Following Accusations Of Political Murders By His Ex- Top Aide, Pressure Mounts On Uganda's Gen. Museveni

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Gen. Museveni eulogized Gen. Kazini at his funeral service. Now another top general says Museveni actually ordered the killing

[Uganda: Analysis]

Twenty-seven years into his regime, General Yoweri Museveni, the U.S.-backed Ugandan dictator, is coming under intense pressure from the families of murdered top military and political leaders, who want to know the truth about how their beloved ones perished.

The deaths of Major General Kazini in 2009, Brigadier Noble Mayombo in 2007, and Dr. Andrew Kayiira in 1987 shocked the nation, and up to today many questions remain unanswered as to how they met their end. Now accusations by Gen. David Sejusa, one of Gen. Museveni's closest aides until recently that the Ugandan ruler had a hand in these killings is shaking political circles.

According to Ugandan sources close to the families, the relatives of the dead men are demanding for the post-mortem reports to be made public. And they also want international independent inquiries into the deaths of their loved ones. These demands, according to sources close to the families, are being made not only by the families of the late Kayiira and late Gen. Kazini, but also that of the late Brigadier Mayombo.

The main problem, according to the sources, is that General Museveni continues to block the release of any independent reports into the deaths, and in the case of Kayiira, refuses to disclose the results of a British inquiry that was done at the request of the Kampala regime.

The dead Ugandans were viewed as 'enemies' by Museveni

In all the cases mentioned, the common denominator was that the deceased persons had all fallen out with the president before they died. Major General Kazini and Dr. Andrew Kayiira, in particular, had been arrested and charged with treason. The two were also suspected to be plotting to escape to foreign countries when they were killed.

Dr. Kayiira, who died in the immediate aftermath of 1980-1986 civil war that brought Yoweri Museveni to power, was viewed by Museveni as a political rival, who, according to a family source, had to be liquidated. Just before his death, Kayiira was arrested by Museveni and charged with treason. He was out on bail and was thought to be planning to escape from the country when he was brutally shot to death by assailants who raided a home of a close friend and journalist where he was staying.

Leader of the opposition Democratic Party (DP), Norbert Mao, on his part has stated that the party is now publicly backing the Kayiira family in their search for the truth. He has tasked General Museveni to make public the British findings on the Kayiira death.

A senior politician from the DP, who was a close associate of Dr. Kayiira, said that as far as the family is concerned, the fact that Museveni does not want to cooperate in the efforts to get the British report released into the public domain points to his guilt. “Why is he hiding the facts? If he were innocent, he would have nothing to fear,” said the politician.

And, so it seems, Kayiira’s family believe that their relative was murdered on orders of President Museveni. Gen. Sejusa, who was former coordinator of Intelligence Services in Uganda says in a bombshell letter that Museveni knows who the killers are and the motives.

The other controversial killing was that of former army commander General Kazini who was also at odds with Museveni when he was murdered in the most gruesome manner. His battered and bloodied body was found lying in a door way at a girlfriend’s mansion in the Kampala suburb of Namuwongo. The death was pinned on the girlfriend, who remains incarcerated in prison, in spite of her protestation of innocence. Kazini's skull was reportedly bashed with what may have been a metal pipe.

Kazini, who served as Museveni’s army commander and had been a leadng figure in the Ugandan military intervention in the DR-Congo war, which followed the 1994 Rwandan genocide, was arrested and court-courtmartialed on a number of charges including for treason.

The Kazini family point to sharp disagreements with General Museveni as the main cause of his death.  

Upon his death, some family members called for an investigation. According to a family source, Museveni was very angry with their demands, and it was not long before another family member, Singa Muhwezi, the young brother to the late General Kazini was himself killed. Singa was, reportedly, the loudest of all in the family in demanding for an independent investigation into the demise of the fallen general.

For the Kazini family, the deaths of General Kazini and Singa Muhwezi are not the only deaths, whose facts they are seeking to establish.

The family are also interested in getting answers from General Museveni about an earlier death of another Kazini brother, Jet Mwebaze.

Lt. Colonel Jet Mwebaze was a senior army officer who died in Western Uganda in 1998 under unclear circumstances. Officially, the cause of Jet’s death was said to be a plane crash. But some in the Kazini family believe that the army officer survived the plane crash only to be shot by Ugandan army rescuers, on orders from "above". The Kazini family were shocked to learn that some agents working for General Salim Saleh’s were also on the fateful plane when it went down. Salim Saleh is Museveni’s brother, who wields the most power in the country only after Museveni.

In recent times, according to sources close to the Kazini family, state agents have approached the family seeking to bribe them so that they stop asking questions about the deaths. Other family members are believed to have been threatened with death if they continued to demand for an independent probe.

Late Brigadier Mayombo’s family also seeking answers

Noble Mayombo, a former Director of Military Intelligence, who was also an army representative in the Ugandan Parliament, had risen rapidly through the ranks to become army Brigadier and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defense – a position he held at the time of his death.

When Brigadier Mayombo suddenly fell ill, records from the private hospital in which he was first admitted indicated that he was suffering from “acute-pancreatitis” – a condition “where the pancreas becomes inflamed over a short period of time."

According to a family source, there is widespread belief that the condition was caused by some form of poison.

The public outcry that followed his death forced the Museveni regime to institute a public investigation, but until today the report that was handed to General Museveni in 2007 has not been put in the public domain.

According to a source in the Ugandan military who knew the late Brigadier Mayombo quite well, just before his death, Mayombo was being investigated by General Museveni, who believed that the youthful 42-year old officer was getting more and more sympathetic to anti-regime opposition leaders. According to this officer, General Museveni was particularly angry that Brigadier Mayombo was persistently pleading with the President to stop on-going arrests and persecutions of political opponents.

In the wake of recent revelations by Sejusa, a four-star general, it seems like a flood-gate has been unlocked. More Ugandans are now demanding answers to the killings of these prominent individuals. The appetite for information is insatiable and The Black Star News reports that the website has already crashed six times since the Gen. Sejusa letter detailing his accusations was posted, due to the excess traffic.

 

Dr. Vincent Magombe is a London-based Ugandan journalist and broadcaster, also Head of Africa Inform International. 

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