State Minister for ICT Aidah Nantaba has finally fled the country and sources close to her say she doesn’t intend to return to Uganda anytime soon. Her secret friend Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume Kaginda says he has impeccable evidence that the Minister won’t be coming back soon. Kaginda, who on 18th July 2019 protested her prolonged absence on the floor of Parliament tasking Premier Rugunda to explain, says Nantaba has for long been targeted for murder by Mafia actors against whom the State has failed to protect her. Kaginda equally spoke out on the floor in March even Sebulime had just been murdered.
Back then Nantaba, who said it had a lot to do with the President, had just gone into house confinement following public outrage that followed the murder of Ronald Sebulime who Mukono/Naggalama police operatives shot dead after coming under pressure from her claiming the man was trailing her with a sinister motive. Kaginda said on the floor of Parliament that the President’s directive requiring Nantaba to keep indoors was in bad faith and amounted to depriving her Kayunga electors of adequate representation.
He maintained Rugunda wasn’t telling the truth as his information was that the Kayunga Woman MP (now in 2nd term) was under house arrest. Nantaba sneaked out last Saturday and during the week, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga prompted Rugunda to respond to Kaginda’s claims that the outspoken lady had gone for asylum in Canada. Rugunda’s answer contradicted what the Speaker had prior to his arrival told Parliament.
She said Nantaba had obtained her permission as Speaker to travel to Canada for an indefinite holiday adding that Ugandans (who have been discussing Judith Babirye) should get used to such because MPs too are human and deserve resting. On his part, Rugunda inadvertently contradicted the Speaker by telling Parliament he is the one who authorized the Nantaba travel to Canada for official duties.
That two powerful officials (Kadaga and Rugunda) gave different reasons to explain Nantaba’s flight is what many consider reason enough not to easily dismiss reports that Nantaba might unexpectedly prolong her stay just like former Labor Minister Bakoko Bakoru did years earlier. Why would Kadaga say it’s for leave and Rugunda says she is away for official government work? Circumstantially this points to more than meets the eye.
The circumstances preceding Nantaba’s departure too give credence to fears she might secure Canadian asylum and doesn’t come back to Uganda. This Canadian plan was first exposed by Sebulime family’s controversial lawyer Nkunyingi Muwada who on the Monday of 15th July told Mukono’s Magistrate Juliet Hatanga that the Minister was processing relocation to Canada. He urged the Magistrate to issue an arrest warrant against Nantaba whom he said was planning to run away from jurisdiction which would make it impossible for her to face trial and answer for the murder of Sebulime.
Muwadda was before court to justify his private prosecution proceedings against Nantaba who he said had been let off the hook by DPP Mike Chibita. Of course (perhaps for obvious political expediency reasons), the Magistrate declined issuing the arrest warrant even after the Minister defiantly snubbed her earlier summons. Being the flamboyant attorney, he is, Muwadda must now be chest-thumping telling everyone ‘I told you.”
M7 SNUBS HER
Reliable sources close to her say that, convinced the four powerful people she says want her dead hadn’t surrendered or given up, Nantaba has since March been making frantic efforts to speak to the President but unsuccessfully. She recently told close friends she realizes her phone was blacklisted by the President’s handlers as all her calls couldn’t go through.
This sharply contrasts with 2013 when she easily rang the President directly and spoke to him publicly during her anti-land grabbing rally in Kayunga. She considers that the President’s handlers have been working hard to deny her audience with H.E. That she was told she can only speak to him if he takes initiative and calls her himself like he did in March immediately after the Sebulime murder.
Nantaba says back then the H.E. implored her to keep indoors until he completes his investigations and calls her back. That phone call hasn’t come through yet Nantaba says she hasn’t been attending Cabinet and Parliament since then.
She has mostly been living in her huge residence in Namugongo. That she was fearing being bumped off by the Mafia actors whose capabilities she says by far outweigh what her SFC Guards, led by a one Grace Tugume, are capable of fighting off. The 39-year-old Minister wanted to use the meeting or audience with the President to detail him about the extent to which the plot to kill her is a real one.
On Monday 29th July, she spoke to journalist Semei Wessaali of state-owned Bukedde newspaper and specifically claimed those prepared to pay anything for her death are powerfully placed and are four in number. She said three of them are very powerful military generals who largely want to avenge her efforts blocking them from grabbing poor people’s land in Kayunga. The 4th person she said is a civilian whose desire to bump her off she said was a public secret well known by many in the public domain.
She said she wasn’t comfortable disclosing the reason angering that 4th person and only kept saying “all that is well known by members of the public who are keen and vigilant.”
She told the Bukedde paper that the President first became privy to plans to occasion breaches in her personal security in June 2016. That a very big person in security, ostensibly working for one of the four people wanting her dead, ordered the grabbing of her chief bodyguard Grace Tugume, as she left Serena Conference Center where the President had just spoken after budget reading.
That the powerful actor caused Tugume to be incarcerated in a holding facility in Entebbe where he was accused of acting violently towards people who were opposed to Nantaba’s reelection as Kayunga Woman MP in 2016. He was accused of brutalizing many voters using blunt objects simply because they backed Nantaba’s opponent Juliet Nalunga who in the end polled 13,184 against the incumbent Nantaba’s 86,057 votes.
Nantaba says Tugume was only released after she reported the matter to the President who directly intervened. She recalls; “I reported to the President who called that big security chief and grilled him in my presence. He asked him why did you arrest Nantaba’s bodyguard? What wrong did he do? The big security chief said he brutalized people in Kayunga and the President said where does he get the machetes when he is from the SFC? Do we give them machetes apart from the guns for their work? The President was very bitter that day and the security chief became speechless. He was eventually removed from the office he was occupying and sent abroad for further training. And on return, he was deployed in a different capacity and not where he was when he ordered Grace Tugume’s arrest.”
Nantaba says its true all Ministers are bound by the oath of secrecy but hastens to add in the Bukedde interview; “That oath has nothing to do with protecting criminals and not speaking out to expose wrongdoers in government.”
She told the state-owned vernacular newspaper in the same 29th July interview that the one responsible for the prominent deaths like that of Joan Kagezi, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, Mohammed Kiggundu, Ibrahim Abiriga and DPC Mohammed Kirumira is a big person in government “and that’s why these things aren’t being talked about.” She stressed in the same interview she wouldn’t entertain anyone hiding behind the oath of secrecy she took to gag her not to rebuke those “murdering our ordinary people.” She implied that whereas many are languishing in jails over the above prominent murders, the real actual murderers aren’t touched. She didn’t elaborate.
But it’s also true that Nantaba has politically been very paranoid of late. Kayunga, which was once her unassailable stronghold, has significantly slipped away from her firm grip politically speaking. A faction of NRM diehards against her, led by the wealthy party district Chairman Moses Karangwa, has lately been growing and winning over defectors from her own inner circles.
She has lost many former allies in the Sub Counties and district councilors who flocked with her in 2016 as she easily floored Karangwa-backed Juliet Nalunga. The LC5 Chairman who was her key ally isn’t on good terms with her anymore. The same goes for many of the young men in trading centers who previously adored her but have since de-camped.
Karangwa has gone as far as infiltrating even the Kayunga SDA Church which has always been Nantaba’s block vote. Taking advantage of the fact that Nantaba is stingy and doesn’t facilitate political work despite being vastly rich (with properties in Namugongo, Busega & UK, Karangwa went to her own Church in Kayunga where she practices/prays from and donated a huge public address system which members had for years been contributing for without Nantaba doing anything as Minister.
She reacted furiously calling this betrayal and her rants caused a split in the Church as two factions emerged one loyal to her and another okaying Karangwa’s gesture. Some members have since left to join another distant Church.
Karangwa last weekend, as Nantaba flew out to Canada, led a group of generous aspiring politicians from Kayunga to Kireka SDA fundraising where they delivered trucks full of cement. Pastor Samuel Kajoba was at hand to receive their generous contribution, a thing that must have angered Nantaba beyond reproach.
Like he always does these days wherever he goes, Karangwa carried with him his girl Jacqueline Birungi who is already campaigning to oust Nantaba and become the next Kayunga Woman MP come 2021. They promised more groceries leaving the SDA gathering very excited.
All these have combined to politically make Nantaba to feel very isolated and overstretched leading to paranoia that makes her think everybody she comes across is out to get her. Some say that Nantaba, who says Kadaga has allowed to be away indefinitely, might return months to nominations and attempt to put up a fight to defend her Kayunga Woman MP Seat though it isn’t going to be an easy fight.
Whereas her absence from the Togikwatako vote alienated her from some people in government who felt the big man badly needed that one extra vote, many young voters felt betrayed because they wanted her to be present and make history being the only Minister voting against the executive on such a very sensitive bill. Such voters, mostly defiant young men and women in the towns, have never forgiven Nantaba for that betrayal yet her absence is what the Karangwas are now using to portray her as one with lukewarm commitment when it comes to defending things in which the President has vested interest