Kalinda Michael, a.k.a Zigy Wyne — another victim of Gen. Museveni’s brutal regime. His left eye was gouged out and two fingers chopped off.
An activist musician who was close to Uganda’s pop and ragga supremo and pro-democracy opposition Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, a.k.a. Bobi Wine, has died of gruesome injuries after being abducted and tortured reportedly by dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s security forces.
Kalinda Michael, a.k.a. Zigy Wyne was kidnapped on July 21 on his way to the Fire Base recording studios owned by Bobi Wine in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Zigy Wyne joins a list of several Ugandans kidnapped and killed or maimed, or simply shot dead, in the recent past. No social class has been spared: ordinary workers, activists, police officers who denounce corruption, and even a Member of Parliament.
Kidnapping are becoming rampant and several bodies have been found around the country with hallmarks of torture. In the last one month, eight bodies have been found across the country. Many of the victims are known supporters of the opposition. In Uganda such disappearances and deaths used to be referred to as Aminism. Welcome to Museveni’s Murder And kidnappings Inc.
Two young lawyers practicing law within the capital have gone missing in the last two days after being picked from their homes by people in plain clothes driving vehicles similar to those used by Uganda’s notorious Internal Security Organization. This has prompted the Uganda Law Society to demand for the prosecution of the head of ISO, whom they claim that is responsible for holding civilians in unregistered locations. The two lawyers are Patrick Mugisha Machiika, who has been involved in defending people being evicted from their land in oil-rich Bunyoro by members of dictator Museveni’s family and James Muliira, a Rotarian lawyer of Gwafu in Mukono. Mugisha was later released.
As for Zigy Wyne, he met a brutal death at the hands of his abductors. He was tortured by his captors who a week later dumped him, near death, at the entrance of Mulago referral hospital missing his left eye and two of his fingers. This gruesome display brings memories of how the Corleone family and its enemies dealt with each other in The Godfather films. In Museveni’s Murder And kidnappings Inc., these are real life occurrences.
Zigy Wyne’s tremendous pain and suffering only ended when he died at Mulago hospital last Sunday night. His wounds included burns caused by a hot flat iron on his back. The torture and death shocked many Ugandans including Bobi Wine who issued a statement about the kidnappings in Kampala. Bobi Wine himself is dealing with treason charges following his arrest a year ago when he was brutally beaten, arrested and tortured by Gen. Museveni’s Special Forces Command security agents while campaigning for an opposition candidate running for Parliament. Thirty-two others, including other MPs, were also arrested and tortured by the SFC. Even though dictator Museveni himself had gone to Arua to campaign for his NRM party’s candidate, the seat was won by the one endorsed by Bobi Wine. Yasin Kawuma, Bobi Wine’s driver was shot dead; he had been seated on the passenger’s side and the bullets many believe were meant for Bobi Wine himself.
On August 5, 2019, Bobi Wine released the following statement on Facebook addressing Zigy Wyne’s ordeal:
A few weeks ago, a longtime friend, musician and strong supporter of the#PeoplePower movement in Uganda was kidnapped. Kalinda Michael, mostly known by his stage name Zigy Wyne was abducted and subjected to horrendous forms of torture. His left eye was plucked out, two of his fingers cut off and parts of his body were burnt with a flat iron. He was beaten to near death, and dumped at Mulago hospital by unknown people where he spent a week before being identified by his family and friends. Last night, he was declared dead.
Since August 2018 when I was brutally arrested and tortured alongside more than 36 other Ugandan political leaders and activists, countless other Ugandans who have openly identified with the #PeoplePower movement have been kidnapped, illegally detained, tortured or murdered in cold blood. Only these past three months, there have been several attacks on many friends and comrades.
Indeed, on 14th May, 2019 Raphael Walugembe our coordinator and student of Nkozi University was shot dead in Nateete under suspicious circumstances. Around May 20th Mukisa Joshua William one of the People Power candidates in the Makerere University guild election was kidnapped, only to reappear with severe torture marks. Likewise, Ashburg Katto who also works with our media team was kidnapped only to be later dumped at a roadside.
On 22nd May, our supporter and coordinator Okot P’ Bitek Junior sustained grave injuries after being shot in Amolatar district by a UPDF solider. On May 23rd, Ssebulime Rashid, a local leader in Kawempe Division was attacked and his house set ablaze. He sustained severe injuries. On 3rd June, our strong mobiliser from Busiro North constituency, Kibalama Johnbosco was abducted and to date, his whereabouts are not known.
On 4th June, another coordinator and popular artiste Lucky Bosmic Otim was severely brutalized by the police in Gulu district. On 7th June, our strong mobiliser and L.C. 5 Councilor for Buvuma district, Lukoma Stephen Ssalongo was shot dead.
These are only few of the many supporters and comrades who have been victims of targeted attacks. We have received reports of people being arrested and detained for putting on either the red beret or t-shirts branded with our symbols or slogans.
Whenever we have activities such as attending court sessions or rallies, countless young people are brutalized, arrested and illegally detained in the various cells around the country. Many have reported being beaten up from police stations and asked to denounce People Power if they want to live.
Indeed last year, a well-wisher released a video recording of police officers at Kajjansi police post beating up 30 year old Kassim Migadde as they mocked him for associating with People Power.
At the end of April this year, when I was brutally arrested and illegally placed under house arrest, many young people who came out to peacefully protest against police brutality were arrested, tortured and many are still under detention. It was during that time that our friend and comrade, Nalongo Nana Mwafrika was manhandled by police officers, severely tortured, culminating in losing her uterus! Earlier, Justine Ssekandi, a female artiste who composed a song in support of our movement was abducted from Kamwokya, beaten to a pulp and dropped in the mortuary thinking she was dead – she spent several hours amongst dead bodies!
Some other comrades and friends have recently died in very suspicious road accidents. Our calls to have these matters investigated by the authorities and perpetrators brought to book never yield much. Further, we have filed several court cases about these violations including the one about the murder of my driver Yasin Kawuma, but there has not been much progress. The Uganda Human Rights Commission has equally let us down in our efforts to put an end to untold levels of torture and brutality.
Sometimes, officers handling them have disclosed that they have orders from above not to follow them up. Many colleagues including those I work with very closely have received calls from unknown people with clear threats of death, should they continue to support People Power! Only yesterday, music promoters Andrew Mukasa (Bajjo) and Abbey Musinguzi (Abtex) were violently arrested, and their music show blocked for their perceived association with me and People Power! Kazibwe Bashir, a young journalist and leader of the journalists association, who has been outspoken against injustice and impunity is still struggling to recover after he was allegedly poisoned by unknown people. I must add that many other people, who have been vocal in opposing President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s regime of 33 years, regardless of whether they belong to his ‘party’ or other political formations have been equally assaulted, tortured and intimidated.
Only three weeks back, former journalist and preacher, Joseph Kabuleta was abducted from a restaurant, bundled into a private vehicle and taken into a security facility where as he narrates, he was subjected to torture and intimidation. Similarly, on 24th June, Oprah Phoebe Kiddu a youth leader in President Museveni’s NRM party was abducted by security operatives from Mengo in Kampala and subjected to gross forms of torture for over three weeks until she was dumped on the roadside on 19th July. She has stated that her captors demanded that she stops opposing Museveni’s sole candidature as well as leading a pro-democracy pressure group.
As we draw towards the 2021 elections, it is apparent that President Museveni is determined to silence any form of dissent using extreme violence. Although he came to power castigating former presidents Milton Obote and Idi Amin of torture and extra-judicial killings of their opponents, he seems determined to out-do their record in terms of committing unspeakable atrocities against the wanainchi. Despite these grave and provocative violations against us and our people, we are committed to using peaceful means in our quest for political change in Uganda.
We call upon all peace loving citizens of the world to join us in condemning horrendous violations against innocent citizens in Uganda. We thank you all for your support and solidarity thus far, and continue to call upon you to support us as we struggle for a better country which respects human rights and human dignity. We can and shall achieve this, God being our help.
For God and My Country!
Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert
People Power – Uganda