Attorney General Shots Back at Army Maj. Kulaigye
Buganda's Attorney General, Apollo Makubuya, has denied accusations made
by the Uganda Army spokesman, Major Fred Kulaigye that the Buganda
Government attempted to stop President Yoweri Museveni from visiting
Kasubi Royal Tombs soon after the heritage site had succumbed to a
devastating fire last Tuesday.
Reacting to comments made by Maj Kulaigye to this writer, Mr Makubuya
said: “Mr Kulaigye is not right at all to make such [an] accusation
against me because even the Katikkiro [Buganda's Prime Minister] had
already advised the President not to come at that moment,” Mr Makubuya
explained, adding: “The time and way he [Museveni] came in was not right;
it resulted into the killing [of innocent] people.”
According to Mr Makubuya, there were some exhaustive discussions within
the Buganda Government establishment about Gen Museveni's visit to the
wrecked UNESCO-endorsed World Heritage Site. As President Museveni's
motorcade approached the site, angry Buganda Kingdom loyalists, wailing and
shouting in anger, tried to stop the his motorcade by throwing stones at its
advance cars and erecting human roadblocks. Museveni's Presidential Guard
Brigade (PGB) that accompanies him everywhere opened fire with live
ammunition resulting in the death of three unarmed civilians. Four others
were severely injured.
Mr Makubuya further explained: “I was there in person; I had studied the
situation and the mood of people. I also had some discussions with Sakira
(Moses Sakira, Uganda's deputy director of CID) and he communicated to
them [our advice] but they refused. Mr Kulaigye's accusations against me
are not right. He should have consulted me before making such [a] comment.
The reasons why they insisted to get there are [only] known to
He explained that the Buganda Government had realised that emotions were
riding high and that it would not have been a good time for the President
to visit so soon after the tragedy. “This was not time for joy; it was
[time for] mourning and people were not in a good mood. That is exactly
what I told Sakira and several journalists who approached me for a
comment,” he said.
Maj Kulaigye had earlier told this writer that it was a bad idea for
Buganda loyalists to try and stop Gen Museveni from accessing the scene.
He praised the armed forces for their 'professionalism' by killing 'only
three people'. “Thank God they were professional otherwise many people
would have lost their lives,” Kulaigye said.
Separately, Buganda deputy minister of information, Medard Lubega Sseggona, whilst appearing on London-based Ngoma radio, he supports the idea that the central government pay up rent arrears totalling to about Shs 20bn [approximately £ 6.3 million] it owe to Buganda, to enable the kingdom to reconstruct the tombs. Mr Sseggona was reacting to the government's declaration to investigate the cause of the fires and to help Buganda towards the tombs' reconstruction process.
Ugandans who called on the programme wondered if there is going to be a conclusive investigation to find the cause of the fires. They based their reason on the previous investigations that have yielded nothing in the past. Museveni's government has been so enthusiastic to declare an investigation whenever such strange incident happens.
However, previous history shows no such investigation has ever yielded any conclusive evidence on what had actually happened. For example, when the former Energy Minister, Dr Andrew Lutakome Kayiira, was assassinated in March 1987, at a friend's house, President Museveni's government brought in the specialised Scotland Yard police from London to investigate. To this day, their findings have never been made public.
Last year, when contacted the Scotland Yard to avail this reporter with an authenticated copy in the murder of Dr Kayiira, the Information Manager, Specialist Crime Directorate, James Young said that the content could dent the relationship between the British and Uganda government.
In a communiqué to this writer Young said: “Having located and considered
the relevant information, I am afraid that I am not required by statute to
release the information requested.” He also explained that, he would not
release the report because its contents could prejudice the relationship
between the UK and the Government of Uganda. Last year's refusal was the
first official indication from the Scotland Yard that it is unwilling to let Ugandans know what is really contained in its report about the assassination of Dr Kayiira. British spy the Yard, had never maded any comment about its findings, and although, the Uganda government and some DP officials published what each called the true report in the murder of Dr Kayiira.
This possibly point to the facts of the outcome of the previous investigations under President Museveni.
When the Permanent Secretary of Defence Ministry and the then close aide
to the president, Brig. Noble Mayombo suddenly died, in an oddly circumstance, an investigation was ordered and to this day, no one knows what such an enquiry has come up with. Other investigation that have never seen the
space in the public include: that of a prominent Lawyer Robinah Kiying,
Maj. Gen James Kazini, and Brian Bukenya [son to Uganda's Vice President],
Ugandan political observers have wondered why the Ugandan leader thought
it fit to visit a scene where there was no doubt that emotions among the
Baganda were seriously rising. Last year, Gen Museveni ordered the Uganda
police to 'shoot to kill' Buganda loyalists demonstrating against
Museveni's orders for the Kabaka not to visit Bugerere, a part of his
kingdom. 45 people were killed as a result. Maj Kulaigye may have chosen
not to remember this incident but one would ask whether, given his
comments this week, the shooting of 45 unarmed civilians last year could
be termed as being profoundly 'unprofessional'.
Putting that incident aside, it is now becoming a common phenomenon for
the Ugandan leader to appear in public 'heavily armed'. During mud
landslides in Buduuda Eastern Uganda last month, Mr Museveni went to visit
the area and was photographed bearing an AK-47 rifle across his chest and
clothed in full army fatigues. At Kasubi this week, none other than the
President's own son who happens to be the commander of the PGB, Lt Col
Kainerugaba accompanied his father armed with, yes; you guessed right, an
AK-47 rifle and a pistol hanging, cowboy-style, over his long legs. Does
any reader remember one Uday Hussein formerly of Iraq?