By Stephen Kasozi Muwambi
KAMPALA, Uganda: There has been a wave of tortures lately. Members of security organs have been roundly faulted for turning themselves into bullies of the citizenry whom they are by law supposed to protect from what they instead visit on them.
One such ghastly act occurred of late when a group of CMI agents callously gun butted one Yusuf Kawooya leaving him puffing for oxygen. So daring these guys were that they carried out their thing in the middle of a city road close to a House of Worship and in full view of all and sundry.
People made noise. Religious leaders asked to know what was going on and what the regime was doing to stop the growing wave of torture. The security acknowledged this to have been an eyesore. But, like they have always done in such situations, security first engaged in cover-ups games.
It was only until the public pressure had become unbearable that security owned up. What followed a mock trial (pun intended) where the bullies were simply charged with simple charges of tarnishing the name of the military as opposed to serious charges of torture. Why? I would hazard a guess. Those CMI gentlemen had been deployed by their superiors to carry out the mission. And I will add for purposes of emphasis, to act the way they acted.
Nonetheless, torture is both criminal and unconstitutional. No need for argument about that. That admitted, we want to argue that both the torturers and the tortured are victims of a regime that thrives on repression. This regime has perfected the art of repression so much so that any form of resistance whether real or imaginary has had to be put out in a repressive manner.
Such is the sad message that has been passed down to members of the security from their superiors. The NRM regime and its leaders must not be resisted at all. To do otherwise would amount to treason or to not being patriotic enough.
Those who have engaged in torture over years in the name of regime preservation have been praised and elevated. Such ‘praiseworthy’ NRM cadres include Gen David Sejusa aka Tinyefunza. Tinye presided over the forgettable roasting of scores of people in the north part of the country. He marched the victims into railway wagons which were then sealed before fire was applied to the wagons leaving many dead.
People talked and talked. The Western fumed. Religious leaders shouted themselves hoarse, so did the human rights defenders of this world. But what did it change? Sejusa remained in government for several years following the carnage. His promotion was fast tracked.
He earned several lofty positions within the military and cabinet as well. It is only when he had turned himself into a kipingamizi by daring to question his bosses and the way they were running the affairs of the country that Sejusa was shown the exit. Even then, he would return to the fold later after seeing light going on to name those who had incited him to act treacherously towards his benefactors in government. Not only was he welcomed back but Sejusa was also put in charge of coordinating the intelligence of this banana republic.
There is a guy in our midst that raided a palace of a king somewhere near the border of Uganda and Congo. During the bloody raid, dozens of people ended up shot dead. The regime did not only promote this gentleman but appointed him the proud commander of one of its arms of military as well, and no one has ever bothered to investigate the wanton killings –at least–to their logical conclusion.
You all remember Gilbert Bwana and how he nearly blinded Dr. Kizza Besigye by spraying pepper directly into the politician’s rolling eyes. Bwana did this in broad day light and within sight of his superiors who had been deployed to stop Besigye from walking to town. The DPP let Bwana be regardless of the noise that followed this torture.
One time in the past, gentlemen styling themselves as members of Black Mamba raided the high court premises and arrested, flogged suspects who had been released on bail. This being the first of such high profile attacks, uproar contaminated the air.
The judiciary through Justice James Munange Ogoola, the principal judge of the time, penned a missive in which they derided what the judges termed unprecedented rape of the Temple of Justice. People from elsewhere quarreled too. But the regime did not only admitted that the attackers were part of it. They never punished anyone for it.
Acts of raiding courts of law have since grown in proportion and sequence that they now look ordinary if not legal. Why not, if the the regime has never arrested any of the invaders or offered apology for it!
Drawing from the above and other examples not given here, it becomes apparently clear that the bullies are doing what they are doing for survival and to show that they are more supportive of the present regime survival than those that they are deployed to crack down. They are also motivated by the fact that those before them who tormented Ugandans deemed enemies of the regime ended up being paid handsomely in terms of cash or good office.
Frankly speaking, if you were to speak to them, they will tell how they are haunted by nightmares arising out of torturing fellow countrymen for no good cause but only continue to do so just because that is how they can manage to pick bills and also to show that they are more caring about NRM’s survival than the rest of us for obvious reasons.
So the next time you meet a bully try to offer him psychological help other than castigating him in order to make him or her aware of the dire implications of his or her follies. I for one had a young brother who worked with KCCA enforcement but I had talked him into leaving much as he was earning well. I did so because I knew his future and that of his children was not safe seeing the harsh way the KCCA enforcement people were going about their business. I rest my case.
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