Ronald Mukisa, a budding lawyer in Kampala Wednesday evening became the umpteenth victim of the gun violence scourge in Uganda that looks currently to have no end in sight.
Aged merely 45 years, the young lawyer who until his regrettable demise was working with IBC Advocates, a law firm housed within Namanda Plaza adjacent to Charm Towers, had retired to his home in Birongo, Kitiko near Kajjansi and parked his car before walking back to the gate to close it.
Upon shutting the gate and as he was now walking to his apartment, that an unidentified assassin who had come riding on a motor bike, would seize the opportunity to shoot him through the head killing him instantly.
The latest spate of fatal shootings started with the fatal shooting of the former junior Minister for Labor, Col. Charles Engola by his military body guard, Private Wilson Sabiiti.
Following the commission of the murder, a riled Sabiiti went inside a barbers salon in Kyanja and took his own life by shooting himself using the very gun he had just used to shoot Engola.
Sabiiti had prior to committing the suicide, justified the killing of his principal by stating how his employer had not paid his salary for months on end. He stated that that had left him and his family suffering and his children not going to school.
Ever since that incident, many people including those working with the security agencies have shot and killed those they had suspected to have acted insensitively towards them. Call it taking the law into their own hands to cure what they believed were wrongs that were being committed against them.
Shortly before the shooting of Engola, a Ugandan Lady Justice, Margaret Mutonyi had delivered her judgement in the high profile case of the murder by shooting of one of the formerly rare breed of assertive district police commanders in Uganda, Muhammad Kirumira.
Acquitting the suspect, the Lady Justice had expressed her frustration and anger about the police’s (read the State’s) recurring inability to recover guns used in the several incidences of murder of Ugandans even after recovering the spent cartridges from the scene of those murders.
Her argument was that since the police( read the State) usually recover those cartridges, they could use them to trace the guns that had been used in some of those murders but which the police( State) rarely do.
Mutonyi’s anger was justified keeping in mind that the State buys, possesses and own armories for keeping those of guns on top of licensing out those guns to private security organs and whoever it chooses.
That being the case, it would be easy for the State to establish quickly which gun is issued out to who, which private security firm, or elsewhere and at what time and for how long.
The commander-in-chief , President Gen. Yoweri Museveni following the murder of another high profile police officer, Inspector general of police, Felix Andrew Kaweesi, had ordered for the marking of all guns present in the country.
He had said that to ensure that the State promptly follows up its guns in case the need had arisen.
Whether that was done by those who were supposed to do it, looks doubtful given how many people including a senior cabinet minister and a military general as well, including former Army Commander Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, have since been shot, but even the guns used have never been recovered to date.
The useless, old and tired stories we continue to hear from the State and it’s security agencies is that those same guns had been used before the shooting of Kaweesi prior to the shooting of Afande Kaweesi and even used in the shooting of Kirumira.
What baffles the people’s intelligence is that if the police is aware of those guns, why have they not gone ahead to trace where they are instead of continuously leaving them in the hands of the wrong elements to continue to use them to kill Ugandans like flies.
I had not stated the gist of this write-up. Let me state it at this juncture for the interest of everyone. That gist is to try to trace the sources of the guns continuously used to bump off or to rob Ugandans.
As I have stated above, the State has the sole and legal monopoly over the importation, distribution to whoever and whichever private security firm they choose and also to keep safely those guns and out of the hands of the wrong elements who can use them, as they have done for some years, to kill off Ugandans.
Subsequently, its possibly possible that the State can, by default or implication of the law applicable, fingered as the source of guns used in the murder of Ugandans.
But why not? If some of the guns such as the one Sabiiti used, and the other one used by the police officer, Ivan Wabwire to kill former Minister Charles Engola and the other Asian money-lender respectively, had been issued out by the State itself.
That the State hadn’t given out those guns to be used to kill people, although, is an otherwise admittedly sound argument, it’s immaterial here to the extent that this piece is concerned only with tracing the sources of guns used to kill our people.
In any case, the State is enjoined by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda to protect the lives and property of Ugandans from any kind of harm let alone assassination.
Matter of fact, the last time I checked, the overriding cardinal duty of the State worthy it’s name was to protect the lives of it’s people and their property.
But keep it at the back of your mind that the Ugandan State doesn’t manufacture guns at a large scale. It purchases much of those guns from the West and East and wherever else they are manufactured.
The West and East or whoever else manufacture those guns to sell them majorly to those ready to pay for them in order to make money off them.
How those who buy from the West or East end up using those guns, wouldn’t to a larger extent concern the West and East or whoever else that does that job.
Besides some of the guns in possession of security agencies owned by the State of Uganda, guns licensed out to private individuals and privately owned security firms have also been used to murder people.
Take the example of businessman Mathew Kanyamunyu who shoot and killed social worker, Charles Akena at Lugogo a few years back for scratching his car.
There is also another private security firm which used to be known as Detail Protection that the Uganda police closed down for renting out guns to wrong elements.
Formerly located at Lubaga Road at a place known as Bakuli, this firm’s security guards had resorted to hiring out guns because their employers could take months without paying to them salaries.
Apart from renting out the guns, the security guards working for this company had also started to use the the guns assigned to them to torment innocent Uganda as they were now unlawfully ‘looking’ for something to eat and share with their families in absence of salaries.
Detail protection is but just merely a mirror of countless security firms in Uganda paying excuses of wages to their askaris and who have as a result of that challenge, since resorted to using their guns to torment Ugandans or to out rightly sell them to the highest bidder.
For those asking for hard evidence, I would refer them to the thirty nine security firms which the Uganda police disbanded just only recently for engaging in what Detail Protection was also possibly engaging in.
That’s not to imply or suggest that the rest of the private security firms that are still operating in Uganda are entirely blameless. Many of them actually aren’t. But just only that they are owned by big wigs in government. Their owners know someone big in government. While some of those owners are related to someone big in government.
Subsequently, those stated factors make it next to impossible for the police leadership in Uganda to dare disband the culpable private security firms.
Before taking leave of this point, I would want to make it known that one of the former co-directors of Detail Protection Services was actually Michael Toyota Nuwagira. Although, he later on fell out with the other director known as Julius Byamugisha.
What Toyota is in this country needs no belaboring since those of you who know him know quite well what he is.
I would further want to state that cases of security officers and private security guards being hired as hitmen to settle personal scores such as those to do with politics, business and land ownership, love triangles and inheritance, aren’t entirely new to those who have had an opportunity to be residents in Uganda for some years now.
To be fair to the people running our country, war and terrorism hot spots coupled with cattle rustling going on within the great lakes region and beyond, have also served to worsen the illegal influx of guns into this region.
Sadly so, these guns have oftentimes ended up in the hands of the wrong elements who have gone ahead to use them to commit atrocities against the innocent Ugandans.
Hope you are aware of the Turkana said to have recently assassinated a group of geologists up in Karamoja region and who the Ugandan president, Gen Yoweri Museveni has since asked the Kenyan authorities to turn them over to him for prosecution.
That we are part of the peace keeping contigents in Somalia. And since we have been part of such missions elsewhere previously. That reason have tended to drive terrorists in those countries to arm wrong elements with guns such as the Allied Democratic Forces. And to actually join them to wage wars and carry out terrorist operations against the innocent Ugandans.
Take here the vivid example of the suicide bombings targeting the Ugandan parliament and another one aimed at the Kampala Central Police Station, which two, the Islamic State and the Allied Democratic Forces have since owned up to have jointly staged.
Recall also, the deadly twin terrorist revenge bombings at the Kyaddondo Rugby Grounds and the other one at the Kabalagala Ethiopian Village that left hundreds of Ugandans dead and maimed.
As I wind up, I would want also to recognise the negative role our artificially created porous boarders within this region has played to negatively supply the wrong elements with guns and which have been used oftentimes to cause murders and other atrocities within the region.