Minister Nantaba Assassination Attempt: Who is to blame?

Uganda continues to grapple with a string of unexplained assassinations the recent one being an attempt on the life of Junior Minister Aidah Nantaba. The list of prominent targets has been growing, and no suspect has ever been prosecuted in court to date. Most cases have remained a mystery resulting into speculation and conspiracy theories. However, most Ugandans who spoke to the Great Lakes Eye attribute the killings to President Museveni because he seems unmoved to apprehend the culprits involved in the killings. Instead, the Ugandan leadership has been quick to claim that there is a foreign hand behind these assassinations.

In a statement made by the Ugandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa on March 5, 2019, he denied the fact that Uganda arrests, tortures and harasses Rwandans. He stressed that Uganda welcomes and maintains open border policy for people of all nationalities including Rwandans wishing to visit the country.  He however stressed that anyone visiting Uganda including Rwandans should be law abiding as the country has been a target of terrorist attacks with assassinations of Moslem Sheiks, State Attorney Joan Kagezi and MP Ibrahim Abiriga and that Uganda remains committed to protecting the security of its citizens and its borders against local or foreign threats.

By this statement of the assassinations, Sam Kutesa implicitly referred to Rwanda as being behind those assassinations. However, most suspects that were apprehended and brought before the courts of law have never confessed of having any links with Rwanda in the assassinations. It remains to be seen whether the Ugandan leadership will accuse Rwanda this time around to have been behind the assassination attempt on the life of Junior Minister Aidah Nantaba.

Just recently, on Sunday 24 March 2019, State Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Aidah Nantaba survived an assassination attempt, thanks to the lack of coordination between the CMI operatives who were trailing her and the Police. She notified the police that her life was in imminent danger because there were people on motor bike trailing her.  When CMI operatives found out that Nantaba had discovered their evil plan, they aborted the mission.

Police, based on the Minister’s account and without knowing that it was CMI operatives following her, sheepishly hurriedly launched an operation to arrest the two men on a motorbike. They unprofessionally intercepted two innocent people on a motorbike, and one of them managed to escape while the other one Ronald Sebulime was arrested and later summarily executed. The police quickly reported that they had managed to foil a plan to kill Minister Nantaba and that one of the assailants had been shot dead.

The death of Ssebulime attracted much debate on social media, and the Great Lakes Eye managed to talk to people who knew him who described him as an innocent man who was killed while going to visit his children at St. Andrew Kaggwa secondary school. This was supported by the fact that the deceased was in possession of eats and drinks. Following this public outcry, on Wednesday, the Police bow to the pressure and admitted that one of its own officers had wrongly shot dead Ssebulime.

It is important to note that Minister Aidah Nantaba’s witch-hunt by the NRM is linked to the 2016 parliamentary elections, where she lost during the primary elections held by the National Resistance Movement (NRM), her political party at the time. She quit the party, citing rigging during the primaries as she had previously warned. During the national elections held on 18 February 2016, Nantaba, who ran as an independent candidate, won the elections to the disappointment of the NRM which had supported another candidate. Despite having been appointed a Minister due to her growing popularity, the NRM has never forgiven her due to the humiliation she caused the party.

It remains to be seen whether Uganda will again try to link Rwanda to either the assassination attempt on the Minister or the death of this innocent civilian who was on his way to visit his kids at school.

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