The fatal shootings we are seeing in the Busoga and Kampala areas remind one of the high era of contract killings that led to the formation of Operation Wembley in 2002.
It is a fiery Easter season.
Muslim cleric after Muslim cleric has been cut down in a blizzard of bullets in recent months. Why? Whom by?
Longstanding power rivalries have been cited as a possible cause.
Australia-based cardiologist Aggrey Kiyingi, once accused of killing his wife and now has declared presidential ambition, has also been fingered. He allegedly works with the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the anti-Museveni rebel outfit based in DR Congo. The killings will apparently discredit the government. Until court decides some day, we will never quite know the facts.
Some Muslims are unimpressed anyhow. They wonder why it is the security services in Uganda that are speaking for the ADF. “Every time we hear about ADF these days, it is the security services claiming things on the group’s behalf,” a Muslim friend said recently. “We are used to ADF speaking for itself, claiming responsibility for its actions.”
That was a neat way of casting doubt on the security establishment’s storyline.
Of course, it has taken the gunning down of a leading prosecutor, in front of her children, for many more Ugandans to stop and pay attention to the killings. These acts of horror are getting more pronounced. Fear is spreading. Droves of richer Ugandans are reportedly applying for guns to protect themselves.
Almost all the people who have pulled the trigger to fatal effect have used a boda boda bike as the means of travel. You can get by quickly. Chaotic Kampala makes it easier to meld into the crowd and the filth and disappear to safety.
Order in the city is paramount. It may save the occasional life. Bodas do not have to be banned in Kampala because they exist to meet a need.
The day no one will need them they will disappear. But they must be regulated. That is a no-brainer that those who have chosen to play politics with the issue may themselves end up being victims of people riding on bodas.
While Kampala needs re-ordering and there are commendable attempts in that regard, the bigger issue remains: who are the people paying to kill others, and who are the people ready to be paid to kill others?
For the paymasters, the motives could be anything: love turned sour, business deal gone bad, terrorismolitics. Of course, we are making a distinction, to the extent that such a distinction can be made, between contract killings and killings that result from ordinary criminality gone wrong.
For the contracted, it could be the simple need to make an extra shilling. It is this latter group that we should worry about. You must be psychotic or in desperate need of money to accept to kill. One, could, however, also kill to aance a cause, mostly political.
The motivations of the contracted mean we need to create a society that better helps those who are mentally ill, that lifts everyone out of poverty quicker or clearly promises a good life sooner. And a genuinely inclusive political system or culture can’t be a bad thing.
We could possibly reflect on these and related issues this Easter weekend. Happy Easter. Everyone.
Mr Tabaire is the co-founder and director of programmes at African Centre for Media Excellence in Kampala.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor