Kampala. The United States of America has expressed concern about the disappearance of Independent presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi’s head of security, Mr Christopher Aine.
Mr Aine has not been seen in public since December 17. According to his relatives’ accounts, the Uganda Police Force picked him up from his home in Kyanja, one of Kampala City’s suburbs, a charge the police refute.
“We note with particular concern the reports that Christopher Aine, an Opposition aide, has disappeared,” US Department of State bureau of public affairs spokesperson John Kirby said through a January 15, press statement.
Police had earlier blamed Mr Aine for leading a group of Mr Mbabazi’s supporters who on December 12, were involved in a scuffle with NRM party supporters in Ntungamo District. On that day, Mr Mbabazi, according to the Electoral Commission (EC) campaign programme, was scheduled to address a campaign rally in the district.
Two days after the scuffle (on December 14), the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, said he would arrest Mr Mbabazi’s security team, saying the team is an illegal militia. The police went ahead to offer a Shs20 million bounty to anybody with information leading to Mr Aine’s arrest.
The bounty, however, raised more questions than leads to his whereabouts.
Critics said the police have never offered such a sum, not even for anyone facing robbery with violence or murder charges – capital offences.
And it is less – though it came later – than what Mr Aine’s relatives offered for information on his whereabouts, Shs45 million.
Relatedly, Mr Mbabazi’s lawyers have since gone to court to compel the police to produce Mr Aine, dead or alive.
However, the NRM presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni has suggested Mr Mbabazi team might be hiding Mr Aine. Mr Museveni did not say why.
Two weeks ago, Uganda police officers and relatives rushed to the KCCA Mortuary to identify the body of a person whose face bore features similar to those of Christopher Aine, which had appeared in a local tabloid. The body, which had marks indicative of a postmortem on the throat, was reportedly leaked to one of Aine’s family members from a source at the morgue.