4 February 2014

Uganda: Get to Bottom of Bomb Letter

Photo: All Africa Women Leaders' Summit
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.


On Monday, February 3, this newspaper broke the story about reports that a package containing unidentified explosives had been dispatched to the office of the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, and exploded in the face of the employee who opened it (see: Letter bomb sent to Speaker).

This reportedly happened almost weeks ago while the speaker was abroad. Additional press reports are now suggesting that three months earlier, substances that are said to be poisonous were found in the speaker's office, which compounds an already frightening situation.

It is obviously too early to make any informed conclusions, but there is no doubt that this is a serious matter for which answers must be sought. Who, what, where, when and how are some of questions that require answers.

The police and government officials have tended to play down the issue in their responses to press inquiries so far, but the voices from Parliament suggest this is not a light matter to be ignored. We can only suspect, therefore, that the intention of the authorities in being guarded is to protect the investigation rather than to cover up.

Indeed, our investigative authorities need to put their best foot forward to solve this mystery before it gets potentially politicised. It may well turn out to be a storm in a tea cup, but it could also be a serious incident.

Whatever the case, the best way to establish the whole truth is to investigate the origin and aim of the mysterious parcel and even the poisonous substances alluded to. So, let investigators get to work, and hopefully do a good job. What makes their task even more important is the fact that despite parcel bombs being relatively common in the United States and Europe, they are a novelty in Uganda.

The speaker of Parliament and indeed other Ugandans, whether prominent or not, need to be reassured that their lives are not in imminent danger.

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