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COVER STORY: Killing Kaweesi

What we know so far

Friday, March 17 started like another normal busy day for Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP), Andrew Felix Kaweesi, one of the topmost officers of the force. His title was director Human Resource but, as spokesperson, he was the face of the force.

Like many security conscious people in Kampala these days, Kaweesi stayed home late. It is 9am when he steps into his official vehicle, a dark-blue SUV. His driver, Private Godfrey Mambewo, and his bodyguard; Corporal Kenneth Erau salute and jump into the car. Kaweesi sits directly behind the driver, while the body takes the co-driver’s seat.

Another policeman opens the gate and the big car immediately rolls onto the main road out of his village in the Kulambiro neighborhood of Kampala city.

All three men have counter-terrorism training and, matter of course easily scan the area outside for the danger for anything unusual.  Erau, who has just completed another counter-terrorism course at the Olilim Police Training School in Katakwi district, eastern Uganda, easily takes in the two men who appear to be fixing their motorbike.

By virtue of his rank, Kaweesi often moves in convoy formation, with a Protection Escort Team (PET) on an escort pick-up truck. He has received death threats before but considers them part of the job and does not dwell on them. So this morning he is travelling without the PET.

According to some reports, Kaweesi is this morning speaking on phone to Abbas Byakagaba, the Commandant Police Senior Command and Staff College who gained prominence as the head of the police’s anti-terrorism taskforce.

Kaweesi speaks softly and unhurriedly. He is a tall lanky man with standard police force cropped hair, bright gray eyes, and lips that look like he is ready to laugh or smile. He has an aura of orderliness, with his neat clothes, long well pedicured nails, and gleaming black boots.

They have only driven for a few minutes when the driver notices that the men, who just minutes before looked to have a broken bike, appear to have miraculously fixed it and are determinedly racing towards them. Ever alert, Mambewo initiates standard direct mobile VIP defensive driving by stepping on the gas. The idea is to ensure the bike does not catch up with them whether hostile or not. The powerful 4.0 V6 SUV engine easily starts adding distance away from the bike. But then bullets ring out. The vehicle is under attack.

Details of what happens during the attack are varied. Almost every eyewitness spoken to gives a different account. What appears clear at the time we went to press is that the attackers were riding on motorbike. Accounts vary about whether they were on two motorbikes or one. In the two motorbike version, Kaweesi’s car is attacked from front and rear. The front attack takes out the driver. The bodyguard, Erua is shot as he tries a standard VIP protection maneuver – jumping into the back-seat to protect Kaweesi.

According to one account, after shooting the three men, one of the attackers opens the car doors picks the guard’s AK47 rifle and pistol, the drivers AK47, and Kaweesi’s pistol. According to this account, the assailants uses Kaweesi’s pistol to shoot him again twice before jumping on the bike and riding away.

In one account, Kaweesi shouts; “My kids, my kids, my kids,” then everything becomes inaudible. According to a source said to be close to Byakagaba says that is what Kaweesi said.

According to this version, immediately a directive was made for police to head to Namugongo and round off the school where Kaweesi’s 14-year old daughter goes. The fear is that this was a coordinated killing and the next target could be his children or other senior officers.

Kaweesi, 43, had three children, the eldest being a 14-year old daughter now in Senior Two. His wife was pregnant at the time he died.

One comment

  1. Can a man rob God? Two Ugandan motorcyclists just did. Allegedly. Kaweesi’s SUV was on the 17 March, 2017 “showered” (read: riddled) with 124 rounds of live ammunition. In the process his bodyguard took 36 on job and the driver as well. All the three were pronounced dead on the spot. This gruesome murder has left many wondering- why? In asking why, this suspicious mind is also alluding to the “unsaid”, that Kaweesi could have taken the bullet for someone else. That in the manner of his death, there was an intention to instruct. I want to explore on “who” could have instructed and “why” Kaweesi. What do we pick from the scene of crime? The assassins had the audacity to attack the 3rd most ranking officer of the Ugandan police during broad day. This choice of attack was not cowardly. They were in full confidence of their capabilities and so were they aware of Kaweesi’s vulnerabilities. But if this were so, why couldn’t they attack his home at night? Could be that they never wanted to be mistaken for robbers. Their choice of attack was very deliberate that carried no “noise” for the intended recipient. What do we pick from the words of the President? At the vigil of Kaweesi, the President made two statements that are very instructive: “The police has been infiltrated by criminals.” “Kayihura do your job.” From an ordinary point of view (literally), the meaning is that, bad elements were taking advantage of the laxity within the police. But the President is not an ordinary person. He’s the Commander In Chief (CIC) of the armed forces. He’s the Chief Consumer Of Intelligence (CCOI). So, let us take the President’s statements more seriously. By stating that the police was infiltrated, was the President inferring that Kaweesi’s death was an internal handiwork of the police? Or, was the President confirming Kaweesi’s death as a result of the “bad infiltration?” That Kaweesi was part of the “bad police?” That by the President instructing Kayihura to do his job, he was redirecting him “away” from the bad police?

    Interestingly, no one is linking Kaweesi’s murder to the previous murders of the Muslim clergies, Prosecutor Kagezi and Major Kiggundu even when the mode is similar? No one is linking Kaweesi’s murder to the ADF or the Kasese killings even when Kaweesi had commented on live television that the Kasese killings were “legal” two days before his murder? No one is linking Kaweesi’s murder to “Muhoozi project” even when Kaweesi was a possible political threat to the “project’s” intentions? I am a consumer of movies (good fiction). In the Kaweesi murder, I sadly see a good movie- The Hunger games. I see a dystopian society(Uganda) that is undesirable and frightening. That we should draw from real lessons regarding our, politics, economics, psychology and ethics. The reason as to why I relate Kaweesi’s murder to ‘The Hunger Games’, is the way his death presents a sense that “someone is seated outside there before a “BIG SCREEN” and he’s WATCHING.” That if the “play” is not going according to the “script” the “GAMEMAKER” can change the play midway. But if this killer is the very killer who “neutralised” the Muslim clergies, Kagezi and Maj. Kiggundu, then he’s cunning as he’s ruthless. As to whether the order by the President to set up cctv cameras will subdue his activities or Kayihura’s order for police to wear bullet proof vests will stop him in his trucks, that’s for us to ponder about. This killer finds you when you least expect him. Maybe we have to look for divine intervention?

    In the Quranic teachings, there lived an atheist ruler. He was once visited by a “Believer” who he wanted to impress upon his powers. So he asked the “Believer”, who is this God you so much praise of? The believer answered, “He who gives and taketh away life.” The King had to bring in two men and upon his orders, one of them was killed and the other let free. But the Believer was not yet done, he said to the king, “He who rises the sun in the East and sets it in the West” This seemed to be an insurmountable proposition to the king who then, challenged the Believer to bring his “so called” God to him so that they could “sort” themselves out! God couldn’t come in person but sent him one of His armies- the mosquito. The fierce king died from a mosquito bite. Can a man rob God?

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