Justus Muhanguzi has reported a case to police over threats on his life
after he launched a book with his account of what happened during the
Rwandan 1994 genocide.
Muhanguzi is one of the Ugandan journalists who covered the war and subsequent genocide in Rwanda as it happened.
He was writing for New Vision newspaper at the time but his book on what he says is what he saw has raised eyebrows.
A very unhappy Kigali has declared that
the book carries falsehoods. On Tuesday, October 17, Muhanguzi recorded a
case number SD 60/16/10/2017 at Kira Road police station in Kampala. He
told the police that his life is being threatened, and he is receiving
calls from strange people warning him over the book.
Asan Kasingye, Uganda police
spokesperson, told The Observer on Thursday, October 26 that he knows
Muhanguzi as an employee of Uganda Human Rights Commission, and not as
He added, however, that since he has
reported a case of threats to his life, “it must be investigated and the
truth will come out.”
“I would be surprised if it was not
investigated. We’ll approach it with an open mind and see the truth
behind it,” Kasingye said.
Barely two weeks ago, on October 4,
2017, Muhanguzi filed a complaint with the Uganda Human Rights
Commission noting threats from unknown people opposed to his book.
Muhanguzi, whose book is titled Eyes of a
Journalist, told The Observer last week that he was once invited to the
Rwandan high commission in Kampala and told not to launch the book
because it contained “inaccuracies.”
The launch of the book was initially
slated for April 6, 2017 at Hotel Africana. But he received a call from
police spokesperson Asan Kasingye a day before that date telling him
that Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura wanted to see him.
When he went to police headquarters for
that meeting, Muhanguzi was instead accosted by an individual believed
to be a Kigali agent who got him to go to the Rwandese mission.
Kasingye recently told the press that there was nothing sinister about him linking Muhanguzi to the Rwandan high commission.
Muhanguzi said when he reached
Kasingye’s office, he found a one Ismail Baguma from the Rwandan high
commission who told him that they just wanted “the book updated; that
they were ready to incur costs for republishing it.”
Muhanguzi said he was forced to stop the
book launch at Hotel Africana. The biggest contention, Muhanguzi added,
is that Kigali feels there are ‘falsehoods’ as regards the account of
the death of Maj Gen Fred Rwigyema, the charismatic founding leader of
Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) whose war defeated Juvenal Habyarmima’s
government with Gen Paul
Kagame eventually becoming president of
that country. In a statement to journalists, the Rwandan mission said
Muhanguzi’s allegations were unfounded.
“The Rwandan High Commission invited Mr
Muhanguzi to discuss inaccuracies and conspiracy theories contained in a
series of articles he had written on the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)
and genocide against Tutsi,” the statement read.
“The allegations that Mr Muhanguzi was threatened while at the high commission are not true.”
But in mid-September, Muhanguzi said, he
took advantage of the chaos surrounding the presidential age limit
amendment and launched his book. Almost immediately, he started
receiving death threats.
When Rwandan Refugees Die like rats amidst Global
silence: Rwanda Journalist Shot in Kampala
October 24, UPDF officer Maj Eric Mutebi Kigambwoha appeared before the
commission of inquiry into land matters chaired by Justice Catharine
Together with other senior UPDF
officers, he is accused of evicting about 2,000 residents in Butologo,
Buwekula county, Mubende district.
He adopted the name Mutebi from the
family of Henry Kaaya and it is alleged he connived with Naava Namutebi,
a close relative to the Kaaya family, to evict the residents. In the
process, he was rewarded with about 50 acres of land in exchange of
aiding the evictions.
During cross-examination led by the
commission counsel, John Bosco Suuza, Kigambwoha admitted grabbing
property but was ordered to vacate it. ALI TWAHA brings you an abridged
account of the proceedings.
Suuza: Maj Eric
Kigambwoha, you are reminded that you are still on oath. Before we broke
off, we were talking about circumstances leading to the acquisition of
land in Buwekula, Butologo sub-county. If you can remind us, from whom
did you buy this land? Kigambwoha: From Mr Henry Kaaya. Suuza: Is Mr Kaaya the registered proprietor of this land? Kigambwoha: He showed me the land title and that was enough for me to know he is the owner. Suuza: How many people are registered as proprietors of that land from that land title? Kigambwoha: They are three. Suuza: So, did you buy it from all the three or Mr Kaaya alone? Kigambwoha: Only Kaaya. Suuza: Did he have authority to sell that land on behalf of the others? Kigambwoha: I asked him and he took me to a lawyer, Mr Ssentamu, who told me that through the title, they exist as tenants in common.
Suuza: Did you see that on the title? Kigambwoha: Yes, I did. Suuza: And you were satisfied that Mr Kaaya had authority to sell? Kigambwoha: We went to the department of lands in Mityana and I was assured. Suuza:
The issue is not whether you went to Mityana or not but whether Mr
Kaaya had authority to sell the land without the involvement of the
other people on the title. Kigambwoha: When he showed me the title, I knew that he was telling the truth and he had the authority to sell. Suuza: Are you prepared to lose the land if you get advice that this transaction was fraudulent? Kigambwoha: I don’t know about that. Suuza: Mr Kaaya came here and said that you actually did not pay any money and I believe you were here when he testified. Kigambwoha: He is a liar.
Suuza: What evidence do you have that he actually received this money? Kigambwoha: There are witnesses. Suuza: How much money did you earn in 2013 as a Major in the UPDF? Kigambwoha: I was earning Shs 920,000, my lord. Suuza: That was all? Kigambwoha: I was a farmer as well. Suuza: Where did you carry out farming? Kigambwoha: In the barracks in Ntungamo. Suuza: What were you cultivating? Kigambwoha: Maize. Suuza: And how much money were you earning from the maize? Kigambwoha: I was earning a lot of money.
Suuza: That is not what I asked you. I want to know the actual amount? Kigambwoha: About Shs 30 million. Suuza: On how much land were you cultivating? Kigambwoha: About 20 acres. Suuza: And you would get Shs 30 million per month or per year? Kigambwoha: Per season, my lord. Suuza: And how many years did you carry out that cultivation? Kigambwoha: My lord, I was carrying out farming from the barracks and my home. Suuza: In which barracks where you deployed at that time? Kigambwoha: Chieftaincy of Military Rehabilitation Center (CMRC). Suuza: That is in Mubende? Kigambwoha: Yes.
Suuza: How were you cultivating in Ntungamo while based in Mubende? Kigambwoha: I had a car. Suuza: So, how many days would you be in Mubende in a month? Kigambwoha: I used to stay in office from Monday to Friday and on weekends, I travel to Ntungamo. Suuza: What sort of farming was it, was it mechanized or you used hand hoes? Kigambwoha: It was mechanized. Suuza: For how long did you carry out this farming in Ntungamo? Kigambwoha: For two years. Suuza: How many seasons are there in a year? Kigambwoha: They are two, my lord. Suuza: So, in total how much money did you raise from the two seasons? Kigambwoha: It was a lot of money because I used to get the money and reinvest it.
Suuza: And how did you sell part of your produce? Kigambwoha: I used to ferry it from my farm to the barracks and then sell it off. Suuza: Where would you keep it in the barracks? Kigambwoha: I had a house in the senior quarters. So, I used to keep the produce in the garage. Suuza: So, you were conducting private business in government premises? Kigambwoha: That is true, my lord. Suuza: Is that allowed? Kigambwoha: We were allowed as soldiers. Suuza: Who allowed you? Kigambwoha: The commandant. Suuza: What was his name? Kigambwoha: At first it was the late Col Martin Temera and his successor, Brig George Kibirango also allowed us to continue with farming.
Suuza: In which barracks was Kibirango a commandant? Kigambwoha: CMRC in Mubende. Suuza: But you said you carried out cultivation in Ntungamo? Kigambwoha: He was commanding Ntungamo, Kyankwanzi and Mubende. They were all under his jurisdiction. Suuza: Was that permission in writing? Kigambwoha: No, but the same activities are still ongoing. Suuza: So, to whom would you sell your produce in 2013? Kigambwoha: There is a store near works. Suuza: Who was the owner of the store? Kigambwoha: I don’t know the actual owner but I used to deliver and they would buy. Suuza:
Why are you not telling the truth? This is an activity that you carried
out for two years and you cannot remember the person you sold your
produce to? Do you know the consequences of lying on oath? Kigambwoha: It’s the truth, my lord.
Suuza: Would you receive any documentation after the transaction? Kigambwoha: I didn’t. It was a casual transaction. Suuza: Did you have a bank account in 2013? Kigambwoha: I did, my lord. Suuza: Which bank and which branch? Kigambwoha: Centenary bank, Mubende branch. Suuza: What is the highest amount of money you have ever held in that account? Kigambwoha: Sometimes I get a loan… Suuza: No. Let’s talk about your savings from your business. Kigambwoha: The truth is I was not using the bank. I would use the proceeds to reinvest. Suuza: You have not answered my question of the highest amount of money held on that account? Kigambwoha: I cannot recall, my lord. Suuza: So, the Shs 50 million that you used to pay Mr Kaaya for the land, where did you get it from? Kigambwoha: I used to farm and I got a loan.
Suuza: Where were you keeping it? Kigambwoha: I used to keep it in the barracks. Suuza: You had Shs 50 million in the barracks. Was it under your bed or under your pillow? Kigambwoha: I had a wardrobe, my lord. Suuza: How long did it take you to put together that Shs 50 million? Kigambwoha: About a month. Suuza: And all that was from your produce? Kigambwoha: It was from my produce and other sources.
Suuza: What I don’t
understand is how you were able to keep that money in your bedroom yet
you had a bank account? And you cannot even remember the person who you
sold your produce to and you want us to believe you? Kigambwoha: I know the store but the people who work there keep changing. Suuza: How far was that store from your barracks? Kigambwoha: About two kilometers. Suuza: But you used to go to the store and never got to know the owner? Kigambwoha: I saw him once. Suuza: Did you try to get his name? Kigambwoha: I used to know the name but now I have forgotten. Suuza: Did you get any receipts from him after delivery? Kigambwoha: No, my lord.
Suuza: And we are talking about produce worth Shs 30 million. There is no documentation involved? Kigambwoha: It’s not that I sold the Shs 30 million in one go. I used to sell to him in bits of about Shs 5 million, Shs 4 million… Suuza: And that was over what period of time? Kigambwoha: I was not selling to one person because the prices could fluctuate from one buyer to another. Suuza: And you don’t remember any single buyer you dealt with? Kigambwoha: I knew him and his home but I don’t remember the name. Suuza: Let’s go back to Shs 50 million; you said it was kept in your bedroom, on the day of the purchase, how did you carry it? Kigambwoha: I had a vehicle.
b Is it normal to pay that amount of money by cash without a receipt? Kigambwoha: It is very normal for me.
Suuza: When we look at
the documents we have, not only are you an acquirer of the land but you
were presented as a son. Did you buy a position in the family of Mr
Kaaya? Kigambwoha: It’s not true. Suuza:
A meeting was held on March 26, 2014 at Kituule and it was chaired by
the Chief Political Commissar [Felix Kulayigye], are you aware of that
meeting? Kigambwoha: Yes, my lord. Suuza: Have you seen a copy of the minutes of that meeting? Kigambwoha: I have it. Suuza: Can we go to page seven of those minutes and read it out. Kigambwoha:
Witness reads, “Mr Kaaya informed the Chief Political Commissar that
his son Maj Eric Mutebi Kigambwoha and her daughter Naava Namutebi have
the powers of attorney over the said land. Media reports were only
exaggerating to incite the public.”
Suuza: Are you Mr Kaaya’s son? Kigambwoha: No, my lord. Suuza: Is your name Mutebi? Kigambwoha: No, my lord. Suuza: So, what can you say about those minutes? Kigambwoha: When they asked him, he admitted that I was his son. Suuza: Did you object? Kigambwoha: We were in a meeting… Suuza: Is he the one who gave you the name Mutebi? Kigambwoha: Yes, my lord.
Suuza: Why did he give you that name? Kigambwoha: He told me that in Buganda culture, you can be adopted in a family. Suuza: And why were they doing that? Kigambwoha: I also don’t know. Suuza:
You were in a meeting chaired by the Chief Political Commissar and you
are introduced as a son by a stranger and even given a name. You want us
to believe that you are innocent in this? Kigambwoha: When they asked him, he said I was his son and I was pleased... Suuza: The minute refers to you having powers of attorney; did you have any powers? Kigambwoha: Yes I was. I was given a copy.
Suuza: In respect to which land were you given powers of attorney? Kigambwoha: The remaining portion. Suuza: And why were you being given those powers? Kigambwoha: It was for the purposes of surveying the land and opening boundaries. Suuza: Why were you been given the responsibility of surveying; are you a surveyor? Kigambwoha: No, my lord. Suuza: Why were you given that responsibility? Kigambwoha: I was not given that responsibility personally. Suuza: The question is why were you being given the responsibility? Kigambwoha: I was given a document and I couldn’t object.
Suuza: Mr Kigambwoha, I
don’t think you are taking us seriously. You are an officer of the army
and presumed to have some basic understanding. So, someone brings you a
document assigning you a responsibility you have not asked for and you
remain silent? Kigambwoha: He was requested by the
residents that I should be among those with powers of attorney for them
to be sure that what we were doing was lawful. Suuza: What were you doing? Kigambwoha: We were surveying land. Suuza: Was that in respect of the 50 acres or the entire land? Kigambwoha: The entire land. Suuza: So, why were you involved in this? Kigambwoha: The residents did not know whether they belonged to Kaaya’s land or outside. Suuza: But what did you have to do with it, you were just a buyer. What was your interest? Kigambwoha: At that time, they had not carved off my 50 acres and we had to survey the entire land.
Suuza: So, when you paid the Shs 50 million, you didn't know what you were buying? Kigambwoha: I was only shown the side but it hadn’t been surveyed. Suuza: Why were you surveying the entire land? You were not a member of the family. You were not a surveyor. Why were you involved? Kigambwoha: I wanted to ascertain whether my side was squatter-free. Suuza:
Let’s look at the power of attorney. What did you do on the basis of
those powers of attorney in regard to those trespassing on the land? Kigambwoha: We were told by the residents to survey the land… Suuza: When you talk about the residents, can you name them? And in what manner they asked you to do that work? Kigambwoha: It was done through a meeting. Suuza: Where was it conducted and when? Kigambwoha: It sat near the church on March 26, 2014. The Chief Political Commissar was around and the Resident District Commissioner.
Suuza: Is that in the minutes? Kigambwoha: I think it’s on the minutes of the CPC. Suuza: But they are not there. You have had those minutes for years and you should be familiar with them. Those are rumors from you. Kigambwoha: That’s how it was. Suuza:
Kaaya owned the land with others. But now it’s Kaaya purporting to have
authorized you to take care of the land. Was that in order? Kigambwoha: When we asked him, he said one sister had died and the other was abroad. Suuza: Are you a habitual law breaker? Kigambwoha: No, my lord. Suuza: Are you a stubborn person? Kigambwoha: No, my lord. Suuza: The way you are answering these questions seems you did not bother to find out whether what you were doing was right or wrong? Kigambwoha: I didn't know my mistake but that is the truth.
Suuza: What was your role in the eviction of Mr Byangaramani? Kigambwoha: After surveying the land, Byangaramani knew that that land belongs to me and told me he had given up on issues of the land. Suuza: Why was he giving up? Kigambwoha: It was the house. Suuza: And that house was on your part of the land? Kigambwoha: He was the only person, my lord.
claim to have bought that land. We have evidence that all the signatures
on the agreements, including that of Kaaya, were just signed but did
not exchange any money. It’s on oath that all the powers of attorney
were signed under duress except for you and Naava. Kigambwoha: No, my lord. Bamugemereire: Do you know what it means to hold a gun and ask someone to sign an agreement? Kigambwoha: [Witness often referred to Justice Bamugemereire as Afande] It’s is not true.
me, Maj Kigambwoha, you did not pay money but surveyed the land and got
50 acres in exchange. Everything would have been okay if you had looked
for 50 acres which was not occupied but you used your power as a soldier
to evict people you called squatters. The soldiers in the course of
opening boundaries raped a woman… Kigambwoha: That is not true. Bamugemereire: Would you like to tell this commission who lives in the house of Mr Byangaramani? Kigambwoha: My in-law. Bamugemereire: First describe the in-law. We don’t know whether it’s a woman or a man? Kigambwoha: It’s the brother of my wife. Bamugememeire: When did he start living in that house? Kigambwoha: He came last year. Bamugemereire:
You found it proper to chase that family from the house and bring in
your in-law. You chased the owners of the house to Rwanda. Using your
colleague, you stamped on their family picture as a formal way of
deportation … Kigambwoha: All those are lies. I cannot deport someone from this country.
Bamugemereire: Is it a lie that a UPDF stamp appeared on the picture? Kigambwoha: That one I don’t know. Bamugemereire:
Good. What you will do is to go with our investigators to that Mubende
house. Organize yourself and identify your property and start the
process of leaving that place. We shall give you some days but starting
from now you are going with the investigators to Mubende. Thank you.