By George Mangula
The gruesome murder of Arua Member of Parliament Ibrahim Abiriga Yusuf and his bodyguard is a reminder that no one is safe in Uganda as the government wants the world to believe. This is because Abiriga like many of his colleagues was considered highly secure when compared to many of the poor folks in the country. He had a bodyguard and probably carried a gun for personal security.
Hon. Abiriga’s death that happened in the evening of Friday 8, 2018 is also a reminder to government that words of promise to improve the security situation in the country are not working. Action is needed and Ugandans are longing for that.
Ugandans are asking why they should sink trillions of shillings into the security every year yet citizens are being killed every day. The current financial year had security allocated about Shs1.473 trillion and is expected to receive about Shs1.357 trillion, according to the National Budget Framework Paper for financial year 2018/19-2022/23. They want to know what this money has done and they want to see. Ugandans are wondering whether the classified expenditure is doing the job it is meant to do.
Abiriga’s death is also an extra blow to the operatives who man security of this country that seems to have become synonymous with kidnappings of recent. The security operatives of recent have concentrated on kidnaps, which is good because Ugandans were crying for solutions. However the gunning down of someone close to the president and security masters in the country is indicative of how insecure the nationals are. Some have started to related the current security situations to the past regimes that the current NRM government succeeded, promising to ensure security for all but as it stands now, that promise seems to be slowly fading away.
As Ugandans mourn the death of one of the most popular legislators;-hated and loved in equal measure, they are also fearful that government has not done enough to remove guns and other deadly weapons from illegal handlers. No one knows whether such criminals are robbers or political actors who have failed to use the tongue and resorted to finishing off their political opponents by pulling the trigger of the gun. The late in a recent television interview said some of his colleagues in the NRM were unhappy of his popularity and closeness to the president.
Revising former IGP Kale Kayihura’s reign
One would say that Kale Kayihura’s reign as Inspector General of Police (IGP) became unpopular starting with the murder of Muslim Sheiks and worsened by the murder of others within the security circles but the prominent of these was the gruesome murder of AIGP Felix Andrew Kaweesi. Kaweesi was seen as ‘blue-eyed boy’ of the NRM government, so active that some watchers were sure he would succeed Kayihura. His murder made world headlines but no report has come out since his death in the Kampala suburb of Kulambiro over a year ago. Museveni’s sacking of Kayihura is related to the former IGP failing to handle rampant killings even as some sources say he had shifted to helping a neighbouring country get hold o dissidents who were in Uganda and considered dangerous to its national security.
Enter IGP Ochola, General Elly Tumwine
All Ugandans know that since IGP Martins Ochola Okoth Security Minister Elly Tumwiine were appointed to their posts, nothing positive has happened in terms of keeping the security tight. This is because kidnappings, robberies, murders and disappearance of persons continue just like it was during Gen. Kayihura’s era. Ochola and Tumwiine on their appointment promised to reverse the situation but the bad statistics now indicate the two officials have a long way to go in as far as ensuring internal security is concerned.
Parliament- a sleeping giant?
Time has come for members of parliament to among others probe the security agencies to establish whether the taxpayers’ money is put to good use as intended. It high time parliament took keen interest in the so-called classified expenditures. What exactly is the money being spend on? Are the officials using ‘classified expenditure’ excuse misuse the money? The murder of MP Abiriga should now work as a catalyst for his colleagues to act especially that now one of their own has fallen victim to insecurity.
Mr Mangula is a reporter at Eagle Online