Kalungu Pastoralists Protest Release of Suspected Killer Army Officer

4639 Views Kalungu, Uganda

In short
Paul Rwahigi, a brother to the deceased says the release of Babumba is likely to jeopardize investigations.

Tension is high amongst pastoralists in Kiti village in Bukulula Sub County in Kalungu district following the release of Maj. Joel Babumba, a UPDF officer accused of murder. Babumba was picked up recently and arraigned before court in connection with the murder of Moses Kazungu, a resident of Kiti village.

According to prosecution led by Anne Kiiza, a state attorney on July 31, 2012 the suspect together with others waylaid Kazungu on his way from Lukaya town council and shot him before they chopped his body over a land dispute. Trouble between the two started after Babumba reportedly tried to annex Kazungu's land to expand his farm in vain. 
He reportedly threatened to end the life of the deceased and take his land. However, last week, Babumba applied for bail on grounds of ill health. He told court presided over by Justice Margaret Oguli he was suffering from hepatitis, which can't be handled at Masaka Central prison health.

Babumba presented documentary evidence showing that he has been grappling with the disease ever since he was deployed to Somalia two years ago. He asked court to consider his medical condition and the congestion at Masaka Central Prison and grant him bail to access treatment elsewhere.

He presented five sureties who pledged to ensure the suspect appears in court whenever he is needed. In her ruling, Justice Oguli granted Babumba cash bond of shillings 5 million and surrender a land title to court. She also asked each of his sureties to execute a non cash bond of shillings 10 million each.
Justice Oguli ordered Babumba report to court on 31st March this year. The release of Maj. Babumba on bond has not gone down well with pastoralists, family and friends of the late Moses Kazungu. The pastoralists have vowed to fight Babumba should he dare step foot on their village. 

Paul Rwahigi, a brother to the deceased says the release of Babumba is likely to jeopardize investigations. He claims that, Maj. Babumba has a network of hit men who can eliminate witnesses and stir more trouble.

 // Cue in: " We are seeing…
Cue out: …finish your brother."//

 Godi Kamuhanda, another resident of Kiti says they will be forced to fight Babumba if he goes back to their community. He wonders why court released him yet he is a murder suspect. Rashid Ssekasamba, another resident claims that Maj. Babumba kidnapped and dumped him in Lweera for expressing himself on the murder of Kazungu. 
Ssekasamba says with Maj. Babumba out of prison he doesn't expect justice to prevail. Ruth Komugisha, the Lwabenge sub county LC V councilor has asked President Yoweri Museveni to present Maj. Babumba before the court martial for abuse of power and misuse of his gun.

// Cue in: "The land problem…
Cue out: …Kalungu district."//


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.