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.