There are reports from sources
within Ugandan state security of panic within the Ugandan government two days after the July 11,
2010 bomb blasts that killed dozens of people in the capital Kampala.
Background to the
Sources close to the top layer of the Ugandan military and intelligence
establishment say that the bomb blasts in Kampala have taken on a dimension that potentially could
spin out of control.
When the bombings were planned, it had not been anticipated that there
would be several western casualties, particularly Americans.
Now that Americans were injured
and one died, it has brought in the might of the U.S. federal investigative machinery.
the Ugandan police that claims to investigate major incidents like this only for the reports to
disappear, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is going to work to completion. What the
FBI will uncover will dismay the Museveni regime.
A top source in the Ugandan army speculates
that the bombs were set off in order to justify seeking more money and equipment from the United
For example, it had originally been planned that the Ange Noir discotheque near
Kampala's Industrial Area would be bombed. Howerver, the idea was dropped, according to leaked
intelligence information, because many ministers, army officers and their children frequent this
That was when it was decided to claim that the suicide bomber jacket had been
found in a night club in Makindye, a Kampala suburb.
Yesterday, Tuesday July 13, the Uganda
police claimed it had arrested four suspects whom it implicated in the bomb attacks. When the media
asked who these men might be and their nationalities, the Ugandan police could only be
Even the usually gullible BBC World Service East Africa correspondent Will Ross
found this suspicious. In a report in the BBC world news, Ross said even after he pressed the
Inspector-General of Police, Maj. Gen. Edward Kale Kayihura, to give at least basic details of the
arrested suspects, Kayihura was evasive.
According to military sources, the Ugandan
intelligence hastily got four Somali prisoners of war taken from Mogadishu and being held in Kampala
army barracks, and is not using them to claim they could have been part of the so-called Al-Shabab
attack on Kampala.
Official statements on the bombings changing
Within a few hours of the July 11
bombings, the first Ugandan government official to suggest this could have been the work of the
Somali militants Al-Shabab, was Kale Kayihura. It is he who set the stage for the general pointing
of fingers by most of the world media at Al-Shabab.
However, once American casualties were
discovered and FBI agents started to come into Uganda from Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa, Kayihura
started to change his statement.
He urged Ugandans not to point the finger at anybody, not
necessarily at Al-Shabab and that the public should await investigations.
On Tuesday evening,
July 13, the Minister of State for International Coperation, Henry Okello Oryem, appeared as a guest
on the KFM programme, the Hot Seathosted by Charles Mwanguhya-Mpagi.
Okello Oryem suggested that
it was not categorical that this could have been Al-Shabab and that another group might have set off
Since Al-Shabab had threatened action against Uganda several months ago,
said Oryem, another group could have taken advantage of this and attacked Uganda, knowing all
fingers would inevitably point at Al-Shabab.
Thus, from being almost definite that it was
Al-Shabab, both from Kayihura and the army spokesman, Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, the stage was being
set for a gradual shift of accusing finger by the Uganda government from Al-Shabab to some other
Kayihura later started to speak with some emphasis about the Uganda rebel group, the
ADF, which in the past had been accused of planting bombs in and around Kampala.
explain how he had suddenly stopped blaming Al-Shabab and now seemed to be blaming the ADF, Kayihura
pointed out that the ADF and Al-Shabab have a working relationship.
Since the bomb blasts,
the ADF has not issued a single statement and has not claimed any part in the attacks.
would the Ugandan authorities start to quietly stress the ADF and no longer emphasise Al-Shabab,
even after Al-Shabab had publicly assumed responsibility for the bombings?
The answer to this
goes back to who it was that actually planned and carried out the bomb attacks.
Ugandan state knows that with the FBI now carrying out their on-site forensic investigations and
detectives from Britain's Scotland Yard police division set to fly into Uganda today, Wednesday July
14, the investigations have gone out of Ugandan government control.
As the Uganda Record has
insisted from the beginning, the investigations are very likely going to uncover the fact that it
was not Al-Shabab that carried out the attacks and very likely bomb splinters and other pieces of
evidence will point to the same kind of ammunition used by the Ugandan army.
retraction of the accusations against Al-Shabab could be a first step in preparing Ugandans and the
world for the fact that it was not, after all, Al-Shabab that carried out the attacks.
President Yoweri Museveni and his
son at the scenes of crime
In all the post-bombing media coverage by the Ugandan
newspapers and television stations, something glared at the public but no commentator was able to
notice the significance of this.
When landslides struck the eastern Ugandan district of
Bududa earlier this year, President Yoweri Museveni accompanied by his bodyguards went to the area
to assess the damage.
Museveni that day wore military uniform and, unusually for a head of
state or retired army general, personally carried an AK-47 assault rifle. Most who saw that front
page photograph wondered what landslides had to do with the need to wear uniform and carry a gun on
the part of Museveni.
If an act of nature such as a landslide had necessitated the president
to appear at the scene in military uniform and with a rifle strapped over his shoulder, much more so
would it have seemed understandable if he arrived at the scenes of the Al-Shabab bombings in Kampala
in full battle fatigues.
However, Museveni on Monday morning appeared at the Ethiopian
Village Restaurant and the Kyadondo Rugby Club in a blue suit, with lightly armed bodyguards and an
averagely-sized escort vehicle convoy.
Considering that this was said to have been the
battle-hardened Al-Shabab and was the biggest bomb attack in Uganda's history, the casual air around
Museveni, his calm, unbothered tone as he addressed onlookers, and the lack of extra security,
should have raised some questions in the Ugandan and world media, but they did not.
Museveni and his entourage did not seem fearful of another attack at Kabalagala or Lugogo by
Al-Shabab, this time possibly targeting him?
All through the morning of Monday July 12, three
people were prominent at the scenes of the bombings: President Yoweri Museveni, his son Lt. Col.
Muhoozi Kainerugaba, and police boss Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura.
As was to be expected, the
Ugandan television and print media that day and in print the following day played up Museveni's
visit. He was photographed touring the two bomb scenes, addressing the public, visiting Mulago
Hospital to check on the injured.
The imagery was of a head of state showing concern, being
in charge, reassuring the public, being resolute and defiant toward Al-Shabab.
His son and
political heir-apparent, Kainerugaba, the commanding officer of the army's Special Forces, was also
portrayed as being at the scene, looking tough and in charge, every inch a professional soldier,
just like his father.
Once again, the Ugandan and international public did not notice this.
Here had just occurred a major national and international tragedy, involving scores of Ugandans and
the nationals of Ireland, Eritrea, Ethiopia and the United States.
If it was a terror
attack by Al-Shabab, the implications were global. The response would have been a total Ugandan
government show of force.
And yet, there was something amiss. The Vice President, Gilbert
Bukenya, was absent. The Prime Minister, Apolo Nsibambi, was not there.
The Minister of
Defence, Crispus Kiyonga, the Minister of Security, Amama Mbabazi, the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen.
Aronda Nyakirima, the Commander of the army's Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, the
Coordinator of the intelligence services, Gen. David Tinyefuza, the Director-General of the Internal
Security Organisation, Dr. Amos Mukumbi, the Director-General of the External Security Organisation,
Robert Masolo, the Chief of Military Intelligence, Brig. James Mugira, and many other cabinet and
top military and security officials were not at the scenes of crime accompanying President
The Kampala newspapers portrayed it as father and son shouldering the
responsibility of assessing the damage and looking like men in charge.
When the president
visited Mulago Hospital, the Minister of Health, Dr. Stephen Malinga did not feature. It was
Museveni alone, promising the victims in hospital that he, not the Ugandan government, would
All this begs the question: who planned these bomb attacks? Who stood to
gain politically? Who was it that received maximum Ugandan media coverage as apparing in charge and
displaying leader-like qualities?
Why was it done in such a way that the entire Ugandan
government at such a critical hour of national danger was portrayed as absent and only Museveni and
his son on duty, looking or talking tough?
Why was a Lt. Col. in the army portrayed by the
Ugandan media as taking charge of the situation and questions not asked where his superiors in rank
and office in the army were?
Why did Museveni not publicly ask his ministers to join him to
show a common government response? Why has Museveni since Monday not complained or criticised his
cabinet ministers and top security officials over not appearing at the bomb scenes?
Museveni seem satisfied that only he and his son should receive the limelight of media coverage and
benefit from the imagery of them as the only two men concerned enough about the situation at a time
of national calamity?
What, in other words, was the political goal of the July 11, 2010 bomb
attacks in Kampala?