Ugandan authorities’ cover up of Ziggy Wine’s murder backfires
By Charles Kamya Ssentamu
The death on 4th August of Michael Alinda alias Ziggy Wyne, a performing artist who was affiliated to People Power principal Robert Kyagulanyi, not only exposes Uganda’s unrestrained descent into total chaos but also the increasing dysfunction of President Museveni’s system.
The system is groping for credibility days after issuing contradictory statements to explain the gruesome death. Days after claiming it was treating it as a murder and would review CCTV footage at Mulago Hospital to pick clues on who could have been behind the act, Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga on August 6 made a U-turn. He attributed the death to some mysterious motorcycle accident.
Conveniently Enanga had seven witnesses, all claiming to have witnessed the sequence of the accident on the night of July 21. Separately, one Loy Atworo was paraded as the pedestrian whom the musician purportedly knocked down before losing control of his sports bike, supposedly culminating in the injuries he succumbed to.
The other “witness” was David Kimbowa, who claimed to have dropped the deceased off at the casualty ward. Ziggy Wine’s fatal ‘accident’ happened not far from a police station and the incident, according to Enanga, was logged in the occurrence book. Yet the area police could not inform sister stations or link the event to missing person reports that were circulating, with photos of the People Power activist on social media.
Also for a cosmopolitan area such as Kyebando kisalosalo where the alleged accident happened, the ethnic composition of Enanga’s witnesses was rather skewed. Five of the seven witnesses paraded were from western Uganda.
The police spokesman also displayed pictures of what remained of the ‘guilty’ bike. What observers found odd though was the fact that its rear wheel was missing rather than the front, which would have been expected to bear the brunt of the impact. Also while the police attributed the burn marks on Ziggy’s body to the hot exhaust pipe after the bike supposedly landed on an injured rider, Enanga did not explain how a heavy bike could have landed on Ziggy without tossing him a distance away.
The accident theory was further debunked by keen observers who noticed the absence of bruises or other trauma injuries on the left side of Ziggy’s face, which had an eye missing.
But then, for no apparent reason the witnesses were taken to State Lodge Nakasero to record statements. Why the presidential residence would want to meet witnesses from whom police had already recorded statements is another mystery.
Alinda’s was the second suspicious death involving an apparently harmless young man in five months. Police is yet to come up with a plausible explanation for the death on Ronald Ssebulime on March 21.
Ssebulime was killed in cold blood by a police officer that shot him while handcuffed, in full view of eyewitnesses. It was claimed that Ssebulime was shot at, point blank range by uniformed officer on the orders of junior minister for information technology Aidah Nantaba. Nantaba has since invoked president Museveni’s name, and refused to record a statement on the murder.
The two events are emblematic of Museveni’s mortal fear of the youths whose hopes are invested in the People Power Movement whose leader Kyagulanyi beat all the odds to rise from the ghettos of Kampala to become a legislator and political leader. After withstanding torture and intimidation by the regime, Kyagulanyi has emerged as a reasonable and focused young man who represents the aspirations of a demographic that sees no prospects in a system that has destroyed and personalized the economy.
As he insists on pushing through his hereditary project in which he sees his son succeed him, Museveni now faces hard choices. He has to choose between getting more blood on his already badly stained hands, or he can begin negotiating his departure.
But committed to violence as a means to an end – like Saddam Hussein and Moummar Gadaffi – analysts don’t see Museveni taking advantage of his opportunities while they still are there.