By Andrew M. Mwenda & P. Matsiko wa Mucoori
Was the opposition planning to use him in post-election uprising?
The government intelligence alleges that renegade Col. Edison Muzoora who died mysteriously on or around May 27 this year, was at the centre of an opposition plan to create post-election violence
On Aug. 15, the Minister of Security, Muruli Mukasa, told journalists in Kampala that opposition politicians were planning armed rebellion against the government. He said some opposition politicians were using social media to recruit youth and prepare for rebellion.
He also said the opposition’s public demonstrations like the Walk to Work protests aimed to use genuine issues like the rising prices of commodities that are hurting the public, to incite the public into an insurrection and overthrow the government.
Various leaders of opposition parties have dismissed the claim and said the government is using it to divert public attention from the issues affecting the country and to justify harassment of political opponents.
However, The Independent has learnt, the government intelligence services are indeed assembling a case that during the general elections in February this year, the FDC planned to challenge the election results and simulate popular insurrection.
The government intelligence alleges that renegade Col. Edison Muzoora, who died mysteriously on or around May 27 this year, was at the centre of that plan. The intelligence allegations centre around Col. Muzoora and a Ghanaian doctor who lives in South Africa and is known to Winnie Byanyima, wife to FDC President Dr Kizza Besigye. They claim Col. Muzoora stayed with this doctor for a long time in Cape Town, South Africa, before he travelled to Uganda in May and met his mysterious death.
It is alleged that in April, two months after the election, Col. Muzoora left South Africa for Uganda to organise an insurrection or rebellion. Before he left, it is alleged that Col. Muzoora attended a meeting in South Africa in early March chaired by one Dr Kibuuka and was attended by over 30 people to discuss the reorganisation of the armed struggle.
Mumbere, who was arrested in Kampala in June, Waraga, a lawyer in Kampala, Dr Nkara and Colonel Ogole (formerly in the Uganda National Liberation Army during the Obote government), Kibirige, Dr Aliter and Ngobi alias Mukunja allegedly attended the meeting, according to the intelligence. Ngobi was in the rebel group of renegade Maj. Herbert Itongwa in the 1990s and participated in the attack on Kireka Police Post in mid 1990s.
This was followed by another meeting at Heron Hotel in Nairobi in early April which Kibuuka chaired and was attended, among others, by Atungabantu (former escort to former Presidential Protection Unit commander, the late Akanga Byaruhanga) who was arrested in June and charged with treason, Mumbere, Ngobi and Zedriga and Simon Kizito, an accountant.
The third meeting was held in Dar es Salaam from April 24-25 and was chaired by Zedriga. Col. Muzoora (whose code names were Jugua and Juma) and Okello based in Lira district who was recently arrested, attended the meeting. Mumbere, Atungabantu and one Joseph Tumushabe did not attend but played a key role in coordinating the meeting. It is at this meeting, security sources say, that the Muzoora group partitioned the country into four areas of operational command.
The Western region called Golden Gate was put under Muzoora; Buganda was placed under Ngobi and Walaga. Northern region was put under Zedriga and the Eastern under Ogole but represented by one Hakim. Each regional commander was tasked to go and mobilise former supporters and put in place structures for an armed struggle.
Intelligence sources say that the group held another meeting at Nabinoonya off Entebbe Road on May 2. According to intelligence briefing, the meeting was chaired by Atungabantu. Mumbere, Mate, Muliwabyo, Muhwezi, Kahigi,Kacwano, Manenero who is reportedly in Rwanda seeking asylum, Arthur Kabaziguruka, and one Mugisha from Sheema district attended.
Kabaziguruka declined to comment on the allegation. “I was arrested by police and I am now out on police bond, so I am unable to comment on it. It’s an allegation, nothing has been proved,” he told The Independent.
It has not been established with certainty why the renegade former UPDF commander sneaked into the country in early May. Col. Muzoora’s death has caused widespread speculation since his body was discovered outside his home on the night of May 27.
Security bosses have been under pressure to explain how, Col. Muzoora who had been in exile either entered un-noticed and died in Uganda or, if he died elsewhere, how his body was brought to his home.
Some theories claim Muzoora had come back from South Africa to seek amnesty and denounce rebellion which he is alleged to have been organising from outside the country.
However, according to latest intelligence information, Muzoora had actually come to reorganise his scattered group and re-launch an armed struggle against the government. This information is from briefings The Independent received from top intelligence sources.
To understand the story of Muzoora’s alleged armed struggle, one needs to know its genesis and how daring an officer he was.
In 2002 Muzoora deserted the UPDF and fled to Kigali, Rwanda. According to Ugandan intelligence, Muzoora stayed in Kigali for some time and was later sent to Ituri in eastern DR Congo, which borders with Uganda, for guerrilla training. Museveni sent in MiG fighter jets which bombed Lendu militia positions in Ituri. The MiG attacks so scared the Lendu that they captured Muzoora and his group. But Muzoora made a daring escape. He attacked the Lendu guards, disarmed them and shot them. He then escaped back to Rwanda. By this time, Kigali had decided to relocate him and he was facilitated to go to South Africa.