Hardly a year in the enviable National Assembly Speaker’s seat and before she can warm the same, Anita Annet Among has started talking of people baying for her blood! To express it in simplest terms, the country’s number three, swears there are people out there to assassinate her! “It’s not hearsay,” Among informed on Thursday, a bewildered Parliamentary session.
The session was listening to the harrowing debate in regard to the abduction of former minister and bush war combatant, Hajj Abdul Nadduli’s son, Jakana Nadduli. Jakana is understood to have been kidnapped from somewhere in Makindye. He was thereafter, supposedly bundled into the much-dreaded Drone vehicle. And then, reportedly, whisked off to where no one seems to have a clue about at the moment. The young man known to be defiantly subscribing to the Opposition’s National Unity Platform, had just been discharged from hospital only to be greeted by his current cruel ordeal.
The father, Hajj Abdul Nadduli holds the President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his Internal Affairs minister, Gen Severino Kahinda Otafiire, responsible for the fate of his son. The country’s Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja Musafiri was part of the audience at hand to listen into the threats on Among’s dear life and the recurring revolting kidnaps being blamed on the country’s official security services’ rogue characters.
Get them Asap
The concerned Madam Speaker, accordingly, tasked the Leader of Government Business in the august House, to investigate the bad guys out to squeeze life out of her, plus those kidnapping Ugandans, notably, members of the country’s Opposition side. But how come?
The claim by Among, not only raise eyebrows, but is also intruiging. For one, the recepient of the suspected death threats is a ruling NRM Party National Assembly Speaker. By virtue of her office, Among happens to be one of the most very powerful persons in the country.
Among heads one of the three vitally crucial arms making up the government. What the above would ideally imply is that she is being guarded by the best of the best of security that there is in the country. Consequently, a question would arise as to who exactly would wish to dare mess up with the life of such a well guarded government official as Among is!Certainly, I presume, not the government in power. I hold this view since being the ruling Party Speaker, Among is presumably inclined to serve more the interests and aspirations of the party in government, of which she is a supporter, herself being an NRM supporter.
That supposing is agreeable, one would then assume, other factors remaining constant, the sitting government would be the last one to again think of assassinating it’s own National Speaker. For what, by the heinous action of assassinating it’s own Speaker, would the government be intending to achieve? We all saw and witnessed the Chairman of the ruling Party, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni himself, going out of his way to sort of ring-fence the position of the Speaker for Among. Not only that. The President thereafter, would leave just about everything. He would then literally sit all through the process of the election of the Speaker at Kololo Airfield.
He was doing all these, it would seem, in order to literally guide the process leading to Among’s victory. Bearing that in mind, why would the government led by the President, who had struggled to put Among in power, be the same again to now think of assassinating her? It just kind of, to yours humbly, doesn’t make sense. Yet, I seem to tend to forget at the same time, about what have come to be labeled as mafias in the corridors of power. Those Mafias said to be littering the high echelons of power, are understood not to wish to their own anything good nor progress.
Aware that jealousy is a fact of life, for that reason, I will leave it at that. The country’s number two, Prof Gilbert Baalibaseka Bukenya, as he was then, was the first person to let us in regarding the existence of these class of leaders. Till up to that revelation by Bukenya, the existence of the Mafias had remained largely a figment of Radio Katwe’s (today’s social media) fertile imagination. Bukenya’s such assertions would be met by heavy objections of a criminal playing to the gallery for sympathy. The former controversial Veep was at the material time under probe by the Inspectorate of Government over amassing suspicious wealth. Subsequently, it is simply easy to figure out why it was excusable for anyone to react to what Bukenys was talking about with a pinch of salt.
Bukenya would resurrect such talk following the demise of his son in a car accident along Kampala, Mityana highway.An inconsolably sobbing Bukenya insisted how his son had been killed by mafias jealousy of him following his graduation from a military academy in the US.
He has never, up to the present time, nevertheless, followed up his claim with solid evidence in proof of it. Much of the country wouldn’t pay much attention to Bukenya’s such foul play narrative at a time when he was later on imprisoned over the CHOGM funds which had gone missing under his gaze. For what were criminals supposed to say? After all, he himself had lived comfortably with the mafias during his time in government. So, how come that he was realizing them to be deadly people now that they had accused him of stealing and fired him?
Thus doubted, Bukenya kept his peace. Much later on, the President’s blue-eyed intelligence minder, Brig. Noble Mayombo would get suddenly afflicted with a suspiciously dangerous ailment. While being put on a presidential jet to Nairobi, the now critically ill Mayombo, is reported to have passed down to his minders a rather strange dying declaration. He asserted, “Nyinyi Wajinga Wamewuwa Mimi!” The same can translate to “These fools have killed me!”. The fools Mayombo was now talking about, and for the interest of our case, cannot be wholly said to be a far-fetched connotation from the mafias Bukenya had first talked about.
Suggestions would later emerge accusingly pointing fingers at some powerful people as the ones who had poisoned Mayombo for continuously reporting them to the President for one wrong or the other. Much as the official postmortem report from the Aga Khan hospital would indicate that Mayombo had died owing to multiple organ failure, it remains poison as the most suspected to have caused such.
Current Speaker Among’s predecessor, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, prior to his demise, would also claim to have been poisoned. Despite making such grave allegations, Oulanyah didnt cite anyone out of the people he said had poisoned him,nor did he file a report with the authorities for proper investigation of the same. Following his death, Oulanyah’s dad, Mzee L’okori would now repeat the same claims during the son’s vigil in Amoro. Police summoned him for quizzing. Even so, the bereaved man insisted his son had been poisoned because he had told him prior to his demise. Before the dust raised by Mzee L’okori’s revelation and his summoning by the police could settle down, a ruling party key official, Godfrey Kiwanda reechoed the same over a popular talkshow.
Kiwanda told the mourning nation that Oulanyah had prior to his death, confided in him about how he had been poisoned only that he had asked him to keep the secret a secret. Kiwanda didn’t keep the secret to himself, though. He would rather breach the same by revealing it to the government minister, Dr Chris Baryomunsi. Baryomunsi didn’t confirm, nor deny hearing the secret from Kiwanda, but instead, revealingly blasted the police for summoning an old man mourning the demise of his son. Police would drop the summons following a spirited blasting by the said minister of information and national integrity. For the record, the final official postmortem report regarding the cause of Oulanyah’s death, indicated him to have succumbed to internal organ failure brought on a by a cocktail of diseases, majorly cancer.
Fast forward to the present, Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja Musafiri has herself gone on record to confirm the existence of mafias within government. Nabbanja was dismissing accusations about her, of having mishandled the cash which the government had paid out to sustain vulnerable Ugandans during the lockdown imposed to overcome the spread of Corona Virus. She, like Prof Bukenya before her, blamed the story pinning her over the missing funds to mafias jealousy of her elevation to the big Prime Minister office. She wouldn’t, just as Bukenya before her, point at any one of the mafias she was blaming for whipping up the assertions.
She merely cited the invisible mafia’s hand as the cause of the woes. And so, everyone else laughed off the grave matter of the mishandled public funds just like that. Enters Kamya, Anite: The others who have talked about mafias are the Inspectorate of Government, Betty Olive Namisango Kamya Turomwe and Investments minister, Evelyn Anite. The two, just like Bukenya and Nabbanja, didn’t care to follow up their empty words with any kind of proof. And Ugandans, as usual, let the matter lie!
Going back into the times, former Speaker James Wapakhabulo spent much of his last days on Earth, in his house in Bugoloobi whilst recieving treatment. During his sickness and following his demise, no one came up to suggest or insinuate that his ailment and death, had been a result of foul play, nor anything of that sort. Even so, a narration would emerge later after his demise, whether true or not, citing foul play in the course of his eventual death.
The peddlers of such narrative were claiming how the deceased Speaker had been deliberately left to die there in his house since he had been uncompromising as a Parliament Speaker. Nor did the government state just anything official let alone the family, about what had claimed Wapakhabulo’s life. The information gap would end up inevitably being filled up to the brim, with all sorts of things in regard to what everyone else would conjure up as to explain what had killed one of Uganda’s legendary proper and fit Speaker.
Similarly, such sorts of insinuations would arise in the wake of another Speaker in Francis Ayume’s demise. We are all privy to the fact of Ayume having perished in a highway car accident. The same occured in May 2004. Be that as it may, still some insinuation would be led to attribute Ayume’s demise to an act of foul play. Much as accidents are occurrences of chance, peddlers of the insinuation asserted the accident had been predetermined to avenge against the deceased for having been an impartial Speaker. People!
The Speakership is, without argument, a sizzlingly very hot seat given that the holder many times steps on the toes of big cats within and without the government. The holder of the seat does this by taking decisions such as those questioning human rights abuses. Such abuses would include, but not limited to, wanton arrests, detentions without trial and open assassinations. The other concerns that would draw a wedge between the Speaker and the fat cats, as he or she goes about his or her watchdog role, are mega corruption dealings, mega theft of public funds and the illegal awarding of public tenders.
But not to forget patriotic decisions taken by the Speaker such as poking his or her nose into matters to do with rogue foreign investors which would inevitably end up hurting foreign vested interests. This is why some people offended by decisions the Speaker would end up taking from time to time, might be tempted to issue the threats of extracting revenge against the holder of the office.
From my experience, on occassions when the President has happened to be offended by the Speaker’s decisions, he has articulated his misgivings clearly, and publicly so. On other occassions, the President has summoned the holder of the office and talked over his misgivings with him or her in strict privacy. But, also being a rebel, the President has on other occassions lost his cool to the extent of declaring Parliament a rather useless thing and as well as being surbodinate to the army.
Even so, the President has not, and, I think he is not about to ban Parliament altogether, knowing the dire repercussions which come with doing such a politically awful act for himself as a leader, as well as his government. When he has found any Speaker uncooperative, the President has bought his time and waited for the end of their term, and then, schemed politically to have him or her voted out of office. In short, I honestly think, the President has no any motivation to harm the Speaker currently. I will explain…
The President can for one, talk to any holder of the office to sale his view. I don’t want to think anyone can doubt Museveni’s persuasive gift when it comes to such kind of political negotiations. He can use the political means available to him, to have the Speaker ejected out at the next election. He can further and finally, exploit his sheer numerical advantage within the Parliament itself currently, to get whatever he desires. This is, though, not to suggest that rogue characters within the executive or the security services, the business community and even within the political class cannot themselves be tempted to threaten the Speaker, in case they have found his or her decisions unpalatable to the interests and aspirations which they espouse.
Yet, it won’t even be far-fetched to argue that some populist or weak politicians who, by luck or politics of the day, end up holding the office of the Speaker, can easily end up making weird statements of being targeted for assassination in order to play to the gallery for sympathy or support but also to try to cover their inherent weaknesses as leaders. Do Speakers receive threats? Yes, by virtue of their office, the same being a public watchdog. Being a watchdog office, it simply means the holder of the office is going to remain a target of threats from many circles being targeted by accident of his or her work.
The threats can be summed up as the professional hazards of the job of the Speaker, just as threats and beatings to the journalists are professional hazards to them. Fortunately, in our case, such threats have remained as such. No one has been, thank God, physically harmed or killed. The best thing to do is not to worry about mere threats or exaggerate them as to give a sense of importance to the ones issuing them. On a serious note, to worry excessively about such threats, is to cause the recepients of the same illnesses such as depression, cardiac arrest and high blood pressure which are far much more dangerous than even the threats themselves. People are going to threaten us whether we like it or not, or even when we keep holding plenaries to express our sadness, any way.
Let us not dignify issuers of threats by bowing to their mind games, instead of concentrating on our cardinal duties to which we have appointed to diligently serve humanity. Let me tell you as we wind up, if we engage in whining and sulking about this and that threat, no matter the veracity of it, we are going to end up wasting much of our five year term just whining and sulking about this and that threat with nothing done to stop the suffering of the multitudes of our own people. Moral of the story, report threats to the police and get on with your work immediately thereafter. Alright. May we learn to choose to worry less for the huge benefit of remaining in good spirits. Have a blessed weekahead.
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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