Kazini family wants fresh death probe

The late Kazini

KAMPALA- Five years after the murder of former army commander Maj Gen James Kazini, his family says it has never seen the police report of the investigations to establish the exact killers and cause of death.

Gen Kazini was killed five years ago today at his girlfriend’s house in the city suburb of Namuwongo. The girlfriend, Ms Lydia Draru, came out and confessed to the killing, but public suspicion that she is not the principal killer have refused to go away.

Although the police announced, after Kazini’s death, that they were investigating the killing, they did not produce any evidence from their own investigations during the trial to corroborate Draru’s confession. Draru was convicted solely on her own plea of guilt.

In her confession, Draru said she hit Gen Kazini on the head with a metal pipe which killed him instantly. She argued that she hit him in self-defence because he was trying to attack her. She was charged with manslaughter and ultimately convicted.

The family, however, remains dissatisfied with the police investigations and are wondering why police have never released the findings of their investigations into Kazini’s death.

The widow, Ms Phoebe Kazini, told the Sunday Monitor on Friday that it is shocking police have failed to avail the family details of their investigations. She says this has piled emotional distress on the family.

“They have never given me that report. Even the post-mortem report, I had to ask for it in order for doctors to give me a death certificate. For police, they told me I shouldn’t interfere in their investigations and we have waited until now without anything,” Ms Phoebe Kazini said.

She said the family will observe the day of his death like any other day. “We have no function at all; we will just say a prayer,” she told this newspaper.

The Sunday Monitor has also learnt that because of the police failure to release the investigations report, Kazini’s relatives have resolved to petition government for fresh investigations into his killing.

When contacted for a comment, the Police Spokesperson, Ms Judith Nabakooba, referred this newspaper to the Director of Crime Investigations and Intelligence (CIID), Ms Grace Akullo.

However, Ms Akullo’s personal assistant, who answered the phone call, said her boss was in a meeting but promised to return our call, which she had not done by the time we went to press.

The murder
After the killing of Gen Kazini inside her sitting room at Namuwongo, Ms Draru ran out shouting. Her yelling attracted the area residents to her house where they found Kazini’s body lying in a pool of blood. Subsequently, Ms Draru and her sister who was a juvenile were arrested by police for interrogation.

Pictures of Kazin’s body showed a narrow and deep penetrating cut on the head, suggesting it had been inflicted by a sharp object rather than a hollow pipe Draru had claimed.

This sparked doubt whether Draru’s confession was genuine or was a decoy. Kazini was wearing civilian clothes at the time of death. His white Toyota Land Cruiser with South Sudanese registration number plates was found parked outside Draru’s house with his pistol inside.

About Kazini

Kazini was born in 1957 in Bushenyi, now Sheema District before the family relocated to Kashari county in Mbarara District

He had his primary education in Kashari before he proceeded to Ntare School in Mbarara town where he studied with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

In the 1981, he joined Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF) rebellion in West Nile under Gen Moses Ali, currently Second Deputy Prime Minister in the NRM government.

In 1983, he joined National Resistance Army/Movement under Yoweri Museveni in the Luwero Triangle. He was promoted and commissioned to captain in 1988, two years after the NRA captured power.

In 1989, he was promoted to major and appointed commandant of military police

1991, promoted to lieutenant colonel and posted to the Mechanised Regiment in Masaka.

In 1995, posted to West Nile to fight West Nile Bank Front of Juma Oris
1996, promoted to colonel and appointed 4th Division Deputy Commander in Gulu
1998, posted to Kasese to fight the Allied Democratic Forces in the Ruwenzori region

In 1999, he was appointed Chief of Staff and promoted to brigadier. In 2000, Kazini was named commander of Operation Safe Haven to eliminate the ADF rebels from their bases in DR Congo 2001, was made Army Commander, a title now renamed Chief of Defence Forces.