By Mike Ssegawa
The killing of Arua Municipality Ibrahim Abiriga in cold blood alongside his younger brother, who was doubling as his bodyguard, is the message no Ugandan wanted to receive. It reached home, anyway.
Nothing prepared anyone for such a gruesome murder.
However, such killings have been common place across Uganda, only that they become more pronounced when high profile people such as Ibrahim Abiriga, AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, Sheikhs, Major Kiggundu, Magara etc are in the ones in the spotlight. However, Ugandan soil has been soaked into too much murder blood?
Where I live in Mukono, I have witnessed several people killed by iron bar hit men especially boda boda riders who are killed “senselessly” by hummer wielding thieves. Not even police chiefs give them a mention!
But well, why even speak about it when even high profile cases such as Kaweesi, Kiggundu, the sheikhs et al, the justice system has not produced conclusive suspects to court and are successfully convicted to the public satisfaction.
Whereas the Abirigas receive high publicity, and their death called “senseless”, there is a lot of “senseless” investigations in this country that must be checked. When criminals know they cannot be apprehended, they will continue hunting down their targets one by one, and before we know it, this country will be characterized among banana republics.
The killing beast has come of age. We should by now, be quietly setting up systems to prevent future occurrences, while, also hunting down the criminals who have visited pain and sorrow on Ugandans in the past couple of years.
However, what we saw with Abiriga’s death, there is likelihood of the repeat of the past. We shall certainly forget about Abiriga, after the moving statements are said at his funeral. His little children and widow, will descend in poverty, one by one, with no one remembering to take them a kilogram of posho. It is the nature of society.
Abiriga’s killers might once again slip through our fingers, never to be found. Agains, innocent people might end up in the coolers, where they will suffer torture. Still nothing new.
What makes me think so?
1. A tempered with scene of crime
We don’t learn. Or, we are a primitive society. How would a village with local leaders descend on the scene of crime, where such a murder has been carried out? Yes, humans are curious. However, local leaders such as LCs, have a duty to condone off the crime scenes whether they are petty thefts or gruesome murders, and call the police promptly.
2. Giving away of key information
Unfortunately, even the police are in slumber. The president rightly condemned them for failure even to close off exit roads once alarm was made. But still, even after arriving on the scene, it was surprising the police would confirm to televisions that a suspected phone exhibit had been found on the scene, a tip which gives criminals clues to close their gaps. Police communicators need to know what to tell the public immediately and what not to say.
3. Political conclusions by high profile people
So much has been said since Abiriga’s death. So much was said after Kaweesi, Kiggundu, Sheikhs or Magara deaths. May be politicians talk too much!!! However, I have heard statements alluding to political motives in Abigira’s death! Who said so? Who can qualify this? I think politicians need to give security personnel enough time to investigative these crimes, without biasing them.
4. The West Nile mob
What took place on Sunday evening in Arua was despicable. Many people were pained by the death of Abiriga. There was no reason his body was be desecrated the way the mob did on arrival of the mob. There was also beating of journalists and people seen as southerners. This conduct should be condemned. It was primitive. The state possibly wanted to give Abiriga a dignified send off. That is why he was placed in a casket. That is why his burial was delayed. Now, that West Nile populace have already done their public trial and concluded who has killed their leader. Whatever else the security brings out, contrary to their beliefs, is wastage of time.
5. Divided nation
We are living in interesting times. Uganda was once divided along tribal and religious lines. The fault lines were healing. However, increasingly the past is repeating itself.
6. Fear of Kawanda locals to provide evidence
On the day of Abiriga’s assassination, there were many people volunteering information. Unfortunately, there is lack of trust in the security apparatus that people who would be helpful in giving information, most times loathe the police. The police has failed to connect with the public and their stations are seen as extortion or torture chambers – or places no one can get any help. Ask anyone who has been to the police station for any kind of help.
7. The history of such cases
So who was behind the market and schools fires, killing of sheikhs, Norbert Mayombo, Magara, Kiggundu, Kaweesi? Who burnt Kasubi tombs? It is the same question that has not been answered for too long. So, who killed Abiriga? Hope we wait not for too long this time round, for the answer.