TUMUKUNDE PLOT TO CRIPPLE IGP’S BOY BLAISE UNMASKED
By Our Reporters
Credible reports reaching Mulengera news show that Security Minister Gen Henry Tumukunde’s camp has intensified efforts to isolate and eventually deflate their adversary IGP Gen Kale Kayihura. The strategy is to ensure that all the different groups of vigilantes through which Kayihura does the President’s mobilization-and therefore remain in his good books-are urgently annihilated. With the Nixon Agasirwes and Abdul Kitata, who boasted of hundreds of thousands of Boda riders across the country gone, it appears all eyes are now on Blaise Kamugisha whose Crime Preventers are said to be 11m allover Uganda. Like Kitata and Nixon were for a long time, Kamugisha remains very close to Gen Kayihura and has always been since they first met and agreed to work together some 5 years ago. And it’s not very hard to understand why the Tumukunde camp would like to see Blaise Kamugisha discredited at the earliest opportunity. There is a history of enemty and confrontation between the Rtd General and Kamugisha. In early 2016, Tumukunde who had just reconciled with Museveni but hadn’t yet been made a Minister drove to Fort Portal to bolster the chances of his son Amanya Tumukunde who was standing for Western region youth MP. Amanya faced eventual winner Mpaka Mwine who is the son of Bright Rwamirama another well connected Minister from Ankole. Mpaka Mwine, himself a sympathizer to the Crime Preventers’ cause, had the active support of key leaders of the Crime Preventers Forum. We have reliably learnt that Gen Tumukunde rushed to the voting venue in order to neutralize the activities of the pro-Kayihura crime preventers whose overall commander in none other than Blaise Kamugisha.
ANGRY PHONE CALL:
Tumukunde didn’t know Kamugisha personally but had heard about the name of a young man who, besides Abdul Kitata, was the backbone of Kayihura-supervised political mobilization for the NRM and the President. So on reaching the voting venue, Gen Tumukunde endeavored to identify Blaise Kamugisha only to be told he was in Kampala from where Tumukunde concluded he was supervising the pro-Mpaka Mwine mischief against his son Amanya. Using a private number, Gen Tumukunde rang Blaise Kamugisha and admonished him in Runyankore, Kiswahili and English for more than 30 minutes. An overwhelmed Blaise Kamugisha labored to explain to him politely that “Sir I’m really a nobody to be able to do the things you are accusing me of doing in that election and I’m in Kampala for your own information.” Tumukunde’s concern was why more than 20% of the delegates at the voting hall were crime preventers. Blaise Kamugisha explained to him “Sir that is possible simply because our Crime Preventers’ movement has attracted all youth leaders who are ready to volunteer to help police fight crime and it so happens many of them are elected leaders in the districts’ youth structures.” What annoyed Tumukunde even more and prompted him to conclude this was a very indifferent young man is what Blaise further told him. “Sir it’s a fact and not a crime we are going to apologize to anyone about. The crime preventers are only 20% in that Electoral College but they are very influential and they are going to determine who carries the day.” Still on phone, burning with rage, Tumukunde assured the young man thus: “It’s okay I have heard what you are saying but you just know I’m going to deal with you personally because this nonsense must stop.” The two assured each other of being militarily well secured with Tumukunde assuring the young man thus: “you may consider it very critical that you have the entire police force behind you but better get to know there is also the military and we all have access to these things.” The confrontational phone exchange occurred moments before Tumukunde, who badly wanted his son to be in Parliament, was shot by police operatives guarding the venue. This was in the melee that resulted from what originally seemed like a tight race between Mpaka and Amanya. In the end, Tumukunde lost both the race (to Mpaka) and his own blood following the shooting he endured. By that time the current public fallout between Kayihura and Tumukunde was still mild not so much in the open like today.
TUMUKUNDE’S SON MEETS BLAISE:
But the animosity between Tumukunde and Blaise Kamugisha remained. After the Fort Portal elections, Amanya sought audience with Blaise Kamugisha and the two met for evening tea at 256 in Kololo. Amanya, who had sought the meeting, did much of the talking with Blaise listening mostly. Amanya proposed they forget the past and forge a way forward on how they can work together as young leaders. As they parted, the two agreed it was possible for Blaise Kamugisha to continue working for Gen Kayihura without necessarily being antagonistic to Gen Tumukunde. Blaise Kamugisha reportedly assured Amanya that “These are two Generals with a long history of agreements and disagreements and I don’t’ see why I should make myself part of whatever disagreements they might be having as of now. I’m in mobilization which is civilian-based and I have nothing to do with their operations-related disagreements because I’m not in any military operations. Ours as crime preventers is crime intelligence gathering.” He also told Amanya he had nothing personal against him given that he doesn’t even know him that much. “But right from the start the problem was that Gen Tumukunde used a wrong approach the way he approached me and other crime preventers. He should have wooed us to support you comrade Amanya persuasively as opposed to threatening as if there were no other candidates in the race,” Blaise Kamugisha reportedly told Amanya. They agreed to keep in touch hoping such informal dialogue would ease up things between the two Museveni Generals. For unknown reasons, they didn’t keep in touch and mistrust between them continued. “Yes they met but a lot of work remained to be done to build that relationship and no effort was undertaken,” says a youth leader that knows the two politically very ambitious young men.
Then came Rukiga by-elections when the new district was operationalized sometime last year. In the NRM primaries both the Kayihura and Tumukunde camp sought to have an upper hand in who becomes the NRM flag bearer. Tumukunde’s people had a candidate who actually became the eventual winner against the one backed by the Kayihura camp. After party primaries, the pro-Kayihura candidate sought to run as independent but on Tumukunde’s prompting, Museveni moved faster and talked her out of being in the race on independent ticket. During the NRM primaries campaigns, things became heated up that Museveni had to ring the two Generals asking them to each withdraw their mobilization squads whose activities risked causing bloodshed in Rukiga. Before they withdrew, crime preventers who were led by Blaise Kamugisha’s deputy Brian Mauso got confronted by Tumukunde’s guys who threatened to arrest them. An argument ensued in which the crime preventers argued “we aren’t police. We are civilians and NRM. Which crime do we committee getting involved in a political activity in a manner that promotes the NRM interest?” Kayihura intervened and the boys left Rukiga enabling Tumukunde-backed candidate to carry the trophy. Before things escalated, efforts were made to give cash to crime preventers persuading them to leave Rukiga and when that carrot approach failed, Gen Tumukunde’s men considered the stick approach deploying coercion.
Like many other senior cadres working for Museveni, Gen Tumukunde can sometimes be very unforgiving and reliable intelligence sources have told Mulengera news that the General from Rukungiri never forgave the Crime Preventers Forum national coordinator Blaise Kamugisha and has always sought an opportunity to strike and hit him hard. Indeed CMI operatives loyal to Gen Tumukunde have taken advantage of the ongoing purge of Kayihura’s men to begin preparations to eventually get the President give his no objection to the much anticipated cracking of the whip on the crime preventers forum top leaders. As they await the President’s nod, the Tumukunde camp members have intensified espionage activities around the person of Blaise Kamugisha, his Deputy Brian Mauso and other influential group coordinators based in the districts. The coordinators are being approached with promises for money and good government jobs in case they can co-operate volunteering potentially implicating criminal information they may be having about Blaise Kamugisha. One of the areas a case is being attempted against Blaise concerns the more than 200 boda bikes that police procured and Gen Kale entrusted them to Blaise Kamugisha ostensibly to intensify crime intelligence gathering during the election period. “The case is being built that Blaise criminally sold off these motorcycles which were bought on government money. That can be a case and the state doesn’t have to win it. It only has to be used to destroy the man’s image and by the time he is bailed, he has been painted dirty and therefore unfit to lead any youth organization,” said knowledgeable government sources. The motorcycles were advanced to crime preventers in the most vulnerable areas of Uganda to enable crime intelligence-gathering activities by them. Separately, a group of disgruntled crime preventers’ coordinators were recently collected and taken to the President to make a case that Blaise Kamugisha’s men had previously been terrorizing wealthy livestock farmers in Ntungamo. They are specifically accused of using their positions and closeness to Gen Kale to grab people’s cattle and extort money from wealthy livestock farmers in especially Ruhaama Sub County. The same defectors were also made to tell Museveni that Blaise Kamugisha and other top leaders of the group had eaten money advanced to them for work but Museveni, who previously had hosted Blaise Kamugisha for two days at his Kisozi farm, surprised the group when he wondered which money the leaders can steal. “Even if they were thieves, where can they access money? I thought crime preventers’ forum is a movement of volunteers who never get to touch government money,” sources quoted Museveni as saying. One of the defectors turned out fake (had never been a crime preventer) when Museveni used leading questions and led him into referring to Blaise Kamugisha as someone elderly approaching 50 yet the young man is barely 30. This gave Museveni the impression that these defectors didn’t even know the man whose corrupt dealings they were purporting to report to him. On another occasion a group of guys were taken to Museveni at night and on being overwhelmed being in the presence of the President, the guys confessed to be newly recruited and hadn’t stayed in the group long enough to know much about the alleged scandals of top leaders of the Crime Preventers Forum. Some of the guys in Tumukunde’s camp believe that discrediting the crime preventers and making a case against Blaise Kamugisha once he is apprehended will be easy since there is consensus in the opposition groups especially FDC that his 11m members are nothing but Museveni’s voting machines. Indeed this FDC connection was corroborated recently when a volunteer who was managing social media platforms for the group was caught wooing members to cooperate in spying for Ingrid Turinawe and other FDC diehard leaders on the group’s activities and plans. The young man, who had previously belonged to Mbabazi’s Go-Forward, was summoned in the crime preventers’ top leaders’ meeting and asked to leave. It was agreed he won’t use any information in his possession to antagonize the group on social media. Neither would the leadership of the organization tolerate any witch-hunt by aggrieved members against him. We couldn’t readily establish whether this was for purposes of eluding intensifying espionage activities but we reliably established that the Crime Preventers Forum has since closed its Wandegeya office and they currently only operate from a huge storied tiled building in Naguru not very far from Police headquarters. We are not sure whether this is because of the much anticipated raid on the group headquarters by Gen Henry Tumukunde’s men. Watch this space for more updates on this crackdown on the Kayihura-backed Crime Presenters Forum.