At home in Uganda, the late Joseph Etima – Commissioner General of Uganda Prisons Service was defending the Prison’s budget in then Parliament including buying some sleeping mats for prisoners when the late Vice President Paulo Muwanga who was in attendance rebuked the former (Etima) whether he wanted to turn prisons into Guest Houses? Luckily for Etima, the National Resistance Movement/Army overthrew Muwanga’s regime, Muwanga was arrested, charged in courts of law and sent to Luzira Maximum Prison when Etima was still Commissioner General of Prisons Service. Muwanga had been escorted by friends, family and in-laws given his status, they were carrying materials fit for the former Vice President including mattresses and bed sheets etc
In early 1981, late David Oyite Ojok of the hearby the sound “Owiny Kibul” generation arrested then Lt. Caleb Akandwanaho (Salim Saleh) on trumped up charges because the former hated the later on tribal basis. So the current debate of no bail for capital offenders is uncalled for. Ugandan experts, advisors more specifically lawyers amaze me. It will not be surprising one day when they (experts) will lead or mislead the President to advertise and sell the country to the highest bidders so that the rest of us are rendered prisoners.
Bail is not about crime alone, It also helps depopulate remand cells (prisons) from being crowded. Experts aren’t always right. Around the time of Moses, Egyptian experts believed the Earth was hatched from a winged egg, that Man came from white worms found in the sludge of the Nile, and that the Sun reflected the light of the Earth. Equally in ancient Babylon, experts taught that humans were produced by a Spitting Monster, that wherever the Monster spat, a Man was formed; and that wherever a Man spat, a Woman appeared and wherever a woman spat, an animal emerged. Now it is true that all the experts were wrong.
Money, Power, Glamour, Impunity, Poverty, Misery, Pain most of the times make human beings act in funny ways. One thing all citizens of Uganda are Sure of is that we are currently living in highly polarized times. I have a been a global witness to many events. The world still remembers the Philippine Leader Ferdinand Marcos and his flamboyant wife Imelda Marcos who had spent the country’s fortune in foreign currency to buy over 300 pairs of shoes for herself.
At home in Uganda, the late Joseph Etima – Commissioner General of Uganda Prisons Service was defending the Prison’s budget in then Parliament including buying some sleeping mats for prisoners when the late Vice President Paulo Muwanga who was in attendance rebuked the former (Etima) whether he wanted to turn prisons into Guest Houses? Luckily for Etima, the National Resistance Movement/Army overthrew Muwanga’s regime, Muwanga was arrested, charged in courts of law and sent to Luzira Maximum Prison when Etima was still Commissioner General of Prisons Service. Muwanga had been escorted by friends, family and in-laws given his status, they were carrying materials fit for the former Vice President including mattresses and bed sheets etc. At the quarter guard, Muwanga’s group was welcomed but for the materials, consultations had to be made with Etima the Commissioner General who ordered to speak to Paulo Muwanga personally. The conversation was short for He only reminded the former Vice President why he had come with sleeping materials yet prisons aren’t meant to be Guest Houses.
Back to the story of Gen. Saleh, on February 28, in the year of our Lord 2005, I and my team of Mess staff accompanied Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan directing staff (Lecturers) and Senior Army students to a shooting range ground in a Bush on the shores of Lake Victoria behind Magamaga township in Mayuge district for a shooting exercise. As a policy, we fed them from wherever venue they went out for such excursions. Gen. Akandwanaho is a very curious person and on this particular occasion, he had seen and got interested in some wild plants (Herbs) which he picked and handed them to me to ferry in an Army vehicle allocated to me for the day. In the late afternoon, I had to deliver the herbs to his college residence, I found him sitted in his Lounge in a very jolly mood in the ensuing interaction he shared with me thus:- In 1981, he was deployed (posted) in Kidepo Valley National Park, in Karamoja.
The February 6, 1981 attack on the Kabamba Military Academy found him in Karamoja and that he got the news through BBC Focus on Africa News. That while in Moroto before he left for Kidepo, he saw many unexplained movements of Military vehicles in the Town. His colleague, same rank then Lt. Fred Rubereza was in-charge and all pointers indicated that they were organizing (troop mobilisation) that whenever he would inquire from Lt. Rubereza what was taking place and even negotiated to offer his services to escort anything from Kenya to Uganda, Rubereza now deceased, declined and once openly told now Gen. Akandwanaho that they (Army) wouldn’t trust him. As said above, the late David Oyite Ojok arrested then Lt. Akandwanaho on trumped up charges of stealing a Sweater for which he was sent to Moroto prison. Gen. Akandwanaho was later given bail by a one Otim, a sympathetic magistrate at the instigation and facilitation of Ms. Dorah, the late Gen. Pecos Kuteesa’s wife, the then Lt. Edward Katumba Wamala and then Lt. Damba’s civilian little sister. The bail offered him free passage, when he fled to Kampala stayed at a Contact’s house in Bugolobi and later guided by Katumba Wamala to Matugga from where an NRA contact linked and delivered him to the NRA struggle camps.
It is therefore, easy to get so involved in a sweet debate such as this one of removal of bail. But the question would be What would be the consequences of we the known big supporters of Gen. Y.K.Museveni and the current regime when another group of the Owiny Kibul’s come after here. It is said that the biggest weapon to fight a tormentor, is the mind of the tormented one. Finally, Uganda is big, we can either expand the table or increase the number of chairs, we shall all fit there.
Nabendeh Wamoto S.P