One of the reasons for sending someone to prison is to curtail his freedom to enjoy social responsibilities that come with living in freedom. In most cultures more especially in African societies it is a taboo for someone who is not in prison to miss the burial of a parent, spouse or child. In Uganda under Yoweri Museveni it is becoming a norm.
In the early 90s Col. Julius Chihandae one of the original 27 individuals who started the bush war that brought Museveni to power had been placed under preventive detention when his son passed away. For fear that he would escape and flee to join Col. Kashilingi in the Congo, he was stopped from attending the burial of his son.
Around 2003 whem Mzee Manenero’s son Patrick Manenero was murdered by CMI’s Captain Herbert Makanga in a safe house interrogation room next to his (Manenero Snr), he was not even allowed to view the body leave alone attending the burial. The then CMI Brig. Noble Mayombo sent the body with the condolence message through the RDC Kabale to the family. Though Mzee Manenero was later released without charge, you can imagine the pain he lives with. A few years later Mayombo met Patrick Manenero in heaven and apologized arguing that he was acting on Museveni’s orders.
Captain(Rtd) Amon Byarugaba who is rotting in Makindye Barracks underground cells without trial since 2003 lost his father around 2005 but could not attend his burial though he is not in prison but in illegal detention. A few years later on when his father met Mayombo in heaven the later pleaded superior orders from Museveni. However being A LAWYER, Mayombo outsmarted the old man by arguing that he is no longer responsible for his continued detention without trial.
In July 2013 exiled Col. Samson Mande lost his adopted father Mzee Nsheka of Kebison Rukungiri. Given the circumstances under which he left Uganda he could not attend his burial. He only managed to say a few words via telephone link to mourners. At least he also managed to send out messages via social media inviting people to his residence in Sweden for a vigil. By giving out his telephone number and residential address despite being a fugitive, clearly shows the level of despair he was undergoing. Mzee Sheka was a bush war hero without a medal for the distinguished role he played in recruiting for Museveni’s bush war.
Exiled former Coordinator of Intelligence Services Ge. Ssejusa lost his brother but could not attend his burial. He again lost his father in-law but he could not attend the burial. Last week he lost his father but could not attend the burial. Gen. Ssejusa send awritten message in which he argued that he couldnt attend the burial of his father in order not to let the burial ceremony turn into a battle field. Some leading opposition personalities led by Col (Rtd) Kiiza Besigye attended the burial ceremony. During the FUNERAL SERVICE in Kampala Gen. Tumwine attended in his private capacity as a friend of Gen. Ssejusa being one of the three bush war Generals but more so their common linkage to the Ankole royal family. Also in attendance was Maj. Gen Fred Mugisha who is astranger to Gen Ssejusa and his family. Fred Mugisha was a Lt in 1995 before Gen Aronda speeding up his promotion and appointments to sensitive position on sectarian considerations. Currently he is the head of the counter terrorism centre in whose docket exiled Gen. Ssejusa’s political activities falls.
As the deceased Mzee Simon Bwajojo (RIP) was bed ridden in hospital, Museveni’s security apparatus stepped up its electronic surveillance of the deceased’s telephone communication in the hope of picking up clews of what a son confides into a dad who is on death bed. There was also fear that Gen. Ssejusa could sneak into the country to have a last have a last glance at his ailing father. The surveillance team was also tasked with keeping a diary of all visitors to the deceased’s hospital room with view of identifying who is sympathetic to the exiled General.
Mzee Bwajojo (RIP) bore the brunt of harassment from Museveni’s security machinery. In the mid 90s when Gen Ssejusa attempted to retire from the army his father featured in intelligence collections that were being coordinated by Gen. Aronda. Funny enough there was nothing significant other than the old man of God allegedly making comments to the effect that his son (Gen. Ssejusa)would one time rule Uganda. consequently, “Robbers attacked his home and beat him up. Of course under Museveni a mere expression of a wish to rule Uganda is treasonous thus Mzee Bwajojo was indeed subversive.
During the FUNERAL SERVICE, the army is reported to have made a contribution of five million shillings. From which vote of the Defence budget was such amount of money got! Could it have been a balance from the operation fund that had been set aside for the surveillance on the then bed ridden old man or from the usual source of classified expenditure! Anyway whatever the source, its only Museveni who would sanction its release. Initially the government had intended to take over the burial arrangements and expenses in order to discredit Gen. Ssejusa’s asylum status in the U.K but it backed off at the last minute. Several serving army officers, government, and religious officials would have wished to attend the burial of the old man but they had to back off for fear of being branded subversive (Kipingamizi).
Gen. Ssejusa being number one on Museveni’s list of most wanted fugitives could not even publicly arrange a vigil in the UK. You can imagine the psychological torture he has had to endure. Since he fled to exile some sections of Ugandans have argued that the General is on a Museveni sent mission to neutralise the opposition. If that is true then Gen Ssejusa the LAWYER is either very patriotic or he is too much of a Museveni sycophant more than even Brig. Kasirye Gwanga. Whatever the case, such developments should be used to define those who are in exile for political reasons and those who are in exile for economic reasons as opposed to generalisation of ‘Ugandans in the Diaspora’.
To those who have missed burying their dear ones because of the fear of Museveni’s political terrorism and those who are yet to face the same nasty situation, take heart God is testing your faith and commitment.
INFORMATION IS POWER
POSTED BY ROBUKUI