By Stephen Lwetutte
If nurse Nakyambadde had reportedly managed to ward off lustful criminal Kiddawalime through a combination of delaying tactics, how much more are the security services capable of handling such criminals as the trigger-happy would be assassins who targeted General Katumba Wamala on 1st June 2021? President Museveni seemed rhetorically to ask during his address to the Nation dedicated to the situation on COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Suddenly digressing from the main topic of the evening to lash out at the media for suggesting that the security situation had gotten out hand, on account of the bold attack on General Katumba Wamala on the morning of Tuesday 1st June 2021 by would-be assassins, Museveni sought to reassure the country of security services’ capacity and capability to handle any threats to the security and stability. For that purpose, he brought along nurse Nakyambadde to narrate her 2018 ordeal, when a machete-wielding criminal, later on identified as Kiddawalime, in the company of another criminal, broke into her house in Masaka area and demanded money and much more.
Nakyambadde, now in the employ of the elite Special Forces Command (SFC), recounted in minute details how she tamed and delayed the assault on her when the criminals eventually broke in, including cooperating with the criminal in a nude photo session, until assistance arrived, when the tables turned on Kiddawalime. He was later lynched by the angry mob. His accomplice escaped. It was apparently established that the group had been responsible for the robberies and half a dozen murders in Masaka area. Along with this case, the president mentioned a few more cases, including that of prosecutor Joan Kagezi, who was shot dead on the roadside, which were solved and should reassure the public about their security.
The choice of the Kiddawalime case by President Museveni as the most appropriate example to cite in reassuring the country about the state of security after the daring broad day attack on a four-star General was most puzzling, and seems to have raised more questions than it has answered: Kiddawalime was your typical opportunistic, if violent, criminal emboldened by the conspicuous and endemic absence of any sort of security presence in the area, not so in the case of the attack on General Katumba Wamala in the peak rush hour in crowded Kampala, which is awash with guns and all manner of uniformed and plain clothed security personnel. The determined attackers will have been aware that the General is not only armed but also appropriately guarded, yet they were not to be deterred, probably because they were also aware of his level of his protection – one armed body guard and a military driver.
Many people out there will have been left struggling to establish the parallels between the attack on nurse Nakyambadde and General Katumba Wamala: in case of the former, one the culprits was nabbed and lynched to death, in the latter, the culprits appear to have slithered away; in the former case, a young unarmed civilian lady was the target under the cover night darkness, in the latter case, the target was a middle-aged well-guarded senior army General attacked in broad day light; in the former the break-in took place in a provincial location, yet in the latter, the General was attacked in a metropolis.
With dozens of more appropriate examples of cases for President Museveni to choose from, if he really meant to allay the fears of real mafioso criminality taking root and spiralling out of control in the country, he couldn’t have chosen a more irrelevant example. Understandably, he wasn’t going to be citing examples which for years to date have remained unresolved on his watch, yet even the Kiddawalime case did nothing help his case, if only the mob justice administered on suspect, which the President, who as the Fountain of Honour is expected to uphold the law but didn’t condemn, is anything to go by.
To all intent and purposes, Nakyambadde, Kiddawalime, the attempt on General Katumba Wamala’s life encapsulate the current state of security in the country and offer an unequivocal Museveni-era security narrative: that of anarchy and the collapse of constitutional order in the country where none is safe, not ordinary people like Nakyambadde, not suspects like Kiddawalime who should ordinarily be appearing before court, not even four-star Generals like General Katumba Wamala.
As we speak thousands of young Ugandans are either dead, been subjected to torture or in various detention facilities, including illegal one, on politically-motivated charges. The cumulative effect of all these matters have had the effect of creating an atmosphere of terror and fear for just about everyone, including Mr Museveni himself. No amount of denials by him, as he did in his address to the nation on 6th June 2021, can change the facts and reality, and he knows it. Who said that illegally hanging on power is an easy ride? As Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.
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