Ugandan opposition supporters living both inside and outside the country continue to live in terrific fear as the government led by Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is determined to wipe out a big number of them by all means possible.
During the recently concluded election period, there were various reports of Ugandans who went missing and some would be recovered months after public outcry and others would be found dead while others are still missing up to now.
Several people have been arrested and tortured since the November protests triggered by the arrest of the National Unity Platform presidential candidate, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
After the November 18 and 19, 2020 protests in Kampala and other major towns where more than 50 people were shot dead, the security agencies intensified their efforts to suppress supporters of Bobi Wine, and those of the four-time presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye whom the government suspects is planning an insurrection after he announced that he had quit active politics and will instead resort to Plan B to topple Museveni’s government.
The government through its intelligence services both internally and externally identifies and tracks down the renowned critics and they are either killed in any way possible or kidnapped and tortured.
The Parliament of Uganda in February 2021 tasked the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Jeje Odong, to explain to the country why various citizens have gone missing and others continue to die mysteriously.
Hon Ssemujju Nganda: “What is the use of these cameras we installed? Shafik was kidnapped in broad day and put in a ‘drone” vehicle. I am told some of these people have been killed and that is why you cannot trace them.”
Hon Elijah Okupa: “The President admitted that the boxer, Zebra was killed by security agents. The widow is wondering why these people have not been arrested and charged in courts of law.”
Eyewitnesses say that the abductors sometimes come dressed in plain clothes, military, counter-terrorism, or joint anti-terrorism task force –JATT uniforms. The abductors grab their victims on their homes, streets, markets, garages, or their homes.
Gen Jeje Odongo responded: “So far we have 44 cases of alleged kidnap. Seven were arrested, charged, and are on bail. Four were arrested, 11 resurfaced after three days, and one Fred Kiwanuka who was allegedly abandoned in Busunju. 31 people are yet to be traced as investigations continue.”
Away from the kidnaps and killings by gun, Ugandan security has resorted to killing government critics by poisoning.
According to a statement by the Uganda whistleblowers association led by Mr Musa Majoba, there’s increasing use of poison by Museveni’s government to eliminate political rivals.
“The team after following closely the events of Ugandan politicians dying suddenly and abruptly both in Uganda and the diaspora, have decided to stand with Uganda at her time of trial, and have hired an international network of private investigators into the poison scare that has gripped Ugandans both in the diaspora and at home,” the statement reads in part.
“We have officially started collecting evidence from the public, of suspected politically motivated poison assassinations which we are to submit to the private international investigators. So they can trace the real people behind these assassinations, who are to be brought to justice and answer for their crimes,” the statement further reads.
The statement follows reports by many Ugandans that they are living under total fear as they are being targeted by the government’s security organs.
One Kabuye who lives in Boston USA posted on his Facebook wall a photo of his chest which looked like it was burning alleging that it started happening after he sat in the vehicle of one of the government officials who had been sent to trail him in US.
He captioned the photo: “Museveni is a devil, Ugandans see my chest after leaving Muvawala’s car, that bloodsucker. Palms 23.” Muvawala is an official in one of the local kingdoms. Kabuye died a few days later.
The current situation traces way back to 2017 when various Ugandans living in California went into hiding following a wave of government persecutions characterized by killing by poisoning. It’s believed that about four Ugandan government critics got killed this way in Los Angeles alone.
This reporter contacted Mr Arthur Turyijuka, a Ugandan who once lived in California, who narrated the whole ordeal.
“I will never forget those dark days. Every Ugandan there was living in total fear of being kidnapped and killed. We were so scared of our lives to the extent that we even started fearing fellow Ugandans. We could no longer disclose our home addresses and we even started using pseudo names to avoid being tracked down. Some of our colleagues didn’t survive. I was lucky to relocate before I was found. I was definitely on the hit list as I was the coordinator for the diaspora in USA to take Gen Museveni to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of abuse of human rights and wanton atrocities,” he revealed.
When asked what he thinks triggered the government of President Museveni to hunt them down, Mr Turyijuka explained: “Some of us left the country after realizing our lives were in danger. I personally have been a government critic as I have been involved in various protests against Museveni’s bad governance. So even when we are not in the country, they still believe we are supporting our fellow activists inside the country. Believe me, Museveni can do whatever it takes to maintain power.”
Various people both in his government and outside who seem to be opposing Mr Museveni’s rule have been suppressed and many killed.