The end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 was marked by high tension as unknown assailants launched the gruesome assassination of Ugandan muslim clerics.
The murder of Mayuge’s Sheikh Daktul Muwaya, the leader of the Shiite Muslim sect in Uganda sent shivers down the spines of many people beyond his home town of Mayuge to across East Africa. Daktul or Doctor, as he was famously known, was gunned down on Christmas day at his home in Mayuge, leaving behind a powerful legacy as a man of the people, a philanthropist beyond measure and a political kingpin of Mayuge.
The muslim community was not spared time to absorb the shock of Muwaya’s death before another prominent Sheikh was put to death in similar fashion by sharp shooters who had made the habit of travelling on boda bodas.
Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga was shot several times in the evening of December 28 at Bwebajja Mosque on Entebbe road near his home. He died as he was being rushed to hospital.
The Muslim community, more especially the Kibuli-based faction paused serious questions for the security bosses who could only provide what many considered weak responses that linked the murders to the rebel Allied Defence Forces (ADF).
The arrest of the leader of the Tabliq sector Sheikh Sheikh Younus Kamoga did little to reassure muslims that security agencies were in charge. This came hot on the heals of arguments that Kayongo and his William Street Tabliq sect had clues on the death of their colleagues at Kibuli.
Fear and tension continued to spread across the community as shown by repeated headlines of how several Sheikhs in Kampala had narrowly escaped.
In what appeared to be a final blow to the will of Kibuli-based muslim faction was the passing of the Supreme Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Zubair Kayongo on April 16 while in Tanzania. Although Kayongo had been suffering from high blood pressure, it is not clear if the successive murders of his comrades contributed to worsening his health.
While Ugandans were trying to get to terms with grief than were hit with yet another cold-blooded killing of Sheikh Hassan Kiirya, the Spokesperson at Kibuli.
Sheikh Kiirya was killed on July 1, at Kireka shortly after 10pm by men who were travelling on Boda boda. Kiirya’s cold-blooded murder in the Holly month of Ramathan, renewed fear and grief in the muslim community. Security bosses explained Kiirya’s death as revenge attack following the arrest og Mukulu.
Although the police is yet to give a conclusive report on the murder of Sheikhs, one hopes however that Kiirya’s murder will cap the frightening spell of selective killings of Ugandan muslim sheikhs that has claimed the lives of at least nine prominent Sheikhs across the country in two years.
The arrest of long-hunted ADF rebel leader Jamil Mukulu in Tanzania in June 2015 was described by Ugandan security agencies as a landmark victory especially in the war against the rebel force that has terrorised several parts of the country especially the Rwenzori region of Uganda and Eastern parts of the D.R Congo.
Mukulu was extradited to Uganda and paraded before journalists at Nalufenya police station in Jinja amid tight security. IGP boss Kayihura told Ugandans that Mukulu would face trial for committing heinous crimes against innocent Ugandans including the attacks on Kichwamba which hundreds of students were burnt, bombings on buses and bars before 2000, as well as the killing of over 10 muslim clerics in Central and Eastern Uganda since 2012.
Mbabazi’s mid-night declaration
On June, 15, 2015 Ugandans woke up to news that former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi had declared his presidential bid.
Mbabazi’s declaration put to rest rumours that the former right-hand man of President Museveni was now declared enemy number one. In a video message released on social media site youtube.com, Mbabazi announced he would seek nomination for the flag-bearer of his NRM party claiming that he could afford to abandon his party for which he had worked for more than 30 years.
Some may recall the words of Mbabazi who alluded to his candidacy as a historic moment. Mbabazi claimed his candidacy was about the future and about removing inefficiencies in government.
Mbabazi said: “You’ll be making a choice for your families, your children, and the generations to come. A new age is upon us, and upon this, our focus must rest. Yesterday is gone, and today’s challenges must have newer, better answers. Uganda can work, together let us make it work.”
In an 8-point agenda, Mbabazi appealed to young people by promising to create jobs and preserve peace and security and other achievements of the ruling party. He tried to distance himself from the failures of the NRM by claiming that he was never in charge of things.
After hearing Mbabazi’s youtube video, President Museveni rather panicked and staged an impromptu rebuttal, postponing a trip to South Africa.
Museveni blamed the failures and weaknesses on Mbabazi instead, saying that as Leader of Government business for four years.
Democratic Alliance launched
Mbabazi’s mid-night announcement came a week after the launch of a new political outfit – The Democratic Alliance at Hotel Africana on June 10. The TDA was a culmination of years of collaboration between opposition leaders with a pledge to Ugandans to have a single candidate who would challenge President Museveni in 2016 elections.
Mbabazi was absent at the TDA launch, but his sister in law Hope Mwesige said the former Prime Minister was in full support of the initiative. The presence of most of Uganda’s who-is-who in the opposition, suggested a new sense of unity.
The TDA negotiations and who of the opposition leaders was best suited to take the single candidate flag was a hotly debated subject in news outlets as well as in drinking joints.
But as days turned into nights, it became clear that the TDA agenda was Mbabazi’s well orchestrated plan to hi-jack the opposition despite his being a new kid on the block. Using the goodwill of retired Bishop Dr. Zac Niringiye, Mbabazi and civil society guru Godber Tumushabe mobilised several opposition leaders to support his candidacy.
But Besigye, who by October had won the flag of FDC in the 2016 elections, had warned his colleagues at the TDA launch that they should not expect an easy walk.
Mbabazi’s and his supporters in TDA spent an awful amount of time and resources trying to cajole Besigye into giving in to Mbabazi’s candidacy but in vain. Besigye vowed that he had not suffered years of oppression only to see NRM compete against NRM.
Mbabazi used the services, expertise and connections of former UN under-secretary general for children and UPC president Olara Otunnu to organise mediation teams that ended with the summoning of Besigye in London by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and former International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Moreno Ocampo.
Besigye, with strong backing from his party still refused to cede ground to Mbabazi citing his lack of evidence for grass-roots support, party structure that would enable him beat Museveni.
The talks were announced dead in October shortly before the Electoral Commission kicked off the presidential nominations on
General Aronda Dies
Before the political season got off to high speed, Uganda had lost one of its gallant sons and most courageous soldiers. The week of September 11, the mass media reverberated with the untimely news of the death Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, the minister of Internal Affairs and Uganda’s longest serving Chief of Defence Forces.
Gen. Aronda died mid-flight aboard Emirates airways while en route to Entebbe from Seoul, South Korea where he had gone with a team from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to inspect machines to verify National Ids.
Aronda’s death was mourned beyond East Africa because of his outstanding achievements in the pacification of Northern Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia, the historic and successful completion of the National Ids as well as his incorruptible service to his country.
Pope Francis visits
The month of November was a holly month for Uganda following the visit by Pope Francis on November 27.
Pope Francis’ brought to three the number of pope’s who had visited Uganda in history.
From the economic perspective, the year 2015 will be remembered as the year the shilling lost its value in a very short spell. The shilling lost 30 percent of its value compared to the dollar.
The music industry was marked by both good and bad news. The death of Emmanuel Mayanja aka AK 47 in March, and Harriet Kisakye in April, shook the music industry.
On a light note however, singer Eddy Musuuza’s aka Eddy Kenzo’s winning of a Black Entertainment Award (BET) Award was celebrated as a historic achievement for Uganda.
The Uganda National Football Team the Cranes’ victory in the CECAFA championship in Ethiopia brought Uganda a record 14th trophy in the championship.