The murder of police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi in March 2017 remains the most significant event of the year that we have just concluded.
This death highlighted the increasing vulnerability of Gen Yoweri Museveni’s administration and its selfishness. Instead of investing in investigating the cause and perpetrators of murders, because Kaweesi’s was not the first one, the regime simply boosted security of its agents.
A case in point is Kinkiizi East MP, Dr Chris Baryomunsi. He was a very good commissioner in the last parliament and, because of that, he remains my friend. Upon his appointment as minister of state for Housing, he became a rabid supporter of the regime, defending it with gusto even in cases that require a simple apology.
I once asked him why he had showed up for the weekly Saturday Capital Gang radio talk show with a pickup truck full of policemen, something he despised when former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi regularly did it.
Dr Baryomunsi told me his life was under constant threat because of the constitutional change relating to land acquisition that his Lands ministry proposed. He is now escorted by at least a dozen policemen.
For the same reason, substantive Lands minister Betty Amongi, wife to UPC president Jimmy Akena, is also escorted by a pickup truck full of policemen. By the way, Amongi is my friend too. We studied political science together at Makerere University.
Besides these two, many other ministers are also escorted by trucks full of policemen in fear of being eliminated Kaweesi-style. These trucks and policemen have made parliament look like a garrison. Because of parliamentary rules, the trucks are usually parked outside the main gate.
Even ministers not known by anyone on Kampala streets have also been given a dozen policemen. Chief executives of commissions and state enterprises are all escorted by trucks full of men holding war guns. These pickups are provided by parent departments and Gen Kale Kayihura is only providing guns and personnel.
There are ministers such as Ronald Kibuule who have always wanted convoys as a way of showing power. The murder of Kaweesi was, therefore, a blessing to Kibuule and his ilk.
What has been the impact of all this? The cost of transporting public officials has skyrocketed. Before these convoys, we were spending Shs 100 billion on fuelling vehicles of public officials every year; Shs 180 billion on replacing these vehicles; and about Shs 120 billion on maintenance. The cost will obviously double.
That is what makes Kaweesi’s death significant. Not just because we lost a gallant policeman, but the excuse his death has given greedy politicians and public servants to buy themselves an additional car to carry their escorts.
Police is no longer providing security to persons and their property, but security to the regime and its agents. Do you then want to know why ordinary men and women are being killed in Entebbe, Nansana, Masaka, etc? This regime cares only for itself.
Do you remember a recent report by the auditor general that we are spending over Shs 200 billion on treating ‘big’ people abroad?
I know I am inviting criticisms from regime henchmen who will immediately name Betty Nambooze and Francis Zaake to rationalize this crime. I hope they will not be tempted because these two were battered by Museveni guards. The money above is what we spend as a state. It is possible that private citizens are spending even more.
And all this is happening because this regime has refused to invest in health. Can you imagine the colonial administration built Mulago hospital for us and handed it to the government in 1962 when it was a modern facility?
Today, we have had to borrow over $100 million to renovate it and its CT scanning machine has not been repaired because of lack of money. Yet there is plenty of money to throw at MPs under the guise of consulting on presidential age limit removal!
And promoters of age limit removal have now each been given three police escorts. Why? They claim the opposition and part of their constituents want to harm them.
The last time I saw this kind of fortification of leaders was when I visited South Sudan. I think very soon, maids of these big people will need escorts to buy onions from local markets.
And for me, this is a turning point. Gen Museveni has never cared about Ugandans. These incidents have simply exposed him. And you can apply them to all sectors.
His administration is not about serving the population. It is about the big man, his family and clansmen. He has previously confessed to this. Agents such as Baryomunsi, Amongi or Ruhakana Rugunda are facilitated merely to work in the interest of one man.
Ugandans are now in a situation that Rodney Neely summarized in his novel Every Man for Himself, God for Us All.
The author is Kira Municipality MP and opposition chief whip in parliament.