Is Gen. Tumukunde next on Museveni’s poison squad hit list?
By Moses Ssejjoba
As the general elections slated for 2021 inch closer, General Yoweri Museveni has ordered a secretive poison squad to be on high alert. Soon, according to our impeccable sources, the “Nakasongola lab boys” will get instructions on whom to go after. For the uninformed, the Nakasongola Airbase in central Uganda houses the deadly labs that the regime has set up, reportedly with the help of North Koreans, to develop “biological weapons” against Ugandans. Simply put, this is poisoning which has claimed people like Aronda Nyakairima or Noble Mayombo, to name only two of the most high-profile victims.
From reliable sources, the next on the list could be Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde. His dramatic arrest from his office in Kololo last Thursday night is still etched in the public’s mind. The arrest was commanded by Brig. Abel Kandiho the highly sadistic head of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, also known as “Museveni’s State Research Bureau” – invoking the Idi Amin intelligence organ that still strikes terror into people.
The police said that Tumukunde – who has made public his ambition to challenge Museveni in next year’s election – is going to be charged with treason. “Chances are Tumukunde may not even have his day in court,” analysts of the regime say. “Already they have detained him, and who knows what the ‘Nakasongola lab boys’ will do to him while in detention?” our source wondered.
The shadowy poison squad has over time been carefully selected by Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh Museveni’s young brother, who in actual sense runs the Ugandan military from his Nakasongola base. Saleh and first son Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba run the labs which are off the books, meaning they are not known in the formal structures of UPDF.
Their mission is clear: eliminate potential political threats for Museveni though the two (Muhoozi and Saleh) also have their own ambitions and will most likely use it to settle their individual scores, going by various reports. None other an international news organ than the US-based Wall Street Journal has written an article on Nakasongola and its purpose as a “biological weapons” facility, in an article of December 2018 titled: “Never Take Their Photos: Tracking the Commandos, North Korea’s Secret Export”.
A trained lawyer, Tumukunde has previously served in different capacities, including as head of CMI and most recently security minister. “He has been a consumer of intelligence reports for long, and he knows the system in and out.
“Museveni will not take any chances with him on the ballot,” said a highly placed source within Uganda’s security network. Appearing on a local television on Thursday night, opposition figure Salaamu Musumba – the outspoken member of the Forum for Democratic Change – confirmed the existence of the evil poison squad.
“Museveni has refined every tool to make sure he wins (the elections) and the key component is intimidating any credible threat. One of the means is using poison,” said Mrs. Musumba. She herself, together with a group of opposition politicians, has been a target of poison by the Museveni Junta.
In 2007, then legislator Musumba, together with then FDC Secretary General, Gen. Mugisha Muntu and other MPs Jack Sabiiti and Ben Wacha survived by whisker, a plot to eliminate them using poison. According to a first hand account of the event, the poison was to be served to the legislators through a flask of tea, something they survived only through sheer luck.
The would-be assassin saw Wacha in the group. Since he (the assassin) was from Lango and Ben Wacha is a fellow Langi (at the time the head of the Langi Parliamentary Group), it prompted him to abandon the plot though at great risk to his own life.
Completely removing any doubts about Museveni’s “poison assassin” squads, Gen. David Sejjusa recently appeared in a viral video, describing how all high-ranking people: ministers, MPs, senior army officials and others can never dare eat, or drink at public functions organized by government. “They carry their own water bottles and chapattis in their suits!” Sejjusa said.
“The poison that has taken the lives of Aronda, Mayombo and others is highly effective. The victim will not immediately die the moment it is administered; it is slow-working, such that the victim may die weeks afterwards,” said a source.
Museveni is not new at using poison to settle political scores against his opponents or even to entrench himself as a life president. Those who tried to fight from within have been eliminated using poison, and these include the aforementioned Brig. Noble Mayombo, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima as well as young legislator Cerinah Nebanda – a vocal legislator and promising politician whose life was cut short at 24.
Mayombo was seen as a rising star within UPDF, and he died in 2007. Gen. Nyakairima the former army commander died on a plane en route from Korea where he had been on official duty. At the time of his death in 2015, Aronda was minister of internal security. His unceremonious removal as army commander was linked to his vehement opposition to the so-called Muhoozi Project – as the machination to name the first son as successor to Museveni is called.
So the question on the lips of many analysts is if Gen. Tumukunde is safe. He knows all about the “Muhoozi project”. He also knows the First Son is just a playboy completely unsuited for leadership. He also feels aggrieved at the personalization of the state by Museveni as a patronage machine, though Tumukunde himself has been a beneficiary of that state personalization.
Individuals like Tumukunde are the type that “Nakasongola lab boys” are there to “take care of”, regime observers have been commenting. “Museveni will stop at nothing to silence anyone,” said legislator Barnabas Tinkasimire, whose membership of NRM lend extra veracity to his claims.
Those who know Museveni and his brother Saleh have zero doubts about the affinity of the two for use of poison to eliminate threats. Early last year Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga was flown to Nairobi where she spent weeks after she was attacked by a strange disease. Her hair was coming out like someone undergoing cancer chemotherapy though she was not under treatment for cancer.
It turned out it was poison. She had begun suffering some days after she vowed to investigate Salim Saleh after it emerged he was involved in a scam that saw him siphon millions of US dollars from multiple road projects in the country.