The attack and assassination of former junior Gender and Labour Minister, Col Charles Engola on Tuesday, raises a number of questions and theories. Stephen Lwetutte gives his take.
1. How Long has Engola been with Wilson Sabiiti, is the claim for non payment valid?
Bodyguards are often rotated around due to discipline issues or poor relationship with Principals, among other things including call for fresh training. Non payment of wages in Uganda for prolonged periods of time is so ubiquitous it has come almost to be accepted as a norm. If the allegation of non-payment of wages is true, this situation will, therefore, not have been new to the suspected assassin, yet he had previously not reacted in the way he is alleged to have done on this occasion. My take is that there was definitively more to the situation than just wage arrears and meets the eye, although snapping can also not be ruled out if the weight of a set of personal circumstances come together to overwhelm the bodyguard.
Wilson Sabiiti had stayed with Engola for barely a month. Body guards are mainly servants of the government and are paid by it.
2.What about the arrogance claims by the Minister towards the guard?
Again the issue of arrogance of everyone who is anyone in the country is a quintessential ugandan character trait, and should not have tipped the bodyguard over – l can confidently dismiss that as the likely reason in and of itself, and his claim cannot be verified. Eye witnesses are saying that after killing his principal, the guard went away shooting in the air shouting non-payment of wages that negatively affected maintenance of his family.
3. Why would not the rest of the body guards be able to deter the soldier on a rampage?
It is rather surprising that an armed officer was able to catch colleagues, of whom l understand there was more than one other, and the Principal who himself being a retired senior army officer, off guard to wreack such mayhem at a time when they were all expected to be the alert ready for duty. If it is not negligence, then other sinister motives could plausibly be at play here.
4. All summed up, did Minister Engola have security in reality?
The fact that he was protected until then, would suggest he did. However, considering that he was so easily finished off means he had been vulnerable! The fact that the Minister was killed and others injured by a lone gunman speaks to the helplessness they all found themselves in, whether this was as a result of incompetence or negligence or both, or by design is something the investigations should be able to establish.
5. Was it a mission? With other guards available, could Sabiiti have had all that time shooting away in the air to his final destination, the salon where he ended his life without other guards intercepting him?
Investigations are underway way, although we do not know the integrity and competence of the investigators, or whether the outcome and any recommendations would lead to change and avert any future similar incidents.
The theory that his colleagues they had been incapacitated would sound plausible in the circumstances, but would not in anyway explain the failure by other outside security agencies to be able to restrain or neutralise the gunman before he did it himself – it is just by sheer luck that there weren’t more victims;
6. Why did Sabiiti chose a salon and not any other place?
He had apparently been known to go to that saloon, but it is also claimed that Mrs Engola’s morning routine, who had earlier been seen exiting the gate, involved going to that salon. Whether Sabiiti was seeking her out to ensure husband and wife are finished before he ends his own life, or whether he just wanted to do it in a dignified secluded place, is something also the investigation team should pronounce themselves on.
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