The shooting dead of police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi has set off a panic mode among members of the Jamuiyyat Da’awa Assalafiyya Muslim section.
The ‘Tabliqs’ group had earlier given police a seven-day ultimatum to return money they say was stolen from mosques by security agents in 2015 and 2016.
On Friday March 10, Sheikh Siraje Kifampa Nsambu, the spokesman of the Tabliqs, said when police raided the William street-based Masgid Noor on December 13, 2015, they broke into the safes and took at least Shs 50m. He added that on December 27, 2016, during the raid on Nakasero, another Shs 60m was stolen.
“We shall not tolerate any further police criminal activities of theft and vandalizing of our property anymore; failure to do so [return the money], we will be left with no choice but to be compelled to defend ourselves against these terrorist and criminal acts,” Kifampa said. “We are requesting the police in seven days to return our properties and cover all damages, or else we shall inform you of our next course of action.”
Kifampa did not elaborate what they would do, if the police failed to comply. But the elapse of the seven-day ultimatum coincided with the March 17 shooting dead of Kaweesi, a coincidence, Kifampa said, might be used against the Tabliqs.
“It is very easy and tempting to use the usual way of arresting people because of what they allegedly said and indeed many are now going to be arrested,” Kifampa said during last Friday’s prayers at Nakasero mosque. “I’m sure we will not have solved the problem because with the numerous arrests that have been carried out after the previous killings, we would not have had a high-ranking police officer shot in a similar manner.”
After the shooting dead of Maj Muhammad Kiggundu last November 26, police arrested Sheikh Yahaya Ramathan Mwanje, the then acting Amiir Ummah at Nakasero, because he had allegedly called for the death of Kiggundu days earlier.
Kifampa revealed that after the seven-day ultimatum they gave police elapsed, their next course of action was petitioning parliament to look into their grievances.
“We had told you last Friday that we would be telling you our next move if police didn’t return our money. We had planned to write a petition to parliament. There are many things happening in the Muslim community which we believe needed parliament’s intervention,” Kifampa told the congregation.
He added that he was set to meet with Kaweesi later on Friday for a TV show recording but he was saddened to hear of his shooting.
“Last night (Thursday) at around 10pm I got a call from the Noordin Ntege, the producer of Akabbinkano program on Bukedde TV, telling me that we were going to record a program that would air on Sunday. But I told him we had canceled the program. He insisted, saying there was no way he was going to tell Kaweesi that the program had been canceled.” Kifampa said.
WHO IS SAFE?
On Friday, the mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje, also condemned the gruesome murder, calling on all Ugandans to embrace peace.
“Kaweesi is one of the police officers who served our country diligently,” Mubajje told journalists after prayers at Old Kampala mosque. “We should pray for peace to return to our country because if a person at that rank with even security can be killed in such a way, then the rest of the Ugandans are not sure whether they will survive another day.”
Mubajje said security and peace should be a concern of every Ugandan: “We need thorough investigations to bring to justice the perpetrators of these crimes; otherwise, fear will continue among our people.”
For his part, Uganda Muslim Supreme Council spokesman Nsereko Mutumba said government should become more “serious” in investigating the murders.
“Giving people bodyguards will not solve any problem whatsoever. They should look for those people murdering us so that they are apprehended for us all to stay in peace,” Mutumba said.
“These days we are very poor; the only thing we had been left with is peaceful sleep. But now even that has been taken away. What role has government remained with?”