The reactions across the country over the killing of Arua Municipality Member of Parliament Ibrahim Abiriga show a nation that is appalled, frustrated and angry with the state of security in their motherland. The evening when Abiriga was gunned down together with his bodyguard, who was also his brother, Saidi Buga Kongo, saw social media go wild with people expressing their shock at the manner of the deaths.
Later, when the bodies were taken to Arua on Sunday evening, the locals expressed their anger when they grabbed Abiriga’s coffin causing police to shoot in the air and the vigil to be halted.
During the last two years, Abiriga had courted controversy with his views, the part he played during the debate on the Age Limit Bill then, right down to his love for the colour yellow. Some were excited about the way he went about his duties. Others were upset.
But in his death, everyone felt the same way. He was brutally killed in broad-daylight, as he approached his home. “If an MP with a bodyguard can be gunned down in that manner, how safe are the rest of us?” is the big question many people are asking.
President Museveni’s remarks on the death were that there is a high probability that the killing was a political assassination because of his commitment to the NRM, but that there is a possibility there were personal motives for the murder. In his statement, Mr Museveni admitted that while the government had planned to start dealing with the increased crime in the country with technical solutions, they had delayed and put their priorities elsewhere.
He also spoke about how the police in Kawanda were slow to react: “If they were ready and on stand-by, they could have rushed and blocked the few exit points from that area for the criminals. That is something the police in the whole country need to study.”
This is not the first time he is commenting on the laxity and slowness with which the government is dealing with insecurity and crime. Abiriga is only one among many people who have over the last few months been killed. Men and women have been kidnapped and killed, some in broad-daylight.
Young children have been murdered in cold blood and their bodies left along pathways for their parents to find. People are now taking the law into their hands because they feel the police cannot help.
It is, therefore, important that the President keeps his word. We heard him voice the same concerns and promises when Joan Kagezi, Felix Kaweesi and Susan Magara were killed. The nation is now waiting for action.