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All things are possible. Dictator Museveni will be defeated   02/17/2012  

Monday, 12th July 2010
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The Uganda Record 

Panic grips Uganda

government  over Kampala

 bomb blasts

Al-Shabab guerrillas march to cheers of Mogadishu residents, Oct. 30, 2009.
By Timothy Kalyegira
There are reports from sources within Ugandan state security of panic within the Ugandan government two days after the July 11, 2010 bomb blasts that killed dozens of people in the capital Kampala.

Background to the bombing

Sources close to the top layer of the Ugandan military and intelligence establishment say that the bomb blasts in Kampala have taken on a dimension that potentially could spin out of control.

When the bombings were planned, it had not been anticipated that there would be several western casualties, particularly Americans.

Now that Americans were injured and one died, it has brought in the might of the U.S. federal investigative machinery.

Unlike the Ugandan police that claims to investigate major incidents like this only for the reports to disappear, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is going to work to completion. What the FBI will uncover will dismay the Museveni regime.

A top source in the Ugandan army speculates that the bombs were set off in order to justify seeking more money and equipment from the United Sattes.

For example, it had originally been planned that the Ange Noir discotheque near Kampala's Industrial Area would be bombed. Howerver, the idea was dropped, according to leaked intelligence information, because many ministers, army officers and their children frequent this night club.

That was when it was decided to claim that the suicide bomber jacket had been found in a night club in Makindye, a Kampala suburb.

Yesterday, Tuesday July 13, the Uganda police claimed it had arrested four suspects whom it implicated in the bomb attacks. When the media asked who these men might be and their nationalities, the Ugandan police could only be evasive.

Even the usually gullible BBC World Service East Africa correspondent Will Ross found this suspicious. In a report in the BBC world news, Ross said even after he pressed the Inspector-General of Police, Maj. Gen. Edward Kale Kayihura, to give at least basic details of the arrested suspects, Kayihura was evasive.

According to military sources, the Ugandan intelligence hastily got four Somali prisoners of war taken from Mogadishu and being held in Kampala army barracks, and is not using them to claim they could have been part of the so-called Al-Shabab attack on Kampala.

Official statements on the bombings changing

Within a few hours of the July 11 bombings, the first Ugandan government official to suggest this could have been the work of the Somali militants Al-Shabab, was Kale Kayihura. It is he who set the stage for the general pointing of fingers by most of the world media at Al-Shabab.

However, once American casualties were discovered and FBI agents started to come into Uganda from Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa, Kayihura started to change his statement.

He urged Ugandans not to point the finger at anybody, not necessarily at Al-Shabab and that the public should await investigations.

On Tuesday evening, July 13, the Minister of State for International Coperation, Henry Okello Oryem, appeared as a guest on the KFM programme, the Hot Seathosted by Charles Mwanguhya-Mpagi. 

Okello Oryem suggested that it was not categorical that this could have been Al-Shabab and that another group might have set off the bombs. 

Since Al-Shabab had threatened action against Uganda several months ago, said Oryem, another group could have taken advantage of this and attacked Uganda, knowing all fingers would inevitably point at Al-Shabab.

Thus, from being almost definite that it was Al-Shabab, both from Kayihura and the army spokesman, Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, the stage was being set for a gradual shift of accusing finger by the Uganda government from Al-Shabab to some other group.

Kayihura later started to speak with some emphasis about the Uganda rebel group, the ADF, which in the past had been accused of planting bombs in and around Kampala.

Unable to explain how he had suddenly stopped blaming Al-Shabab and now seemed to be blaming the ADF, Kayihura pointed out that the ADF and Al-Shabab have a working relationship.

Since the bomb blasts, the ADF has not issued a single statement and has not claimed any part in the attacks.

Why would the Ugandan authorities start to quietly stress the ADF and no longer emphasise Al-Shabab, even after Al-Shabab had publicly assumed responsibility for the bombings?

The answer to this goes back to who it was that actually planned and carried out the bomb attacks. 

The Ugandan state knows that with the FBI now carrying out their on-site forensic investigations and detectives from Britain's Scotland Yard police division set to fly into Uganda today, Wednesday July 14, the investigations have gone out of Ugandan government control.

As the Uganda Record has insisted from the beginning, the investigations are very likely going to uncover the fact that it was not Al-Shabab that carried out the attacks and very likely bomb splinters and other pieces of evidence will point to the same kind of ammunition used by the Ugandan army.

The quiet retraction of the accusations against Al-Shabab could be a first step in preparing Ugandans and the world for the fact that it was not, after all, Al-Shabab that carried out the attacks.

President Yoweri Museveni and his son at the scenes of crime

In all the post-bombing media coverage by the Ugandan newspapers and television stations, something glared at the public but no commentator was able to notice the significance of this.

When landslides struck the eastern Ugandan district of Bududa earlier this year, President Yoweri Museveni accompanied by his bodyguards went to the area to assess the damage.

Museveni that day wore military uniform and, unusually for a head of state or retired army general, personally carried an AK-47 assault rifle. Most who saw that front page photograph wondered what landslides had to do with the need to wear uniform and carry a gun on the part of Museveni.

If an act of nature such as a landslide had necessitated the president to appear at the scene in military uniform and with a rifle strapped over his shoulder, much more so would it have seemed understandable if he arrived at the scenes of the Al-Shabab bombings in Kampala in full battle fatigues.

However, Museveni on Monday morning appeared at the Ethiopian Village Restaurant and the Kyadondo Rugby Club in a blue suit, with lightly armed bodyguards and an averagely-sized escort vehicle convoy.

Considering that this was said to have been the battle-hardened Al-Shabab and was the biggest bomb attack in Uganda's history, the casual air around Museveni, his calm, unbothered tone as he addressed onlookers, and the lack of extra security,  should have raised some questions in the Ugandan and world media, but they did not.

How come Museveni and his entourage did not seem fearful of another attack at Kabalagala or Lugogo by Al-Shabab, this time possibly targeting him?

All through the morning of Monday July 12, three people were prominent at the scenes of the bombings: President Yoweri Museveni, his son Lt. Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, and police boss Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura.

As was to be expected, the Ugandan television and print media that day and in print the following day played up Museveni's visit. He was photographed touring the two bomb scenes, addressing the public, visiting Mulago Hospital to check on the injured.

The imagery was of a head of state showing concern, being in charge, reassuring the public, being resolute and defiant toward Al-Shabab.

His son and political heir-apparent, Kainerugaba, the commanding officer of the army's Special Forces, was also portrayed as being at the scene, looking tough and in charge, every inch a professional soldier, just like his father.

Once again, the Ugandan and international public did not notice this. Here had just occurred a major national and international tragedy, involving scores of Ugandans and the nationals of Ireland, Eritrea, Ethiopia and the United States. 

If it was a terror attack by Al-Shabab, the implications were global. The response would have been a total Ugandan government show of force.

And yet, there was something amiss. The Vice President, Gilbert Bukenya, was absent. The Prime Minister, Apolo Nsibambi, was not there.

The Minister of Defence, Crispus Kiyonga, the Minister of Security, Amama Mbabazi, the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakirima, the Commander of the army's Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, the Coordinator of the intelligence services, Gen. David Tinyefuza, the Director-General of the Internal Security Organisation, Dr. Amos Mukumbi, the Director-General of the External Security Organisation, Robert Masolo, the Chief of Military Intelligence, Brig. James Mugira, and many other cabinet and top military and security officials were not at the scenes of crime accompanying President Museveni.

The Kampala newspapers portrayed it as father and son shouldering the responsibility of assessing the damage and looking like men in charge.

When the president visited Mulago Hospital, the Minister of Health, Dr. Stephen Malinga did not feature. It was Museveni alone, promising the victims in hospital that he, not the Ugandan government, would compensate them.

All this begs the question: who planned these bomb attacks? Who stood to gain politically? Who was it that received maximum Ugandan media coverage as apparing in charge and displaying leader-like qualities?

Why was it done in such a way that the entire Ugandan government at such a critical hour of national danger was portrayed as absent and only Museveni and his son on duty, looking or talking tough?

Why was a Lt. Col. in the army portrayed by the Ugandan media as taking charge of the situation and questions not asked where his superiors in rank and office in the army were?

Why did Museveni not publicly ask his ministers to join him to show a common government response? Why has Museveni since Monday not complained or criticised his cabinet ministers and top security officials over not appearing at the bomb scenes?

Why did Museveni seem satisfied that only he and his son should receive the limelight of media coverage and benefit from the imagery of them as the only two men concerned enough about the situation at a time of national calamity?

What, in other words, was the political goal of the July 11, 2010 bomb attacks in Kampala?


Reader Comments:
- Posted By MUSISI on 05/13/2012
- Posted By MUSISI on 05/13/2012
Thanks Sarah and AJWS for standing up with us, we are inirpsed to continue standing up against injustice. We in Uganda urgently need support from the international community to ensure that human rights for all with specific attention to sexual minorities are protected and becuase the situation regarding protection of human rights in uganda is increasingly becoming bleak and we fear that some represssive laws could be passed at a time when ugandans are protesting high food and fuel prices.
- Posted By Mehmet on 07/25/2012
Wow you and Caleb are definitely mkiang a difference in the lives of these people! I can only imagine how both of you feel knowing that with your presence, you have brought a sense of hope and a message that is likely to have lasting effects on these individuals! Keep up the great work! We are proud of both of you!Wishes for a continued inspirational and safe journey!
- Posted By Rodrigo on 10/04/2012

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