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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

When questions persist amidst lies: Kazini family wants fresh death probe

Kazini family wants fresh death probe

The late Kazini
The late Kazini  

Posted  Sunday, November 10  2013 at  02:00

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.

Lydia Draru, alleged killer of Maj. Gen. Kazini, on her way to the Central Police Station, Nov. 10, 2009. Photograph for the Daily Monitor by Joseph Kiggundu.

Lydia Draru's kempt appearance counters Kazini murder
Wednesday, 11th November 2009

By Timothy Kalyegira  
The widow of the former army commander, Maj. Gen. James Kazini, has raised questions about the circumstances of his murder early on Tuesday morning, Nov. 10, 2009.

"Maj. Gen. James Kazini's widow yesterday said she was doubtful that Lydia Draru, her husband's alleged killer, was the lone assailant in the killing of the former army commander," reported the Daily Monitor on Nov. 12, two days after the Uganda Record, in no uncertain terms, had made it clear in its reporting that Kazini's death was a political murder, not the result of a drunken brawl between him and his mistress, Lydia Draru.

In an interview with the Daily Monitor on Wednesday, Phoebe Kazini said: ""I highly doubt he was hit by a woman [acting] alone in that kind of way. I think that other people were involved, but of course there was this lady. Do you think a woman can fight a man in such a way? She must have been among the group which did it. We really doubt that she is the one who did it the way it was done."

On Tuesday morning, Fiona Basajjabalaba, wife of the businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba and also a cousin to the late Kazini, went to Mulago Hospital to view his body.
While there, she noted the tight security by the Military Police and the tension and suspicion around the mortuary and the fact that she was not allowed to view the body or, if she had to, had to get clearance from somebody who was constantly being consulted via phone.

This led her to start being suspicious of the whole story as had been given to the media, about Kazini's death.

It says something about the state of cohesion within the Museveni regime when the wife of a businessman whom most people believe is a front for President Yoweri Museveni's secret business deals, starts to question the official version of the events that ended Kazini's life.

Yesterday, Nov. 11, the Uganda Record got further details on Kazini's death.

A security analyst noted the fact that the alleged murder object was a 25mm aluminium hollow metal tube, hardly the sort of object to cause the kind of dent in Kazini's skull as happened.

Also, this security analyst, with sources in Military Intelligence, said Kazini was actually killed with an axe. The analyst added that Kazini had been trailed by a double cabin pickup on his way to Draru's house in Namuwongo in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

It is starting to become obvious that Kazini was murdered, but not in the way, not by the person, and not for the reasons the Ugandan public has been told.

The photographs of Draru that have so far appeared in the mainstream Ugandan newspapers hours after she was arrested and taken to the Central Police Station, are of a woman with full make up, hair all waxed in place, her clothes without a single drop of blood, well-pressed, all buttons in place.

General James Kazini

In no way do her appearance or her clothes suggest a scuffle or the sort of physical fight that would result in Kazini's head being so badly shattered.

The Uganda Record repeats and stands by its original story: Maj. Gen. James Kazini's death was a political assassination, not manslaughter following a fight between two drunken lovers.

The political killing was carried out with the full prior knowledge of State House and therefore, is the full responsibility of President Yoweri Museveni.



The high court in Kampala has found Lydia Draru the woman who confessed to killing Gen James Kazini guilty of manslaughter and sentenced her to 14 years in prison.
Trial Judge Justice Monica Mugyenyi delivered her judgment just 20 minutes after the assessors had advised her to convict the accused.

The Judge said the prosecution had failed to prove that Draru committed murder and she took into consideration that she was remorseful and at the beginning of the trial confessed to killing Kazini in self defence.

“The convict appeared remorseful and pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter at plea taking,” held Justice Mugyenyi.

Gen. Kazini was found dead in her house in Namuwongo, a Kampala suburb.
Prosecution told court that Ms Draru hit Maj. Gen. Kazini with an iron bar on the head and killed him on November 10, 2009 at her rented home in Wabigalo, Makindye Division in Kampala.

Ms Draru, who was the deceased’s mistress, has been on remand at Luzira Prison for close to two years since being charged with murder in 2009.

However, she asked court to forgive her saying she did not intend to kill the soldier and that the deceased’s family forgive her.


Lydia Draru, alleged killer of Maj. Gen. Kazini, on her way to the Central Police Station, Nov. 10, 2009. Photograph for the Daily Monitor by Joseph Kiggundu.

Lydia Draru’s manslaughter trial highlights violent relationship  

By Achola Rosario

The trial of the woman accused of murdering the Late Major General James Kazini resumed in the high court today with 3 prosecution witnesses giving their testimony. Dr Susan Nabadda from Mulago hospital, who examined Lydia Draru after the crime, testified that Draru had 30 fresh scratch marks all over her neck but refused to categorically state that they were related to attempted strangulation.Visibly upset by the remark during the 15 minute recess that followed the doctor’s testimony, Lydia Draru broke down in tears on the benches and had to be comforted by the prison warders that flanked her. Draru has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter and the prosecution team Fred Kakooza and Faith Turumanya from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions argues that it was a premeditated murder. Her defense team says that she acted in self-defense and Dr Nabadda says that she is of sound mental health.

The case is being heard by Justice Monica Mugyeni. Draru’s defense team comprises of the head of the criminal prosecutions department at the Law Development Centre, Annette Karungi, who is also senior lecturer there as well as Musa Sembajja, also from the LDC.

They were directed to take on the case by the state because Draru did not have a lawyer by the time of the hearing as she could not afford one. FIDA (U), an NGO that offers Legal Aid to women, especially in domestic violence related cases, does not seem to be involved.

Her niece, 18 year old Tobora Scovia also testified today to the events of the night of Nov 9 and subsequent murder in the early hours of Nov 10. Scovia testified that Kazini punched Draru in the mouth and slapped her twice. Draru ran to the living room and he followed pushing Draru on the sofa and strangling her.

Scovia said that she went for help outside. And as she was coming back in to check on her aunt, Draru moved to the bathroom, where Scovia thought she was going to hide, but instead she came back with an iron bar which they used to clean under beds and sofas with a rug wrapped around it.

She added that Draru hit the deceased first in the back and then on the back of the head. Earlier the state coroner had testified that Kazini died of brain trauma as a result of a head injury. Two more witnesses present their evidence at the high court tomorrow at 2pm.

Also see,

Will the Nebanda-Kalungi trial be similar to the Dralu-Kazini trial?? Detectives say they might prefer manslaughter charges against Mr Kalungi, accused of supplying drugs that reportedly killed the Butaleja Woman MP