Yesterday was a sad and fateful day that saw Arua Municipality Member of Parliament Hon. Ibrahim Abiriga and his body guard, Saidi Buga shot down close to his Kawanda home in the late evening between 6.30pm and 7pm.
According to the Kawanda residents, Abiriga who was a few metres from his home, was gunned down by unidentified men wearing masks. The residents say they heard about 10 gunshots which were riddled into the MP’s yellow car killing both instantly.
President Yoweri Museveni while addressing mourners at Hon. Abiriga’s residence in Kawanda, Wakiso district this morning called the killers behind the gruesome act idiots and a demonstration of stupidity of those opposed to NRM.
According to Museveni, the investigations into Abiriga’s assassination are ongoing and there is a high possibility that the masterminds behind the killings wanted to hurt the National Resistance Movement.
The Arua MP was famously known for his opinions on the age limit debate that saw him raise to fame. He was a devout supporter of NRM and the president and went as far as to buy himself a yellow painted Volkswagen Beatle.
During the age limit amendment debate last year, Abiriga’s Arua home was attacked by unknown arsonists who had thrown a small petrol filled jerrycan into his house in an attempt to cause a fire but failed miserably.
The story of Ibrahim Abiriga
In 1956 the late Arua MP, Col. Ibrahim Abiriga was born in the West Nile region. In 1971, he joined the Uganda Army (UA) and mostly served as the Manager of Pakuba Lodge in the present-day Murchison Falls National Park.
After the overthrow of Iddi Amin in 1979, he fled to Congo and Sudan. While in exile alongside other soldiers they formed resistance groups like the UNRF under Gen. Moses Ali that fought new successive governments in Kampala.
Ibrahim Abiriga later joined the NRA in 1986 where he rose to become the 2nd Division Administration Officer (DAO). He served in that position from 1988 to 1990 when his active military career informally ended.
A decade later, Ibrahim Abiriga contested for the Madi Okollo parliamentary seat but lost to his opposition candidate. Consequently, President Yoweri Museveni appointed Abiriga to the position of Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Arua District.
In May 2011, Abiriga accused the USA and UK of sponsoring the Walk to Work protests prompting the then UK High Commissioner, Martin Shaerman to vehemently protest. In December 2011 during the World Aids Day celebrations at Arua Police grounds, Abiriga called upon security agencies to use live ammunitions in quelling the Walk to Work protesters. He argued that the protests were being backed by donors and were meant to systematically overthrow the government.
After being transferred from Arua to Yumbe district as the RDC in 2014, in 2015 Abiriga quit the position of RDC to run for Member of Parliament for Arua Municipality on the Museveni party ticket.
It should be noted that one of the reasons for his desire to run for MP was because he felt he could serve his people better than as an RDC and was known for sometimes challenging government programs that did not favour the local people.
The late honorable has had an interesting history. In 1990, while still a captain back then. He was the Division Administration officer for the NRA’s 2nd Division based in Fort Portal before he was arrested by then Capt. Charles Angina over treason.
Together with his co-plotters like Col. Matovu who was the Chief of Personnel and Administration (CPA) at the army headquarters, Capt. Ali Chama and a few others were not formally charged but simply held by Military Intelligence in Kampala.
Since that time Abiriga never returned to active military service until over a decade later when he was formally discharged from the army. However, he did some special political and security assignments for Museveni in West Nile region in return for patronage.
President Museveni last night called the wife of the late to console her and the family and has vowed to find the people responsible for his death.
Members of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Arua District have reacted furiously to the news of Abiriga’s death and have vowed to revenge on whoever has taken his life.
May the souls of the two-departed rest in peace.
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project.
He is a freelance consultant passionate about tech, programming, games and entertainment.