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.
Motive of killing
The motive of the killer(s) and whether they were working independently or with or for someone is also not known until now. Was it revenge? Was it money? Was it work-related or a personal issue?
Planning of mission
Given the efficiency of the execution, it is not clear for how long it was planned. Was it an inside job or it was a person or people who had studied and worked out their plan for long?
WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE?
On March 19, 2017, and in subsequent raids at the homes of the arrested suspects’ days after the assassination, children aged between two and 14 years were taken into custody and were only released following public outcry when the information of their disappearance became public.
The police explained they were keeping them because their parents were either in custody or were yet to be traced. Eventually, all the children were released, following public outcry, to their respective mothers and guardians.
Criminals in Police
On March 19, 2017, President Museveni, while paying his last respects to Kaweesi, ordered Gen Kale Kayihura, then Inspector General of Police, to “clean up” the police force, especially the investigating arm which he said had been infiltrated by criminals. The criminals in the force, he said, intimidate and sometimes kill witnesses and leak information to other criminals.
Four police personnel were arrested and later charged following accusations of torturing Kamwenge Mayor Godfrey Byamukama. The mayor had been arrested on April 5, 2017 from the Ministry of Lands office in Kampala on suspicion of having a hand in Mr Kaweesi’s killing.
The suspects; Detective Assistant Superintendent of Police Patrick Muramira, Detective Assistant Superintendent of Police Fred Tumuhairwe, No. 55612 Habib Roma and No. 67019 PPC Ben Odeke, were charged with one count of torture contrary to section 4 of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act 2012 and another charge of doing grievance harm contrary to section 219 of the Penal Code Act.
Little known woman
On October 12, 2017, different security agencies exchanged fire at the home of Christine Umuhoza Mbabazi in Kosovo-Lungujja, a Kampala suburb. It would later emerge that the fire exchange was between police and the operatives of the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) as they muscled out over who should take custody of Ms Mbabazi.
Special Forces Command soldiers were eventually deployed to protect the woman who some claim to have vital information on who the Kaweesi killers are. It turned out she was a piece in the puzzle that is Kaweesi’s murder.
Hunter is hunted
October 24, 2017, senior police officers and other operatives were arrested and detained by personnel from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI). There has been speculation that one of the reasons for their arrest and detention was the assassination of Kaweesi. Nothing more has been officially said about this claim.
Cost of torture
Then on October 12, 2017, High Court Judge Margaret Oguli-Oumo awarded 22 individuals who had been arrested in connection with the killings of Kaweesi Shs1.8 billion on grounds that they had proved that they were tortured in both military and police confinements upon arrest. Attorney General William Byaruhanga has since appealed against the Sh1.8b award on grounds that it was unjustified.
Some killers known
On March 8, during the Women’s Day celebrations in Mityana District, President Museveni said all the killers that had attacked people in Masaka and those that had killed women in parts of Wakiso were apprehended.
The challenge, he said, was still finding the killers of Joan Kagezi, formerly a senior principal state attorney in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions; and the Muslim clerics. When it came to the killers of Mr Kaweesi, President Museveni said security agencies had apprehended some and that he was sure the remaining would be caught in due course.
Contempt of court?
Several suspects in the Kaweesi killing were re-arrested on November 7 and 23 even after court had granted them bail. On November 7, four individuals – Abdu Musa Ojegere, Ibrahim Kisa, Umaru Maganda and Ahmed Senfuka were brutally arrested by shabbily dressed operatives and disappeared for some time. Two other suspects, Sinani Hibwanji and Ali Mugoya, were also arrested and fresh charges of having connections with ADF.
Andrew Felix Kaweesi was born in 1974 at Kitwekyanjovu village, Kakoma Parish in Kyazanga Sub-county, Lwengo District. He went to Kyazanga Primary School before joining St Benard College Kiswerera in Masaka district for his O-Level.
His parents, Esther and Alphonse Mutabazi, died when Kaweesi was still young. Mutabazi left the family in the hands of relatives who could not really provide all the support.
Kaweesi was adopted by Fr Joseph Mary Lukyamuzi, now a Missionary Priest in Virginia, USA, until he completed his O-Level. While leaving for missionary work abroad, Fr Lukyamuzi handed over Kaweesi to his elder brother Vincent Tikyamuweesi-Musubire who helped him to join A-Level at Kitante Hill School.
In August 1996 Kaweesi joined Makerere University to pursue a bachelors degree in Education, graduating in 2000.
At Makerere, Kaweesi was a member of the students Guild and Chairman of the Private Students’ Association. In 2001 he was recruited as a police cadets and after he was passed out, he was in May 2002 posted to Ntungamo as the Officer in-charge station operations before being elevated to the position of OC Station in 2003. That same year Kaweesi was confirmed as Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and posted to Masindi Police Training School as an Instructor.
In 2004, Kaweesi was elevated to the position of Deputy Commandant of the training school and was sent to South Sudan to train officers for three months and later he was sent to Somalia for the same work.
In 2005, Kaweesi was posted to Police Headquarters as the Personal Assistant to the Inspector General of Police, Katumba Wamala. Kaweesi met his wife Annet Nabwami when he visited his old school friend and colleague Simeo Nsubuga.
He also attended the National Defence College of Kenya where he graduated with a Masters in International studies and also did a course in Strategic studies in 2010 – 2011.
In 2011, Kaweesi was transferred on promotion as the first Commandant of Kampala Metropolitan Police which extends to cover areas of Mukono, Wakiso and Mpigi.
In 2014, he was transferred to the Directorate of Human Resources and later to the Directorate of Operations in 2015. He was also the spokesperson of the police by the time he was killed.