ISO boss’s impending end has Kampala residents preparing the popcorn
By Charles Kamya Ssentamu
The headline promised a blockbuster but for such a breakthrough, the story on September 22, remained confined to the Sunday Vision and its sidekick, the vernacular daily Bukedde. “I know who killed Kagezi –Boda rider,” the Sunday Vision headline screamed at a public hungry for any leads on the unresolved murder of Senior Principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi who was gunned down in Kiwatule on 30 March 2015.
As it turned out, the story, which was planted by embattled ISO Director General Kaka Bagyenda, was another manufactured “breakthrough” that did not conclusively name the killer.
Typical of Bagyenda’s works of fiction that have caused untold turmoil within the Ugandan state, his star witness was 38 year old Ivan Nkwasibwe, a self-confessed criminal who claimed to have been hired to carry the assassins. That was during reconnaissance missions to track the late prosecutor’s movements before the hit, and on D-day itself, it was claimed.
Nkwasibwe links the plot to kill Kagezi to one Gabula Bright Africa, a former death row convict whom he met in Luzira during his own time there on a conviction for involvement in violent crime. Gabula, who had been convicted of treason during the early 90’s, escaped the hangman’s noose a few years ago after the constitutional court commuted to life some death sentences.
According to Nkwasibwe, they became friends with Gabula during their time in Luzira. Soon after he had been released from prison in September 2014, he by coincidence bumped into Gabula in Bwaise. That encounter allegedly would lead to the collaboration between them that would culminate in Gabula hiring Nkwasibwe to carry Kagezi’s killers.
Gabula is a man who had several run-ins with Ugandan security operatives who have tried to use his previous criminal conviction to torture him into owning up to crimes he never committed, such as the March 2017 murder of former Deputy Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi. Gabula has been subjected to unimaginable torture.
It is reported, he has survived this long thanks to his “strong constitution”, and the existence of determined human rights lawyers such as Ladislaus Rwakafuzi who have always followed up his cases and picked him from the dungeons. Curiously, Nkwasibwe’s story, which does not explain why Gabula would want Kagezi dead, appeared days after Gabula had appeared before a parliamentary committee in which he gave evidence about ISO torture chambers, the so-called safe houses.
Even more surprising, for such a weighty matter, Bagyenda had not made any effort to arrest this prime suspect, who remains free to date. But to those familiar with Bagyenda’s methods of work, a lot of which is at the service of Museveni, cooked “intelligence” isn’t something new. A lot of it is basically street rumors by hardcore criminals that the ISO boss has enlisted as informants.
However, besides getting back at Gabula, this particular frame had another motivate. Kaka Bagyenda urgently needs a breakthrough because cracks are beginning to appear in his narrative.
Earlier this year the National Security Council rejected as inadequate the evidence he had presented to frame former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura, and other high-ranking police officers arrested in the murder of Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
With Kayihura’s impending rehabilitation, Bagyenda is in panic mode. He has ratcheted up his tall tales with known hardcore criminals such as Sobbi as his star operatives. As the heat turns on him, he is so desperate that, through his media acolytes, he has been fronting these same criminals to defend him against accusations of human rights abuses in the safe houses.
The gang of defenders, who call themselves reformed criminals, instead accuse his accusers of being the criminals. It is getting more confusing, but what’s clear is the ISO boss is in panic mode.
What Bagyenda cannot explain to his principals is why the senior police operatives whom he accuses of involvement in Kaweesi’s murder have been able to secure visas and protection in western jurisdictions that are signatories to Interpol and would be happy to repatriate any suspect against whom solid evidence is available.
With the ground shifting rapidly under his feet, Kaka Bagyenda urgently needs a breakthrough. But by using the very methods which got him into his current mess, he is behaving like the man who after falling into a pit, instead finds an abandoned hoe and continues to dig himself in.
In the meantime it is clear, especially with Andrew Mwenda’s recent fulminations against him, that Museveni has thrown Bagyenda to the wolves.
Kampala residents are getting out the popcorn for the show.