Onlookers in Muyenga, an upscale Kampala suburb, were yesterday morning treated to a rare spectacle. Gen Elly Tumwine, the minister of Security, faced off with Lt Gen Charles Angina as the two intervened in a land wrangle between prominent citizens on opposing sides.
Gen Tumwine appeared unexpectedly at the scene of the land wrangle near Hotel International 2000, which belongs to businessman and socialite Godfrey Kirumira.
Mr Kirumira is fighting for the land with Dr Ben Khingi, a surgeon at Mulago hospital.
In the first public fallout on November 23, footage was released on social media of Mr Kirumira, dressed in shorts, being dragged in the mud as he fought off men he said were attempting to grab his land.
He said the people with whom he was wrangling had enlisted the support of Lt Gen Angina, the deputy coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation.
The matter remained unresolved and yesterday it came to a head. Gen Angina, according to footage that is circulating on social media, was at the scene.
It is not clear what time he had arrived at the disputed piece of land, but Mr Kirumira claimed that activity on the contested piece of land started as early as 5am.
Gen Tumwine arrived later as excavation works on the disputed piece of land continued in the presence of Lt Gen Angina. He intervened with force and authority.
A video clip that is circulating captures the largely one-sided exchange.
Gen Tumwine addresses Lt Gen Angina thus: “At 3am in the morning! Why do you do this in the night? Why not during the day? Don’t abuse our forces. Have you heard? Don’t abuse our forces; you and the police. Don’t abuse our forces. We all have disagreements, we don’t use our forces like this. Why not do it during day if it is okay?”
All the while, Lt Gen Angina kept responding “yes sir”, seeking in vain opportunity to explain.
Mr Kirumira, who stood behind Gen Tumwine as the Security minister told off his junior, interjected: “And they started at 3am in the morning.”
Gen Tumwine continued: “Ndugu Angina, we have worked so hard to preserve the image of our forces. This is a small matter which could have been sorted out amicably. Where are the KCCA (Kampala Capital City Authority) letters giving instructions that this is a wrong boundary…?”
As Gen Tumwine went on, Lt Gen Angina’s arms hung limply at his side as he stood humbled and attentive.
Gen Tumwine was among the Bush War fighters and is said to have fired the first bullet during the war, the bullet he fired during the attack on Kabamba barracks that some say ruined the original plan.
He was the first army commander after the fighters took power in 1986, and has occupied different positions since then, including being one of the Army MPs for a long time.
He is currently the minister of Security. A four-star General, he is one rank above Lt Gen Angina.
On his part, Gen Angina, was Deputy Chief of Defence Forces before he was redeployed to deputise Gen Salim Saleh as deputy coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation.
By the time Gen Tumwine arrived at the scene, a truckful of Field Force Unit personnel of the police were on site as tractor operators excavated and widened a section of the road where Dr Khingi intends to build a retaining wall.
The incident also attracted the Minister of Lands, Ms Betty Amongi and Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Moses Kafeero.
The two parties later, after Gen Tumwine’s intervention, met at the site and agreed to hold works until Wednesday when the Ministry of Lands will provide a surveyor to open boundaries.
About the disputed land
The road: Dr Khingi sought to widen the road leading to his house in Sekindi Zone in Muyenga, Kampala.
Renovation: Dr Khingi recently bought the house and it is under renovation. The house belonged to the late Stanley Ssekindi, who was a big landlord in the area.
Opposed: Mr Kirumira has been opposed to the excavation because according to him, the area being excavated had containers and feared it might affect the stability of his compound.