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Like Kitatta, is Nantaba just another of Museveni’s expendable pawns?

Minister Aidah Nantaba and President Museveni.

By Moses Ssejjoba

It was an ordinary service for the congregation at the Bukolooto Seventh Day Adventists Church in Kayunga Town this last Saturday.

Just a little excitement that the daughter of the soil, one who has fought tirelessly for them, was in attendance, and many were waiting for the end of service to rush to her and present their problems. That is the norm not just for Aidah Nantaba but for all MPs from every part of our country. People, kept so poor by this government, will relish and rejoice chancing upon a local politician.

This means the child will go to school or medical bills of a relative will be settled, among a myriad of personal problems. So it was with anticipation that almost every one of the congregants waited to hear what Nantaba had in store for them when she stepped on the dais to address them.

They knew her to deliver goodies; after all she was adored by President Museveni himself, or so they thought. One does not have to look beyond just a few years ago when Nantaba made what was seen to be a populist decision to seize land from landlords in Kayunga. She went on to subdivide and distribute it to residents until then considered squatters. She had so much clout, and would call President Museveni, put him on loudspeaker in a meeting with the people, and he would go ahead to address them!

So, everyone was caught off guard when they saw the young woman politician they have known to be iron lady, for once, in a state of helplessness. Then like that, State Minister for ICT Aidah Nantaba dropped the bombshell! She was a targeted person, she said. Her life was in danger, she almost sobbed, and she was asking for the congregants to pray for her; “any time she may be assassinated by state agents”!

Nantaba then went ahead and explained how state agents, on orders from “really big people”, have been assassinating prominent Ugandans; national leaders and even some high-up in security. “The gunmen killing notable Ugandans are not agents of Allied Democratic Front (ADF) rebel group as police previously said, but assassins from state security organs,” Nantaba told the bewildered churchgoers.

The high profile murders that have rocked Uganda, almost all of them brazen broad-daylight executions, have always been blamed on ADF. Be it AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Joan Kagezi, Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga, former Buyende District police commander Muhammad Kirumira, and Maj. (Rtd) Kiggundu among many others.

Nantaba added; “truth is that the killers are within security and government.” She was now sobbing uncontrollably. “I have decided to come here for prayers because I know when they kill me, I will go to heaven!”

Another Minister, Godfrey Kiwanda of Tourism whisked her off the pulpit before she could spill more beans, but the damage was already done. The question now is, why would the young woman, so powerful that she would call the Head of State in a middle of a community gathering to put him on speaker all of a sudden be as scared as she was?

Those who know her so well will tell you this is not someone who was trying to buy public sympathy. She was serious that she was in imminent danger. For answers, different analysts say one does not have to look farther than the case of Abdallah Kitatta. Like Nantaba, he was a diehard mobiliser for Museveni, and in turn enjoyed all the perks that come with being close to the powers that be.

“Back in March, when she claimed to have escaped an alleged assassination attempt, it was Museveni – in her own words – who stopped her from answering the summons of CID who were probing the case,” said our analyst. The alleged attempt to her life would lead to the execution by police of Ronald Ssebulime, whom she is certain was a state agent sent to eliminate her.

The question now is, do we believe her? Why would Police execute Ssebulime, who was already under arrest and handcuffed?

Nantaba, a minister and one who is so close to Museveni – at least until very recently – is someone in a position of knowledge.

Her allegations carry a lot of weight.