Lydia Draru, the lady in whose shanty house the former army commander, Maj Gen James Kazini, died told police today that she was behind the murder.Draru made a statement at the Central Police Station in which she said she had domestic problems which Kazini as husband had not solved. This confession is likely to make the work of investigators easy, who will now concentrate on the motive of the murder. Draru was due to appear at Buganda Road Magistrates Court today afternoon.
Kazini was hit by an iron bar at 5AM today morning after a misunderstanding. Neighbours told The Observer that noises were first heard emanating from the house and after that, Kazini was heard calling for help. After carrying out the horrendous act, a confused Draru reportedly ran out of the house, shouting: “I have killed him, I have killed him.”
Kazini’s grief stricken wife Phoebe, visited the scene of the murder in a company of a relative. Witnesses said she exclaimed at the horrible conditions in which her husband died. Police took blood samples from the scene. Kazini’s body is still at Mulago and later in the evening it will be taken to his home in Munyonyo for the night vigil.
RISE AND FALL
Kazini became Army commander in 2001 and was dropped in 2003.
In December 2003, Museveni committed him and a dozen senior officers to the General Court Martial on various charges, especially creation and maintenance of “ghost” soldiers on the army payroll.
Others included Brig. Nakibus Lakara (former chief of staff), Brig. Henry Tumukunde (former director general of ISO), and Brig. Andrew Guti who was later pardoned and even promoted.
On March 27, 2008, when the General Court Martial under Lt. Gen. Ivan Koreta sentenced him to three years in jail for causing financial loss of Shs60 million, Kazini wept. Kazini and others, still on trial, allegedly maintained 24,000 fictitious names on the army payroll which resulted in loss of Shs 600 billion in 13 years.
He later challenged the sentence in the Constitutional Court, arguing that the Court Martial had no jurisdiction to hear the case but he recently lost the appeal.
He had lodged an appeal in the Supreme Court and the case was due for hearing.
Kazini was always perceived to be a blind loyalist of the commander-in-chief since joining the NRA around 1984 after he defected from Lt. Gen. Moses Ali’s West Nile based rebel group.
Kazini later became the escort commander of Gen. Salim Saleh. Saleh helped Kazini rise through military ranks and to win favours from the commander-in-chief.
Kazini conflicted with virtually every senior commander in the Army but the President kept faith in him. He was so loved that even after allegedly causing the death of over 700 soldiers in the first clash with Rwanda in Kisangani; he didn’t face the firing squad as stipulated in UPDF Act. Instead, Museveni ran away from the UPDF High Command meeting at Bombo and left it to Amama Mbabazi who announced that Gen. Elly Tumwine would lead a probe that never produced a report.
Kazini knew that the winning card was to praise the President whenever an opportunity presented itself.
During one of such moment, he said during a meeting of the Army Council in Bombo that he sympathised with the President because he was left do all the work alone while officers were eating eggs and doing business. Museveni smiled.
• Defected from Maj. Gen. Moses Ali’s Uganda National Rescue Front in 1984 to join NRA
• Appointed commander of Gen. Salim Saleh’s escorts
• 1987 becomes commissioned officer at the rank of Captain.
• 1989 promoted to Major and appointed Commander of Military Police
• 1991 promoted to Lt. Col. and appointed Commander of Masaka Mechanized Regiment to replace Col. Kizza Besigye
• 1995 sent to West Nile to fight the Gen Ali Bamuze’s West Nile Rescue Front 11.
• 1996, promoted to Colonel and given additional responsibilities in Gulu based Division 4. This appointment caused a rift between the then commander of Division 4, Brig Chefe Ali (RIP) and Kazini. Ultimately Chefe was made Chief of Staff and transferred to Bombo Army Headquarters and Kazini became full Division 4 Commander
• In March, 1998, Kazini is deployed in Kasese the fight the ADF rebels.
• 1999 was promoted Brigadier, appointed Chief of Staff and commander of Safe Haven Operation in DR Congo.
• In 2000, after two clashes between the armies of Rwanda and Uganda in Kisangani (1999 and 2000), he was recalled from DR Congo.