Wednesday, March 8, 2017


The NRA court system traces its origin from the bush days when the main law was the NRA Code of Conduct. There was the Unit Disciplinary Commitee (UDC) at all unit levels to try minor offences committed by non commissioned officers from the respective Unit. Then there was the Field Court Martial meant to try capital offences arising during field operations. Then the General Court martials (GCM) that tried commissioned officers and catered for all capital offences that arose from all units. The Code of Conduct was replaced by the NRA Statute that retained the earlier court structure but only created the Court Martial Appeal Court.

With Operation Wembly, JATT, and CMI crackdown on the opposition, around 2001 Museveni set up a parallel General Court Martial headed by Gen. Tumwine to handle the victims of that bloody crackdown. After a brief misunderstanding with the main court martial headed by Guti, the Tumwine court martial took over the role of the NRA General Court Martial. It had members of the court who are army officers but laymen in legal issues, court legal advisors who are lawyers and army officers, then the defence team who are also lawyers and army officers and then the prosecutors who are either lawyers or paralegals.

All those different players in the General Court Martial are appointed by the Museveni. Around those dark days the major legal officers were Maj. Kabandize, Maj. Moses Wandera, Maj. Wakandya, Capt. Oryem, Capt. Kanyogonya, Lt. Harry Rurekyera, Cpl. Ceaser the O.C Special Investigations Bureau at Makindye Barracks. These so called Legal Officers were from the Directorate of Legal Services but CMI took over the role of directing them since some of them masquaraded as Prosecutors.

These officers who had for a long time established themselves within NRA legal circles, thrived on kickbacks from shoddy contracts, innapropriate procuments and briberies from the financial swindlers. When the GCM started handling victims of wanton crack down, these officers were at hand to fleece from the victims relatives and friends with promisses of facilitating their release.

The role of the Tumwine court martial was to relieve the safe houses (torture chambers) by simply reading charges of terrorim to the accused (plea taking) and then send them on indefinite remand. The terrorism law was even not yet in place! This way, no one would complain that the victim is illegally detained. The major detention facilities were Kigo Prison which had been taken over by CMI who could deposit and remove any victim at will for further torture even at past midnight.

To conceal their attrocities, the NRA Military Police and CMI guards took over security of Kiggo Prison. Another nortorious detention facility was the Military Police barracks at Makindye. Within the Barracks there were two sections i.e the underground cells commonly refered to as Go-down located a few metres from the main gate by turning left. This Go-down was also used by the Iddi Amin regime as a torture chamber. The Go-down housed hundreds of civillians incomunicado for over four years until when their list was leaked to the press around late 2005 when they were allowed visitors. They would often helplessly riot and soldiers would take positions on top on roof tops in full public view but Ugandas would not bother to find out why.

Then there is the wing for soldiers comonly refered to as Zimwe because its perimeter wall was constructed by Zimwe Construction. It had four structures with eight wards that were formerly Buganda kingdom cotton stores. The PRA Ituri group was housed in one of these wards. These ones were allowed vistors but not to attend court. Then there was the nortorius Quarter Guard solitary cells located at the main entrance. It is these detention facilities that Museveni alluded to when he made a public prnouncement "I have put them in a secure place where they cant escape".

Shortly after this pronouncement, within the next six months two different successful jail breaks took place at Makindye that saw about 15 victims regain their freedom. Because the second incident of June 2006 had involved sporadic gun fire, the public got alarmed and the panicy NRA embarked on reducing the numbers by dispersing others to different regional prisons. Both Kiggo Prison and Makindye barracks are among top revenue earners for the Buganda Kingdom government from Museveni!

The Tumwine court martial could not conduct any hearing because the innitial aim of the crack down had not been to bring justice but to suppress and scare the opposition. Also, a public trial would reveal the gruesome torture that had been metted on victims and more so implicate the NRA in fanning insecurity through its policy of 'deminifying the gun' into wrong hands. Those victims with politiacal related cases were coersed to seek amnesty while the fate of those on terrorism lay on the mercy of the Demi God, Tumwine. He imprisoned and intimidated civillian lawyers.


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