24 January 2012

Uganda: City Boss, Bodyguard Face Murder Charges

Two people have been confirmed dead and a young girl seriously injured this morning after security operatives attached Kampala Capital City ... ( Resource: Uganda: Deadly City Demolitions )

Kampala — Police Constable Santos Komakech Makmot, the principal suspect in the Port Bell eviction shooting, and City Physical Planning Director George Agaba, will be charged with murder and attempted murder respectively, investigators confirmed yesterday.

Police Deputy Spokesperson Judith Nabakooba yesterday said the case file would be presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) today. "We are investigating murder and attempted murder charges on Constable Komakech and Mr Agaba. The DPP will advise further," Ms Nabakooba said.

By press time, both Mr Agaba and Constable Komakech remained in custody at Jinja Road Police station. Investigators were in the final stages of collecting statements that would support the charges. Sources close to the investigation who spoke on conditions of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the press, said there was sufficient evidence to charge the duo. KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi yesterday announced that Mr Agaba had been suspended from duty as investigations take course.

Shooting condemned

President Museveni last evening condemned the shooting, and pledged the law would take its course. "President Museveni has said he will allow the law to take its course. Like any other leader, the President would not like a situation where innocent life is lost," presidential press secretary Tamale Mirundi said by telephone last evening.

While visiting the affected families yesterday, the Inspector General of Police, Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura, said Mr Agaba did not inform the police of the intended eviction exercise as is required by law.

Lt. Gen. Kayihura also castigated the actions of Constable Komakech. "Use of lethal force against unarmed civilians like the way Komakech did is illegal. The gun should be the last resort," Lt. Gen. Kayihura told mourners in Port Bell yesterday.

"Komakech will face the full brunt of the law. We, as police, are supposed to protect the civilian population and not kill them," Lt. Gen. Kayihura added. The nation was stunned by footage of Constable Komakech firing live ammunition into a crowd at Port Bell, Luzira, after an eviction exercise by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) law enforcement officers turned bloody.

KCCA facilitation

Yesterday, police confirmed only one person, John Onyango, was killed during the Sunday incident. Three others: Hakim Kalumba, Florence Nalwada and one Magezi (other name not available) remain in critical condition at Mulago Hospital.

By press time yesterday, Onyango's family had been facilitated by KCCA with Shs3 million for his burial schedule to take place in Bugiri District today. KCCA also gave Shs500,000 to all those injured in the Sunday fracas as an emergency package pending further assistance.

It has also emerged that Constable Komakech was deployed to guard Mr Agaba's home after the KCCA official reportedly claimed his life was in danger. It is not yet clear how he later emerged with Mr Agaba at the scene. "We are wondering how he went into enforcement when he was supposed to be on guard duty," Lt. Gen. Kayihura said.

The Port Bell meeting yesterday was, however, not without drama. The affected families were torn between those loyal to the offices of the KCCA executive director and those loyal to Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago.

The divisions were so extreme that those loyal to Mr Lukwago and the defacto Nakawa mayor Eng. Ronald Balimwezo convened another meeting parallel to the one Lt. Gen. Kayihura and other local leaders were addressing. Local leaders, however, advised mourners not to bring political sentiment into the problems they were facing.

George Agaba: No stranger to controversy

On September 20, 2011, President Museveni appointed eight new directors to head different departments at the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). One of the directors was Mr George Ninsiima Agaba, appointed to the position of director of physical planning.

Prior to this appointment, Mr Agaba, also popularly known as Kive-Bulaya (he who came from abroad) is said to have sat several interviews in Sembabule, Lwengo and Kampala districts in a bid to secure a job as a town planner but was unsuccessful.

According to an academic transcript Mr Agaba submitted to KCCA, he was admitted to Makerere University in 1998 to pursue a degree in Urban Planning. Mr Agaba reportedly stated he was born on October 25, 1976. He was registered as a Rwandese national. The transcript, which is 'suspect' owing to numerous inconsistencies in the document compared to other Makerere University transcripts, states he graduated on April 5, 2002.

His whereabouts after Makerere are little known until he suddenly left the country. It has now emerged that Mr Agaba found his way to the United States and while there, the Ugandan Embassy in Washington on June 22, 2006 issued him with a Ugandan passport NoB0531097. According to the passport, Mr Agaba stated he was born on January 1, 1975, in Nyabitanga, Ssembabule District.

A close relative this newspaper spoke to on condition of anonymity last evening said Mr Agaba was actually born in 1972 and was then called 'George Ninsiima'. According to the relative, the name Agaba came along later in his life.

"I remember when he had just returned to Uganda from the United States,w he wanted to stand for Lwemiyaga constituency parliamentary seat," said Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo, who added he lost interest in the race under unclear circumstances.

"He was later appointed a campaign agent for Mr Sam Kutesa," Mr Ssekikubo added.

Police records show Mr Agaba was in 2010 arrested over possession of an illegal firearm and an electoral commission camera. Using the same firearm, Mr Agaba reportedly attacked Mr Sekikuubo at Kitooke in Sembabule during the bloody Ssembabule NRM primaries.

Police records also show he was disarmed of the said firearm which is being used as evidence in the case. On February 9, 2010, Mr Agaba was controversially pictured leading a group of stick-welding youths in Kinoni, Ssembabule District. The youths physically assaulted Kinoni residents in one of the most brutal cases of electoral violence in the history of Uganda.

That he was on Sunday caught out in another incident, Mr Agaba, who is now suspended from KCCA, has proved to be no stranger to controversy.

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