Kampala- Christopher Aine, the head of security in Go-Forward, the outfit through which former prime minister Amama Mbabazi is running for president, went missing in the third week of December last year after a violent encounter between Mr Mbabazi’s bodyguards and NRM supporters in Ntungamo.
His family believe he is dead— allegedly after being tortured by security operatives who reportedly picked him from his house in Kyanja, a Kampala suburb.
Police have, more than once, said they don’t, and have never had him. They believe he is in hiding and a Shs20 million bounty has been put on his head by the police.
President Museveni told a press briefing recently that Aine was in hiding, a claim Mr Mbabazi chided during the live presidential debate saying: “If you know where someone is, why not pick him?”
Thirty days since Aine is believed to have been picked by security operatives, Sunday Monitor visited his home in Kyanja, interacted with the neighbours and other village members, the local police and village leadership. The more the interactions went on, the more questions popped up.
Kyanja is a quiet hilly suburb, about 10km north of Kampala. It is covered in lush green.
A dusty potholed unpaved road picks on from the tarmac road at Kyanja Trading Centre and leading through the village. It is off that dusty road in Walufumbe Zone that Aine rented a gated apartment.
The apartment has two doors—one leading to Aine’s house and the other to where a couple, the only people in Aine’s gate, live. Aine’s love for Mr Mbabazi is not lost; at his door lies a torn campaign poster of the former premier.
In front of Aine’s apartment is a bigger house. The two share the outer wall fence and are only separated by a thick wall inside. The house is near the main village road. Around 10 strides and you will, through a bushy footpath, be at his gate.
A community police post is just 200 metres away and at a quarter that distance is Mama Sara’s kiosk.
Every morning, at 5am, she says, she sits in there frying cassava to sell to early risers. She also doubled as Aine’s laundress. Across the road and overlooking Aine’s house are shops and a makeshift lot for night parking.
The neighbours, although confirming they saw police at Aine’s house on the morning of December 16, they say the police did not pick him from his house, as earlier claimed by his brother.
Aine’s immediate neighbour says police knocked on Aine’s door and windows for about 15 minutes but he never opened.
“They were three men in plain clothes and they first knocked at my door mistaking it to be Aine’s,” she said. “They started knocking at his (Aine) and even at the back window as they called out his name but he just kept quiet and after 15 minutes they left,” the neighbour said.
She is convinced Aine was in the house because she had heard someone in his house flashing the toilet and shutting doors.
She describes Aine as a friendly neighbour who always inquired about how she was doing. He once helped replace her faulty light bulb. “I never heard a sound in his house even after those who were knocking left and it has been like that since. I hope he is well, wherever he is,” she said.
Before the visit, Aine’s cousin, Ezra Kabugo, who swore an affidavit in support of a writ of habeas corpus application in court (a court order to produce a suspect from police custody) — to be heard on January 27, had narrated how police went to his house looking for Aine and on calling to notify him, he had confirmed hearing people knocking at his door and movement in his compound.