been born in exile, spent long in exile, and may be Rwandese disguising as Burundians, tracing their original land is not an easy task.
Returnees were promised land before repatriation but in many instances, returnees upon arrival in Burundi are housed in dormitory like Peace Villages from where after moths or even years are moved to the Integrated Rural Villages. Nine of such villages are located in the three southern provinces that have significantly contributed to the current wave of refugees into Tanzania.
With a minimal private sector offering few employment opportunities coupled by returnees having no vocational skills, minimal education, lack of capital and access to credit, lack of land for subsistence farming, life in exile is preferable to life in Burundi. Landless returnees are the most vulnerable and difficult to integrate. Access and entitlement to arable land on which to undertake subsistence farming and secure shelter are the most acute hurdles. Moreover, in exile refugees are able to get enough food aid to supplement what they grow on their own, early money from doing casual labor among the host communities, access better health facilities, free primary and secondary level education, if lucky be resettled overseas or be granted citizenship.
A good number of Hutus who have been resettled overseas over the years are doing very well economically. Actually, with the power sharing arrangement in place coupled by big numbers of Hutus abroad, the economic balance is tilting in favor of Hutus. This partly explains why at the inception of the street protests in Bujumbura, 600 students from the University of Bujumbura attempted to seek asylum at the USA embassy and the presence of Tutsi among the refugees. Also, a good number of the 1972 lot that was granted citizenship by Tanzania made a fortune from tobacco growing in the Tabora region such that they are even resisting efforts to disperse them to different parts of Tanzania.
It is against the above background that the current wave of refugees fleeing Burundi is not proportionate with the threat paused by the protests thus may have difficulties conforming to the UN refugee convention that recognizes persecution based on race, religious, political etc. conscience. However, on humanitarian grounds, they have a right to leave and seek asylum the same way other Africans are braving the storms on the Mediterranean Sea trying to enter Europe.
INFORMATION IS POWER
First published by Change of Guards Blog on April 9, 2015
The 1960 Control of Alien Refugee Act
This Act required refugees to reside in gazetted settlement camps. They would only be allowed to leave the camp with permits for specified purpose and duration. Only a few were allowed to live in urban settings i.e. those with security concerns, health care, pending resettlement to third countries and those with proven self sufficiency. At the time and throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, Uganda was host to mainly Rwandese, Congolese and Sudanese refugees.
However, despite that restriction of movements policy, many Rwandese Tutsi refugees left the camps and settled among the locals, acquired local names, property, and jobs both in government and the private sector. This way they went as far as enlisting into the host country's security services and participated both in the defence and overthrow of the Iddi Amin regime. During the post Iddi Amin governments, Rwandese refugees played a key role in fighting the UPC government alongside Museveni's NRA and brought him to power.
Having been at the helm of the country's military and political power base, they organised/planned the invasion of Rwanda that culminated into the 1994 Genocide. After taking over government in Rwanda, those who wished to return to Rwanda did so and those who wished to stay remained. However, RPF combatants who opted to desert the army would flee and settle with their relatives in Uganda and the government could not identify them. The inclusion in the 1995 Constitution of the Banyarwanda as one of the indigenous tribes of Uganda automatically cancelled their refugee status. The Congolese refugees who had earlier fled the political turmoil of the 60s and 70s had long returned to their country. Its the Southern Sudanese refugees fleeing the then SPLA war against Khartoum that dominated the refugee situation in Uganda during the 90s.
Refugee Management in Uganda
The Refugee Act of 2006 that repealed the 1960 Control of Alien Refugee Act created a Department of Refugees (DOR) under the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and a Ministry of Refugees. There are in place a number of traditional refugee camps like Nakivale and Oruchinga in Isingiro district, Kyaka II and Rwamwanja in Tooro, Kyangwali in Hoima, Kiryandongo in Masindi, and then in West Nile and Northern regions there is Paralonyo, Rhino Camp, Mvebi, Madi Okollo and the integrated camps of Adjuman district.
Unlike the usual overcrowded refugee camps, settlement camps are designed in such a way that each house hold is allocated a plot of land sufficient enough to cultivate and sustain it food requirements and even sell the surplus. Refugees in the settlement camps share with the locals the same social services provided by the government. The government provides civil servants, drugs, health workers, teachers and security officers to the camps. A good number of local and international NGOs supplement government in providing for these refugees.
Currently Uganda has about 400,000 registered refugees originating from DRC, South Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Eritrea and Ethiopia. South Sudan provides the highest number followed by DRC and Somalia. Majority of these refugees live in settlement camps about 50,000 registered refugees live in urban settings more especially in the capital Kampala. There are about 5000 so called returnees who were expelled from Tanzania in 2013 that are accommodated at an ungazetted camp at Sango Bay. Their status is not clear but government is planning to resettle and issue them with national IDs. There are former Congolese M23 combatants who are accommodated at the Bihanga military camp and whose status in Uganda is not clear. These are foreigners inside a military camp where a citizen is restricted from accessing!! While majority of refugees in Uganda are registered, there are thousands out there settled among the locals without the knowledge of the authorities.
Refugee status determination process in Uganda
For those who upon entry into the country are received by the authorities and taken to the settlement camps, it is the Settlement Commandant who carries out their registration. For the asylum seekers who upon entry into the country they proceed to the capital Kampala, they are required to report to the Crime Intelligence unit at Old Kampala Police Station for registration. At the Police station, they are issued with a Registration Card and instructed to proceed to the DOR in the Prime Ministers office. At the Prime Minister's office, they are registered and given an appointment for an interview.
Each registered house hold is issued with an Asylum Seekers Attestation renewable after three months till a decision is made by the Refugee Eligibility Committee. The asylum seeker returns to the Police station for another interview. Successful applicants are issued with Refugee IDs by the OPM and given the option of either staying in the city or proceeding to the settlement camp. For those whose applications are not successful, they have the option of appealing and the appeal interview is conducted by the Police's Crime Intelligence Unit. For majority of refugees in Uganda, they do not go through this process but simply qualify under the Prima facier (on the face of it) arrangement or automatic recognition. Imagine with the outspoken corrupt tendencies by the Uganda Police, such sweeping powers are prone to abuse thus serious security breach.
In 2009 the UNHCR released its urban refugees’ policy. In October 2009 while addressing the organising committee of the AU summit on Refugees, Museveni advocated for urban refugee settlement. He argued that: "........ why can’t we think of refugees outside camps because land will not always be there." About 5000 urban refugees were registered in Kampala alone by the department of refugees. They have established residential zones i.e. Kisenyi for Somalis, Katwe Kevina, Old Kampala and Massajja for Congolese, etc. They come to the city either from escaping the hard life in the settlement camps or directly from their home countries and in some rare cases from third countries of transit.
They form associations, set up own schools, establish own born again churches, initiate group projects etc. At Old Kampala, Primary School, out of the 900 pupils, 400 are refugees. A good number of local and international NGOs work with urban refugees in Kampala city. The urban refugees are involved in all sorts of business enterprises to make ends meet and of course including crime. They have their own community leaders and well set out networks whereby they receive and help the new arrivals to access the refugee status process. In July 2012, a visiting top US diplomat commended Uganda's policy on urban refugees but during the function the Mayor for Rubaga Division decried the behavior of some of these urban refugees describing them as a security threat thus: "some of them come with pistols and sharp objects.
They are very uncooperative and do not respect hygiene of the places they live." The Refugee Department carried out a massive registration exercise in 2014 for urban refugees in the city before issuing them with one year renewable IDs. In the West Nile and some parts of northern Uganda, a good number of South Sudan refugees who fled the recent insecurity simply rented houses in urban centers. In November 2014 Refugees Minister Hillary Onek directed local authorities to register all such urban refugees.
Refugee freedom of movement
Refugees have a right to travel documents, access to employment opportunities, freedom of movement and to own property. In return they have the obligation to abide by the laws, maintain public order measures, not to endanger state security, not to engage in political activities etc. The Uganda government relaxed rules to enable refugees make a living in the country; find work and settle. The government argued that refugees who contribute to the economy through generating wealth should be able to travel freely out of Uganda without being locked in one place. On top of issuing IDs, the government unveiled the Refugee Passport in 2014.
It was aimed at assisting them seek, study, do business and access medical opportunities abroad. The 32-page Blue passport booklet is titled: "Republic of Uganda, Convention Travel Document. It is issued by the Passport Control Officer at the same cost like a normal citizen’s passport. Inside the front cover it is clearly printed that it is issued in the name of the President of the Republic of Uganda who is requesting and requiring all those to whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to affords the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary."
It is valid for ten years as long as the refugee status still holds. The bearer enjoys visa free travel privileges extended by signatories to the 1951 refugee convention. Whereas a normal UN Refugee Travel Document is issued in accordance with Article 28 of the UN Convention of July 1951, the Uganda design bears the July 1967 Convention. The Uganda model is a unique design to suit the sinister designs of the regime.
Refugees or immigrants
The Great Lakes, South Sudan and Horn of Africa regions have experienced conflicts that have left millions displaced. Refugees are identified by the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. For decades, South Sudanese sought asylum in mainly Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Somalis have been dominant in Kenya with a few ending up in Uganda in recent times. Rwandese Tutsi refugees were dominant in Burundi, Tanzania, Congo and Uganda. Burundian Hutu refugees were prevalent in DRC and Tanzania. Following the take over of power by Tutsis in Rwanda, it was the turn of Hutus to flee to mainly DRC and Tanzania.
Burundian Hutus who would flee the Tutsi dominated governments were initially hosted by the former Hutu dominated government of Rwanda, Congo and Tanzania. Following the take over of Tutsis in Rwanda and the subsequent invasion of, the Burundian Hutus relocated to Tanzania. Following the independence of South Sudan, its refugees repatriated in big numbers only to return following the recent conflict. Rwandese Hutu refugees were forcefully repatriated from Tanzania in 1996. Recently Tanzania granted citizenship to thousands of Burundian refugees of the 1972 lot and repatriated thousands of the 1993 lot. Following the armed conflicts in DRC following the overthrow of Mobutu, Congolese from the eastern region have sought asylum in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda.
Although a number of Rwandese Hutus were repatriated from eastern DRC, thousands still remain there among them those bent of fighting the Kigali regime. When the going gets tough for these Hutus in Congo, they relocate to either Tanzania, Uganda but pose as being Congolese. Even Burundians who did not want to go home from Tanzania claim to be Congolese. The same applies to Rwandese Hutus who had earlier sought asylum in Tanzania claiming to be Burundian had to relocate to Uganda while claiming to be Congolese. Genocide suspects and other innocent Hutus haunted by the frequent threats from the government in Rwanda find safe heavens in Uganda.
Those who have the means move further south in countries like Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa. In Uganda, some immigrants don't even report to the authorities but simply settle among the communities. Lack of land in Burundi and Rwanda has also contributed to the migration of their citizens to Uganda by first claiming refugee status before melting into the communities and settling down, that way they acquire land and then arrange to have more of their friends and relatives to join them too. In Uganda, Rwandese and Burundians take advantage of their closeness to the Bafumbira of South Western Uganda by claiming and being viewed as Bafumbira while seeking to settle in other areas of the country including urban settings. This arrangement has been exploited by criminals who escape justice.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has an arrangement whereby it helps to resettle a small number of refugees from the country of first asylum to other countries overseas like the US, Canada, Australia and some European countries. Thousands of Rwandese, Congolese, Sudanese, Somalis etc. refugees residing in the Great Lakes region have benefited from this arrangement. Like is happening in across the Sahara Desert in an attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe by those from the horn of Africa, there are irregular movements within the Great Lakes region in pursuit of the same.
Those who are already refugees are reluctant to repatriate in anticipation of being resettled overseas while those seeking better economic prospects just pack their bags before crossing the frontier to claim asylum in order to try their luck on being relocated by the UNHCR. For the economically hard hit Rwandese Tutsis from inside Rwanda, the false claim of being Banyamulenge qualifies them for refugee status. That is how you find a particular refugee is registered in a number of countries in the region but under different names and nationalities.
They have overtime mastered the art of articulating false claims that convince the authorities who handle refugee status eligibility. Owing to the above, there is a lucrative business involving human trafficking revolving around the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region and connecting to Southern Africa regions and the French Islands of Mauritius and Mayote. The other Somali youths rounded up in Kampala last year and indicted for terrorism including two girls could be victims of such irregular movement of the so-called refugees. Also, that is how many of them are always visiting their home countries to check of families and friends, attend weddings and burials or get holidays when the school term ends. In so doing they manage cross-border illicit trade in precious minerals and other merchandise.
Israeli's African refugees swap
In 2014 it started as a rumour that Israeli had reached a secret deal the Kampala regime to receive and keep Eritrean, Ethiopian and Sudanese refugees repatriated from Israel. The deal was alleged to involve receiving and keeping them in the country or helping them to transit to their home countries. In return Israeli was to supply Uganda with arms and agricultural support. The regime in Kampala vehemently denied the existence of such a deal but shortly after an Israeli arms dealer was arrested at Entebbe over illegal importation of arms into Uganda. In court the suspected arms dealer claimed that it was the government of Uganda that was importing arms from the Israeli Weapons Industry.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence of Uganda owned the arms but there was no trace of any payments for the arms made by Uganda and the matter just ended there. Investigative Journalists traced two Ethiopians Barahawa Fransa and Jamal Nesredin Hassan as two Ethiopians residing in Kampala who had already been dumped in Uganda from Israeli under the arrangement. Earlier in 2011 Museveni had made frequent visits to Israeli and currently there is a big group of Ugandans undergoing training in Agriculture in Israeli. It is only last week that Uganda's Minister of Foreign Affairs acknowledged the presence of the arrangement thus: ".... this matter has been raised before us, and since it is getting serious, we should look into it."
This followed Israeli's announcement that 2000 African refugees were ready to be dumped into Uganda and Rwanda. Under the arrangement, the government of Israel gives the affected refugees 7000 US$ to the affected refugees in return for accepting to leave Israeli voluntarily. The Kampala regime could be attracted by those few dollars that the refugees are bringing with them.
It is not by coincidence that the following incidents involving people who are not Ugandans have take place of recent: -
- The star state witness in the trial of the 2010 terror attack in Kampala, a one Mugisha Muhamad claims to be a Ugandan citizen born in Rwanda in 1983. That he relocated to Uganda in 1998 for fear of reprisal attacks by genocide perpetrators. That he stayed in Nakivale camp though he was not a registered refugee in Uganda and had no refugee status. That while at Nakivale camp he converted to Islam and left the camp later to South Africa, Kenya and Somalia where he trained with Al-Shaabab. His cross examination continues in court and we are yet to hear more shocking revelations.
- July 2012 a Rwanda Genocide suspect, Kwitonda was arrested in Kampala by the Police. He had fled Rwanda in 2001 and had been a resident of Kasubi in Kampala. Police acknowledged that the suspect had been giving huge sums of cash to security officers to evade arrest.
- On 14th January 2015 another Rwandese Genocide suspect, Jean Paul Birindabagabo was arrested in Mpigi where he had been a Pastor at Buwama after he crossed from Congo years earlier.
- In June 2014 15 armed attackers on a Pentecostal Church in Kyegegwa left three dead including a Police Officer who had rushed to the scene to intervene, one of the victims Beata Mukashaka bears a Congolese Tutsi or Rwandese name but was found to be a resident of the area that has historically had no Rwandese. Three suspected attackers i.e. Hakizimana Abdu Salim (the Imam of the local Mosque), Hassan Mubarak Awera alias Sazimana Silvester and Niyosenga Ibrahim Tulole mysteriously died in Police custody. They had been part of the 18 suspects rounded up by locals and security agents as they emerged from a sugar plantation where they had been hiding.
Later on, the army ambushed and killed a one Abdul Aziz and captured James Muhamad Kahungu. The army Spokesperson said: "These people are known in the area. Even the one killed was identified by the father. They are Islamic extremists and they have been telling people to convert to Islam." Police also arrested and paraded the commanders of the group they had arrested from Ibambala Forest whom they claimed had revealed vital information in which the group had been recruiting and training under the guise of spreading the Muslim faith. Top leaders of the group were identified as Yahaya Sharif Kalemba from Kanungu and Abdurahim from Kabale. Some of the above names of the suspects sound Rwandese; could they be part of the groups who just sneak into Uganda, acquire land and settle?
- It is alleged that when Kagame's former bodyguard Lt Joel Mutabazi fled Rwanda and sought asylum in Uganda, he sent for his firearm that he had left hidden in Rwanda. Once delivered in Kampala, he used it to stage manage an attack on himself so that the government could speed up the process of granting him refugee status and eventual relocation overseas by the UNHCR. Indeed, following this incident, his personal security was enhanced by putting in place police guards and accommodation in a Hotel. It is said that that firearm was later thrown in a pit latrine in Kampala but maybe it is out there doing damage to Ugandans. How many arms are brought into the country by refugees?
- In 2011 dissident Rwandese Journalist was shot dead in Kampala and the following day is when an alleged stage managed attempt on the life of Lt Joel Mutabazi was made. Six months later another Rwandese refugee Jerome Ndagijimana had his throat split open in Kampala. In another incident, a Rwandese refugee alleged to have been kidnapped by agents of the Rwanda government, tortured and dumped in the city council mortuary. While it is true that the Rwanda government sends hit squads to harm dissidents, it is also likely that some criminal refugees stage manage or carry out real harm against one another in order to enhance the much craved for relocation overseas by the UNHCR.
- In January 2015 three suspected government drugs thieves were arrested. The three, Ruisagara John, Ntale Sunday and Nyiringirimana Jean Pierre confessed to stealing and selling the drugs and other medical equipment to neighbouring countries. Given the fact that all the suspects bear Rwandese names, it is also highly possible that their stay in Uganda and free movement to run their drug syndicate is under the guise of being refugees.
Uganda's liberal refugee policy is healthy on humanitarian grounds. However, there may not be in place sufficient safe guards to ensure that the system is not abused and exploited by criminals disguising as refugees. The regime is bent on tapping the huge donor community funding for refugees and improving its international image without minding much on national security. Museveni in particular is interested is managing a scheme of selective resettlement of certain communities in Uganda.
On 7th February 2013 Museveni chaired a cabinet meeting that passed the National Land Policy. Among the major highlights of the policy is a section dealing with CROSS-BORDER POPULATION MOVEMENTS. Under this section it is argued thus: "Cross-border population movements are frequent as a result of conflict, ecological and environmental stress or interactive accommodation among cross-border communities sharing common heritage and culture.
A significant proportion of these populations sometimes end up being classified as either refugees or internally displaced persons. Settlement or resettlement of such populations often leads to severe strains on resources and/or serious environmental damage. Government will develop a framework to regulate, manage and mitigate the negative consequences and maximise the positive impacts of cross-border population movements.
Government will respect the regional and international conventions governing the settlement and treatment of refugees and internally displaced persons. Negotiate protocols for the reciprocal treatment and settlement of mass cross-border movements and jointly implement with neighbouring countries, measures for effective border management, control and supervision." From the above it can be said that according to Museveni, there are no refugees in Uganda but cross-border communities sharing common heritage and culture.
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