A distraught Gen. Wamala, his clothing splattered with blood, outside his vehicle after surviving assassination. Photo: Twitter
An assassination attempt on Gen. Katumba Wamala left his daughter and driver dead today in Kampala the Ugandan capital.
The general who was also a minister was rushed to a hospital with wounds on both arms. His daughter who died, Brenda Nantongo Katumba 27, had recently finished her PhD in the U.K. and had returned to Uganda bury her grandmother.
Gen. Katumba Wamala who is a four-star General in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces, and a newly sworn-in Member of Parliament representing the military was a former Chief of Defense Forces (CDF), and minister of works and transport. He is also considered as a close aide to the country’s dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni.
Wamala was driving in a convoy in Kisaasi, the outskirts of Kampala on Tuesday morning when assassins riding motorbikes sprayed his vehicle with bullets and fled the scene, leaving his daughter and driver dead. Bullets shattered both Gen. Wamala’s arms and shoulder.
Many high-profile Ugandans have been killed in similar professional manner by motorcycle assassins. None of the murders have been solved and some critics contend that the regime is involved.
After each past assassination, Gen. Museveni has come out to blame “pigs” acting in cowardly fashion. “The pigs who do not value life shot at Gen. Katumba killed his daughter and driver and injured him. Condolences on the loss of two Ugandans. I talked to Gen. Katumba twice on the phone. He is being well managed,” the dictator tweeted. He also added, “I wish Gen. Katumba quick recovery. The bodyguard should not have shot in the air. He should have shot to kill. We could be having a dead terrorist instead of scaring away the terrorists. His shooting saved Gen. Katumba by scaring the criminals aways.”
A Uganda Member of Parliament Ibrahim Abiriga died in a hail of bullets from motorcycle assassins as did Deputy Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi, and a police officer who was renowned for denouncing police and regime corruption, Mohammed Kirumira, was killed in the same manner. Other Ugandans slain include a government prosecutor Joan Kagezi and several Muslim leaders.
The deaths have left a smell of heavy suspicion over the regime.
Wamala shown recently with his daughter Brenda Nantongo Katumba when he was sworn in as Member of Parliament.
“We shall defeat the criminals as we did in the past. We already have clues to those killers. Besides, the new system of digital beacons on all vehicles and motorbikes will eliminate the misuse of vehicles and motorbikes to commit crimes,” dictator Museveni said in another tweet.
The Forum for Democratic Change opposition party (FDC) said “…since 1980, this regime has been shooting at Ugandans and it is urgent that we end gun rule— it is why we have always called for a national dialogue and structured negotiations based on an agreed agenda aimed at realizing a peaceful transition from gun rule and banditry.
Borrowing a word from Gen. Museveni’s rhetoric, FDC said, “Let us leave pigs on the lusaniya (plate) and use political will to investigate all murders under your regime.”
Two years after he took over power, in 1988, Gen. Museveni vowed that he would not preside over a country where a Ugandan is murdered or kidnapped without the culprits ever being identified. More than three decades later, unsolved assassinations continue even as the state itself carries out a kidnap, torture, and murder campaign against civilians.
The writer is a torture survivor under the Museveni regime. He can be reached via [email protected]