On Monday March 30, 2015, just after 7:00 p.m, the Senior Principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi was shot dead by unknown gunmen trailing her on a motorcycle at Kiwatule in Kampala while driving her children home from school. The children were unharmed.
It was an incident that shocked the country and several hours later, was the lead story in the BBC World News bulletin, ahead of such major stories as the negotiations in Switzerland over Iran’s nuclear programme and the latest findings in the German Wings suicide plane tragedy.
The Uganda police immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was a murder linked to Kagezi’s prosecution of high profile terrorism cases.
The Ugandan media jumped to the conclusion that this was a murder linked to her prosecution of high profile terrorism cases.
The international media like the BBC and Radio France and other international broadcasters also jumped to the conclusion that this was probably linked to her prosecution of high profile terrorism cases.
Social media, of course, also had to jump to the same conclusion although a few lone voices raised a number of questions.
The more educated we become and the more digital gadgets we own, the less able to think we get.
There had been a build up for several days of warnings by the police about an impending terror attack on Uganda by Al-Shabaab. The message was repeated day after day. Then Mrs. Kagezi’s murder happened.
Perhaps the books we need to start buying and reading more are those on the history and workings of intelligence agencies like the CIA, Mossad and MI6. Then at last will Ugandans start really thinking critically.
We need such books much more urgently than we need books on management, accounting, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” or university textbooks.
A Ugandan social commentator, Drew Ddembe, wrote this on his Facebook wall on March 31, 2015, which is the level of analysis at which the Ugandan media and foreign media should have been reasoning:
“[It’s] too early to say why this lady was gunned down in front of her family. The immediate conclusion is that its related to the 7/11 [July 11, 2010] trial in which 70 people were killed in a Kampala bombing widely believed to have been master minded by Al-Shabaab.
But this may not be true. Quite frankly [it’s] too early to say and any conclusions really are speculation. one has got to keep an open mind till there is more information. I for one would be a lot more interested in which other cases she may have prosecuted in the past as well as her personal life. But in Uganda we love to jump to conclusions and run with them in effect sometimes inadvertently masking the real killers.
The modus operandi reminds one of Dr [Aggrey] Kiyingi’s wife’s death [in 2005]. She too [Robinah Kasirye Kiyingi] was a lawyer who was apparently about to release a report that was important enough for some people to get killed.
There are a few interesting things that one is struck by immediately:
- One is that [Joan Kagezi] was transferred to hospital in a police pickup and not an ambulance.
- That not only was [police CID director] Grace Akullo at the scene during the shooting but [Inspector-General of Police General Kale] Kayihura himself was at the scene within minutes! Almost like they were lurking around the corner.”
This last observation by Ddembe should attract the attention of the public the most, especially the final sentence.
Timothy Kalyegira is a Ugandan Veteran Journalist and currently the Editor of the Kampala Express, a Facebook Photo Newspaper.