By Patrick Iga
Any Ugandan interested in getting a clue how so many prominent citizens have fallen victim to assassinations in the past few years better look for a documentary by BBS TV, aired this week, on Wednesday 16, January.
The documentary, titled “ani atta abantu mu Ggwanga?” (Who is killing people in the nation?), is right there on YouTube – for one’s viewing after a simple Internet search.
If you are the kind of person that believes Uganda should be governed by rule of law, this video will seriously alarm you.
This is a video that will confirm what many have long feared – that “contract killers” are operating in Uganda; that they operate with utter impunity, and will not be arrested. It is clear they are protected because they have killed, or attempted to kill, “enemies of the big man”.
The documentary reveals the killers work with criminal elements within Uganda Police, and that in fact they (killers) may be policemen themselves.
It is a documentary that re-emphasizes to what extent those that cause insecurity in Uganda have the support, or even “partnership” with major actors within the state apparatus of the administration of President Yoweri Museveni.
BBS extensively interviews a Ugandan woman, Jane Nyirarukundo, its main source for the documentary. In this woman, the media outlet has found the ultimate authoritative source on the assassinations that have roiled the country in the recent past. Nyirarukundo was a policewoman, in the Uganda Police force, for eight full years.
She is middle aged and a bit heavy, and talks in the unmistakable manner of a truth teller. She mentions names and places, shows documents and does not hesitate or fidget in her recollection of events.
She begins by describing how two killers: John Zimula and Meddy Musiitwa, a captain, working together waylaid Sheikh Abdul Khadir Muwaya a prominent Muslim cleric, and assassinated him. That was back in September 2014. “Zimula and Musiitwa went to Muwaya’s house, within the compound and as Muwaya was getting out of his car, coming back to his house, that’s where they shot him,” Nyirarukundo discloses.
How did she know this? “The killers used to gather at my home, led by my own husband, with whom I have two children!” says Jane. She reveals that she heard each and every plan of theirs, probably because they were confident that since her husband was their leader she would never say anything.
She continues that after only a few weeks they went and shot to death Sheikh Ibrahim Hassan Kirya, which was in early 2015. But it was when the killers began plotting to kill Sheikh Major Muhammad Kiggundu that Nyirarukundo decided to do something to stop the killing.
The policewoman got out her phone, a Samsung as she narrates, and began recording the men as they plotted the murder. Afterwards she went to the police of Nabweeru County and reported what she had heard. She reported it to the Officer in Charge of CID, one Nandudu.
She narrated everything to the OC, telling in detail how the men were to kill Kiggundu. “They are meeting at my home and you can come and apprehend them!” Nyirarukundo says she told CID. “But the Nabweeru Police did nothing!”
Jane says that when she saw their inaction she ran to Kawempe where she found one DPC Ronald Natooli and informed him of the deadly plot brewing. She says that Natooli instead asked her, “How are you related to Kiggundu?!”
Kawempe Police then proceeded to lock up Nyirarukundo. They did not go out to investigate her allegations, or call in Zimula, Musiitwa or Jane’s husband for questioning.
Here, the reader has to be reminded that by that time, Uganda was in turmoil with several murders of Muslim clerics. Yet here was someone with answers which would immediately solve the crimes; answers complete with voice recordings.
But Police locked her up instead.
A few months later, Kiggundu – whose death she had desperately tried to warn the supposed crime fighters about – was dead. The assassins shot him on 26 November 2016 at Masanafu in the outskirts of Kampala.
Nyirarukundo would be released from custody shortly afterwards, and in the documentary is seen commiserating with Maama Fiina, the widow of the late Maj. Kiggundu. The man happened to be a former member of Allied Democratic Forces who had thought he could trust the government of Museveni by renouncing his past.
In chilling detail, she describes how the assassins would come back boasting at her home how they had shot their victims while they were on motorcycles.
“Did you see how I’ve become such a good shot; how I shot the tire of the car!?” one would boast.
“Yeah, but did you see how I shot him in the back?” another would crow.
Using motorcycles in drive by shootings is the favored method of assassins. They tail a car up to where it stops, then the motorcyclist quickly approaches while the assassin, who usually is the passenger, sprays the victim’s vehicle with bullets.
It is the way they killed several Muslim clerics; it is the way they murdered former Uganda Police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi, and others. It is the way they waylaid former Arua MP Ibrahim Abiriga’s vehicle, and how they killed Afande Muhammad Kirumira with a friend in his car.
The country was left in a state of high alarm, with many thinking it was impossible to apprehend the killers. Some took to the airwaves “to blame a neighboring country”. Yet there was someone with “hot” evidence that would have led to quick arrests, a policewoman no less, but she instead ended up in mabusu.
Nyirarukundo’s explosive testimony makes one wonder: who are these assassins and why has Uganda Police shown such little interest in investigating or apprehending them?
In the video, she takes the camera crew to the place in Nabweeru from where the killers operate. She shows the compound where they park their vehicles. She shows BBS the police statements she made when she went to warn about the impending murder of Kiggundu.
One of the journalists makes a call to Nabweeru Police and they confirm that yes, Nyirarukundo came to them, and recorded a statement about cases of “threatened violence.”
She then says to the camera, “I have been to many offices and police stations warning of the crimes, yet they never questioned or arrested any of the people I told them about; so it means they knew the criminals!”
Nyirarukundo discloses that the gang had even drawn up a list of MPs and other dignitaries that they intended to murder. The camera zooms in on the list.
To see this list is to get goose flesh. Included on it are: Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago; popular MP Robert Kyaguranyi aka Bobi Wine leader of the People Power movement; Omulangira Nakibinge, a crown prince; Buganda Kingdom Kattikiro Pater Mayiga among others.
Most of these are well known personalities because of the fierce enmity President Museveni has shown them. Some of them almost lost their lives and were badly tortured by Museveni’s security operatives.
Bobi Wine almost got killed, only for the assassins to murder his driver Yassin Kawuma instead. To look at the list Nyirarukundo showed BBS, it is obvious attempts on the young MP’s life are not about to stop.
Ugandans have become familiar with how every time there is a high profile crime President Museveni tries to imply that “a neighboring country” is behind it. He says, “There are some “kawuukumis” (meaning bean weevils) within the Uganda Police.”
When Museveni says “kawuukumi” it is to imply there are “agents of Rwanda” within the police. “Museveni is a genius at the blame game and at victimizing others; he can even tie a crime on others even when he knows well the cause of it!” said a longtime observer of the Ugandan leader.
“Since for his own reasons he long ago turned our southern neighbor into an enemy, that neighbor will always be a victim of his machinations.”
The BBS’s explosive documentary will show that indeed Uganda police is infested with “kawuukumi” including contract killers. But these “kawuukumis” obviously have nothing to do with any other country. And they mainly get paid to kill those that President Museveni may have problems with.