If government security agencies managed largely to pacify Somalia, deploy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic among other countries, why is it taking a long to decisively deal with bijambiya (machete) murders in the Greater Masaka region? Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has asked.
“It’s not because of incompetence but lack of commitment,” FDC Deputy Spokesperson John Kikonyogo argued during the party’s Monday weekly press conference at the party headquarters.
Kikonyogo said if government security agencies double their intelligence efforts, the problem of bijambiya murders can be solved quickly.
The machete-wielding murders have so far killed 28 people in the past six weeks in the greater Masaka region.
And given that none of the murderers have been arrested, except some suspects, it remains unclear what their motive is.
Kikonyogo said people such as Security Minister Jim Muhwezi performed excellently during his assignment as Director-General of Security and Intelligence during the early years of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government.
If Muhwezi acts with the same gusto as he used to do when he was Director-General of Security and Intelligence, Kikonyogo thinks, he would get Masaka bijambiya murders arrested in a short time.
Though police in Masaka last week said land wrangles could be the cause of the current spate of murders in the region, Jim Muhwezi told parliament that investigations are ongoing and promised to table a report once they are complete.
Like Kikonyogo, opposition legislators have accused the government of a lackluster response to the problem.
Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga, who is the Nyendo-Mukungwe legislator, with other opposition legislators, visited families of the victims on Sunday.
If the government fails to stop murders in the next one week, Mpuuga warned, residents, will have no other option apart from protecting themselves.
“We are giving the government an ultimatum of another one week to contain these killings lest we form our own defence committees of youth to protect our people,” he said.
What is government doing?
Kasingye is also expected to “improve on the readiness to respond to any acts of criminality in the region.”
Minister for Presidency Milly Babalanda also said last week she will be heading to the Masaka area to “assess the insecurity being reported there. I can assure Ugandans that the Gov’t will wipe them out without any trouble this week.”
But Kikonyogo said ministers such as Babalanda aren’t the right personalities needed in Masaka and the resources they are wasting should be given to security agencies.
“Some of these ministers, I hear, minister for the presidency is going there, what business do you have to do to?” he asked. “Are you a security officer? The money you’re going to spend in hotels, give it to intelligence officers on the ground”.