Uganda: Dictator Museveni Could Kill MP Ssegirinya The Way Apartheid Regime Killed Biko

The MP with Bobi Wine
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Ssegirinya, right, shown with presumptive winner of the Jan. 14 presidential election.

Kawempe North Member of Parliament Muhammad Ssegirinya alias “Mr. Update” is going through the ringer as Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s regime ignores his family’s appeal that he receive treatment for what they say is a life-threatening illness. 

After a series of murders by machete-wielding assailants in Masaka region, the regime arrested Ssegirinya and another MP Allan Ssewanyana and accused them of being masterminds behind the killing, a notion ridiculed by most observers. The two are member of the National Unity Platform (NUP) party led by Bobi Wine.  

Many Ugandans believe the MPs are being scapegoated for their vocal denunciation of crimes by the regime including the kidnapping, torture, and murders of supporters of Bobi Wine who says he defeated Museveni in the January 14 elections and therefore he’s the legitimate president of Uganda. Interestingly on April 16, the U.S., which has sustained the Museveni regime for decades said the Jan. 14 election was “neither free, nor fair” in essence meaning Washington doesn’t consider him to be the legitimate president of Uganda. 

In a video, which has since gone viral, Ssegirinya mother Justine Nakajumba broke down in court, begging the State to pardon her son whom she said was in pain and too sick to be in prison. Ssegirinya had appeared before Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate, Doreen Karungi via Zoom and denied the offense of inciting violence slapped against him early this year before he was remanded to Kigo Prison. 

If memory serves, in April this year, there was another video of the MP pleading for his life.  At the time, Mr. Update was granted bail from Kitalya prison looking wan and woebegone. He seemed on the verge of physical collapse. 

He was later flown to Nairobi for further treatment, but his health condition reportedly failed to stabilize. Ssegirinya was admitted to Nairobi hospital where the doctors considered his condition grave. According to reports, MP Ssegirinya was poisoned and thus his liver got damaged which put his life in danger.

Against this background, it appears like Museveni’s kakistocracy considers him to be shamming and so apologists of the regime are saying the MP is not ill at all. 

First of all, Hon Ssegirinya is entitled to “medical treatment including, at his request and cost, access to private medical treatment”- Art 23(5)(c) of Uganda Constitution. 

This right is being denied him because the State claims he is pretending to be ill in order to ratchet up some sympathy votes from an already sympathetic public. Instead of taking his dire straits seriously, the government is putting the “pathetic” in the word “sympathetic” in order to send a message out to all those who oppose Gen. Museveni that if you buck his dictatorship, you will die. 

Two, and most importantly, Ssegirinya’s situation has a historical precedence reaching beyond Uganda’s body politic towards the body of evidence which proved to be damning to the Apartheid regime in South Africa. 

In 1977, Steve Biko transgressed his reprehensible banning order by traveling to Cape Town. On his way back to his home in King William's Town on 18 August, he was stopped at a police roadblock near Grahamstown. 

The police were over the moon with joy that they had caught Biko in violation of the said order restricting him to his home in King William's Town.

The security services then hurriedly took Biko to the Walmer police station in Port Elizabeth, where he was held naked in a cell with his legs in iron shackles right from the Dark Ages. 

On 6 September,he was transferred from Walmer to room 619 of the security police headquarters in the Sanlam Building in central Port Elizabeth, where he was interrogated for 22 hours, handcuffed and in leg irons”, like a slave fresh off a slave ship, chained to a grille.

Then he suffered more interrogation as he was severely beaten by security police officers.

He suffered “three brain lesions that resulted in a massive brain hemorrhage on 6 September” He reportedly had his head rammed repeatedly against the wall of his prison cell. 

In spite of this horrendous state, he remained standing and shackled to a wall. Biko was examined by a doctor, Ivor Lang, who claimed Biko was pretending. “Shamming”, is the exact word he used. 

Biko died soon after. 

Today, Ssegirinya is an Update (excuse the pun) on Steve Biko as he is accused of lying about his health yet he lingers towards the edge of the precipice. He might die and then the state, as was the case with Biko, will blame him for his own death!

If you think I am exaggerating, ask yourself what defense the Junta will have if Ssegirinya’s condition gets worse or leads to his demise. 

As usual, we shall be on hand with an emphatic “I told You so.” 

Send any news tips to columnist Matogo via mugashop74@gmail.com 

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