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Museveni’s terror RDC Sakwa aka “Maliyamungu” wrecking havoc in Jinja

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President Museveni and Jinja’s RDC Eric Sakwa.

By Moses Ssejjoba

Relatives of an old man called Charles Isanga from Jinja have refused to bury him until the government intervenes and gives them justice. He died two weeks after he was badly beaten by goons of the area Resident District Commissioner (RDC). They accused him of keeping his shop open beyond hours imposed per Coronavirus curfew.

The old man, who owned a retail shop in the town was descended upon a fortnight ago by Jinja’s virulent RDC Eric Sakwa and his security goons who beat him senseless and left him badly incapacitated. According to residents Sakwa in Jinja has gotten the moniker “Maliyamungu”, the name of Idi Amin’s most notorious executioner.

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“It was even not yet curfew time but they started beating Isanga up as he pleaded with them, asking what he had done wrong. Anyone who tried to intervene was also roughed up,” said an eyewitness neighbour. According to other witnesses, the mob besides beating up the 64-year old Isanga also ransacked his shop and made off with unspecified groceries.

In an interview following the beating, Isanga had narrated how Sakwa and his goons assaulted him with electric cables so violently that it left him paralyzed on one part of his body. Two weeks later, on Sunday 19 April, Isanga passed away, leaving dozens of family members for whom he was the only breadwinner.

Sakwa has been cited in a number of violent acts in Jinja and the entire Busoga sub-region, where he is known to brandish a gun despite his being a civilian. This is a conduct synonymous of many of Museveni’s RDCs.

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At the beginning of April Sakwa stormed a popular radio programme and demanded that he be put on the panel, complaining that the panelists who were there were “too critical” of the leadership of President Museveni. For the interest of anyone that may not know, RDC is a portfolio created by Museveni and these officials account to no one but Museveni, which accounts for their impunity, or license to violence, according to observers.

The talk show host was intimidated enough to allow Sakwa on the panel, despite the fact that there was someone who already was speaking on behalf of government.

The show was discussing the distribution of emergency relief that was meant for the vulnerable people but which has been grossly mismanaged and has ended up in the hands of the well off at the expense of the vulnerable. During the ensuing discussion, Sakwa got into an altercation with one of the panelists, Andrew Muwanguzi, who is also a local pastor. That was simply because he asked Sakwa to be respectful of opposition legislator Robert Kyagulanyi.

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In an interview with Daily Monitor, the moderator of the show said that at this point, Sakwa grabbed Muwanguzi by the collar and the show had to be cut short. After they were separated before he could beat him up, Sakwa apparently left the station seething, vowing to “teach the pastor a lesson”.

The same night, he attacked the pastor’s home with police and LDUs and abducted him when he was in his pyjamas. “They picked me up in a group of 11 men and started accusing me of abusing Sakwa and that therefore I should apologize, they proceeded to beat me up!” said Muwanguzi who was by last week still nursing serious injuries.

After beating him into semi-consciousness, Sakwa had dumped the pastor at Nalufenya Police Post at around 2 am in the night of early morning. Even with all the bruises from the assault, Sakwa and his people conjured up charges against Muwanguzi, including “abusing the person of the president”. They booked the man of God while he was in a cell, he disclosed.

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Pastor Muwanguzi was released on police bond but spent several days in hospital suffering from his injuries.

Sakwa, a former vocal youth activist of the opposition UPC, is a hated figure in the Busoga region for his brutality.

It is obvious Museveni has unleashed him onto the people for purposes of repression. “I have been watching news where that RDC is involved in all kinds of bad things…he needs to be put in his place; this is not the kind of leader we need in Busoga or anywhere in Uganda,” said Amos Amanya, a Jinja resident.

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John Chris Owoya, who seems to know Sakwa well, said that the man used to be a vocal UPC member who used to abuse Museveni and his party. “He later defected to NRM and got that appointment. Now he wants to prove to Museveni that he is better than all NRM in doing Museveni’s bidding,” said Owoya.

Sakwa’s abuses are not an isolated case among RDCs. These people are known more for their brutality than championing development in the districts. “They are not accountable to district organs; always are out of touch with realities in areas where they are deployed and have no regard to any of the elected leaders,” commented a Kampala based civil society activist.

The RDCs, he added, are more in place to represent Museveni’s personal interests and all incidents indicate their violence against the people is encouraged from the top.