In the first hours after the news of the assassination of former Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi, and his assistants Godfrey Wambewo and Kenneth Erau at Kulambiro, a Kampala suburb, law enforcement officials and politicians were concerned with the present — trying to make sense of what had happened and searching, if any, for clues about the killers.
The public was consumed with feelings of confusion, shock and loss from one of the most daring and deadliest assassinations of modern day Uganda.
It is a year since March 17, 2017, and a lot has changed. Have the questions and commitments that day created been answered or realised?
WHAT WE KNOW
Felled by 70 bullets
AIGP Kaweesi, 43, was assassinated by unknown gunmen on March 17, 2017 alongside his driver Godfrey Wambewo and bodyguard Kenneth Erau at Kulambiro, a Kampala suburb. Kaweesi’s body is said to have taken 27 bullets, his bodyguard took 33 bullets, while his driver was shot 11 times.
From the pockmarks on the car, investigators believe t he assailants did not use the commonly available AK47 assault rifles. They are believed to have used the specialised M4 guns.
No claim of responsibility
No individual or terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Initially, the death of Kaweesi, who was also the spokesperson of the police, was quickly attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces, a rebel group that once fought to dislodge the NRM government and reportedly has bases and runs operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with plans to attack Uganda.
Killed near home, police post
The shooting took place about 600 metres outside Mr Kaweesi’s home, another 100 metres or so from a small trading centre with some shops and a boda boda stage. The area has a local police post about 300 metres away.
Arrest of suspects
At least 40 people suspected to have had a role in the killings were arrested and detained in different known and unknown police and military facilities. Those that appeared in court are battling charges of murder, terrorism and robbing Kaweesi’s gun and a pistol after his assassination.
Trial of suspects
The full trial of about eight suspects committed to the High Court is yet to commence. Five are still on remand and have not been committed to trial.
An 18-year-old woman was on May 10, 2017 sentenced to one and half years imprisonment by Kampala City Hall Court after she pleaded guilty to giving false information to Uganda police regarding the killing of Kaweesi and others.
Shiellah Nalubega, a resident of Bukomasimbi in Masaka, admitted before Grade One Magistrate Moses Nabende that on April 29, 2017 at Kyaliwajjala in Wakiso District, she lied to Assistant Superintendent of Police Sophy Neboshi that she saw and knew the killers of AIGP Kaweesi. Nalubenga told court that she gave this false information with an intention of getting the reward money which the police had promised to give to any person with information that might lead to the arrest of the said murderers.
No street cameras
President Museveni directed that closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras be installed in major towns across the country days after Kaweesi’s assassination. The directive is yet to be implemented in most places and has only become a song the President and other government officials sing every time there is a high profile killing. This was the case during the Wakiso women killings and the recent kidnap and killing of Susan Magara.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
Execution and gate-away
How Mr Kaweesi’s killers approached and executed him and his assistants in broad daylight and left the scene undetected is still a mystery.
Theories have been advanced on how this could have happened. The overriding theory has been that the attackers were riding on a motorbike or two and that they attacked the car from the front and rear, killing the driver and his passengers, the bodyguard and Kaweesi who were occupying the seat behind.
Isolated incident or pattern?
Whether the assassination was a one-off or part of the spate of killings that preceded it and others that followed in the months after the incident remains unresolved.