A double murder in Entebbe brings the consequences of Uganda’s crime wave closer home to State House
By Charles Kamya Ssentamu
The double assassination by gunshot of a person closely related to the Ugandan First Family and his female travelling companion in the night of Thursday – the day before yesterday – has left many wondering about its implications.
Is this the wake-up call for regime leaders that their incompetence in dealing with out of control crime; their complicity in fact in the rampant murders and abductions that are roiling the country is finally coming to bite them too?, analysts are asking.
“It is like someone that nurtures a small python, then it becomes a big python and he still nurtures it, then it becomes a gigantic python and turns on him and swallows him as well!” commented one observer.
Nteireho Ruhegyera Joshua 38, one of Kampala’s flamboyant figures was gunned down alongside his female companion, 37 year Tumukunde Merina late in the night. The incident took place at Nambigirwa Bridge, within sighting distance of the first toll station along the new Entebbe-Kampala Expressway.
It was the third mystery killing in a week. It also happened on the very day when the Uganda Law Society reported the abduction of city lawyer Bonny Akol by unknown elements.
In its initial statement on the, the police said an AK 47 rifle number UG POL56-3100699022697 registered to the Uganda police, had been recovered at the scene of crime. It was found lying next to Ruhegyera’s lifeless body at the rear of the vehicle, registration no. UAW 534 B. The rifle contained 27 bullets.
Just like Ruhegyera, Merina had succumbed to a single bullet to the head and was found seated in the left rear seat of the Toyota Prado.
Among items recovered from the vehicle whose engine was found still running more than 30 minutes after police first received reports of the, killing was a police cap issued to officers assigned to Uganda’s counter terrorism police.
As it turned out the late Ruhegyera was a related to President Museveni. His mother Joyce was a first cousin to Museveni, Salim Saleh and their sister Kajubiri.
This is the closest the rampant crime wave in Uganda has got to the powers that be.
It has since emerged that the deceased were in the company of Police Constable Davis Taremwa, who police describe as a personal friend to the Ruhegyera. Taremwa who deserted his duty post at Hidden Treasure Hotel in Entebbe to accompany the deceased to a business deal at Millennium Hotel in Zana has since been arrested.
The police narrative does not explain if the recovered rifle was the same weapon assigned to PC Taremwa since the number of bullets found in the magazine tallies with the number of spent cartridges (3) recovered at the scene. Ordinarily an AK 47 magazine carries 30 rounds of ammunition.
Other questions surrounding the murder revolve around the scene of crime. The Police do not divulge the source of the distress call. Neither do they explain where the different vehicles that are normally deployed to patrol the notorious expressway were located at the approximate time of the incident and what their response, if any, was.
The victim’s vehicle was found parked on the side of the road, consistent with a scenario under which the victims would have been responding to an order to stop by people they recognized as a legitimate authority. According to independent analysts, the murder points to the involvement of regime security elements, and it is consistent with the rampant crime wave sowing fear in Uganda.
The Ruhegyera case was likely a robbery perpetrated by the highway Police Patrol in much the same way as Local Defense Unit Personnel who have been deployed to tame the crime wave have themselves turned into predators. The assailants tried to cover their tracks by elimination after realizing that the victims were not ordinary folk. Letting Ruhegyera walk would have sealed their fate.
Speculation is that the killers must have calculated that killing their victims, who could turn witness, would cover their tracks, and bury the latest incident under the pile of the many unresolved killings. If that was the case, then PC David Taremwa just happens to be the perfect fall guy – just like the many people that have been framed as suspects in other high profile murders.
Whatever the case, the Mafias will realize they have unleashed a monster they can never cage again; one that as it devours the country, devours them as well.