Dr Vincent Magombe, secretary of the Gen David Sejusa-founded Free Uganda (FU), has said the spiral of city murders, the police beatings of peaceful demonstrators and journalists underscores the collapse of the rule of law and order in Uganda.
FU was formed by Gen Sejusa last year while in exile in the UK. In his second dossier since the general returned to Uganda last December, which Magombe sent to The Observer on January 15, he says the disappearance of Muslims “without a trace” is also another pointer to a collapsing regime.
“The increasing brutality by the state against perceived anti-regime critics and opponents show why Uganda needs to change the government…” Magombe said in his 1,146-word document.
It comes in the wake of the fatal shooting of Muslim clerics, Dr Daktoor Abdul-Quadir Muwaya and Mustafa Bayiga. They were gunned down in December by unknown people in Mayuge and Bwebajja respectively. More than a dozen people have been arrested in connection with the murders.
Interviewed on January 21, security minister Muruli Mukasa said the arrests of mainly Muslim suspects had nothing to do with religion.
“Government has no intention of harassing Muslims or seeing people of this faith murdered as some people allege. The initial investigations so far link some of the suspects to ADF [Allied Democratic Forces] and investigations are on-going. Let us for the time being leave the investigations to police and later courts of law will find out the truth,” he said.
Police chief Gen Kale Kayihura also said the suspects are linked to ADF led by Sheikh Jamil Mukulu. But Magombe charges that police are pointing fingers at the “remote and near-invisible” ADF to explain their failure to stop the wanton killings. He advised the police to stop making conclusive statements without proper evidence.
“One wonders – how do they immediately come to these conclusions? Why are the security service leaders not bothered to allow due investigations to determine the potential cause of the crime, after which justice can then be brought to bear through the established legal and criminal justice systems? This, no doubt, is the core principle that defines the professionalism of investigative services the world over,” Magombe states.
He adds that the failure of the rule of law has been aggravated by the reality of the country going for two years without a chief justice and his deputy.
“We see, instead, a more-than-keen President Museveni hungering to break the constitution in order to reappoint the former Chief Justice, Benjamin Odoki, against all manner of protestation by the Uganda Law Society and other players,” says Magombe.
He accuses Museveni of dishing taxpayers’ money to the security services with the aim of restraining the opposition from pointing out the bad governance and corruption.
“The country is thus served to the daily drama of senior police commanders running around with batons and electric cords, furiously hitting at innocent journalists who are merely exercising their professional duties. And what duties are those? Recording and broadcasting news about a peaceful youth protest for employment,” writes Magombe, who doubles as FU spokesman.
Gen Sejusa couldn’t be reached for a comment.