By Professor Oweyegha-Afunaduula
Elimination of people for one reason or another has been used in human societies, usually to settle scores, but also to avenge or prevent one or the other from achieving an objective, which others also want to achieve.
Greed, revenge, jealousy, hatred, selfishness, land conflicts, competition for power, being allergic to the truth or lies, and even failure of love projects, among others, have been central to eliminations of people from society.
The eliminations may be categorized as political, military or social just for the purposes of this article. But some eliminations of people have been imperial when groups from elsewhere have sought to conquer and dominate other groups which are less violent but more social, preferring to resolve questions and issues by social means only.
Many methods and weapons of offense have been used to solve conflicts, although in many cases the solutions have become the new problems. For example, to end the world war II, the USA chose to use the first atomic bomb to hit at Japan’s two cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, but in the wake of the bombing arose many radiation diseases, which are still apparent today. When I visited Japan in 2003, specifically Hiroshima City, I saw people who looked strange. I was told it was because of the atomic bombing.
In this article, I want to touch on the use of poison to eliminate people we do not want to continue being an integral part of humanity during our life time.
My thesis is that “Poison has been used in different families, communities, societies and nations to eliminate people politically, militarily and socially”. However, the use of poison to eliminate people has been accompanied by concealment and denial. It is rare that those who poison are identified and punished, especially if the notice is political and military.
Fear of poison in Uganda in recent times has reorganized society and the behavior of people. For example, those who are too fearful for their lives now carry their food and drinks to functions and hotels rather than be served from the table.
They fear someone has been sent or hired to eliminate them. They feel insecure. This feeling of insecurity is getting more widespread in families, communities, nationally, regionally and globally, not because dangerous poisonous chemicals are being sprayed on crops, ostensibly to raise food production, yet people are being poisoned via the food chain, but because the fear of being poisoned by the hand of people hired or not hired to carry out the act.
Perhaps no country on Earth is credited with using poison as a political or military weapon as the defunct Soviet Union. Russia, which remains a relic of the Soviet Union, is known to have a long history of poisoning those who disagree with the regime in power, and is believed to be continuing with using poison to eliminate opponents of the regime in power. The latest poisoning I know of is that, which occurred in 2021, of Opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
Claims of poisoning in Uganda more for political reasons, are not new. In the 1960s, the Baganda claimed that Apollo Milton Obote, having deposed President Sir Edward Mutesa II, dispatched a beautiful Rwandese spy with poison to eliminate the former President.
Although an Independent British Inquest into the death of the deposed President dismissed the poison story as fiction, the minds of Baganda of the time never let the story go away. Obote died in 2005 without having convinced Baganda that he did not kill the former President using poison.
It is, however, during the long reign of President Tibuhaburwa Museveni that there has been widespread talk of use of poison to eliminate people as a practice. However, even during his bush war, but especially during the conquest of Teso, Acholi and Lango, there were claims that his military rebel outfit used to spread poisonous chemicals on food crops and water to eliminate people and livestock.
But such claims need to be corroborated, especially by people who were in the NRA during that time, if they are to be credible and to stand the test of time.
There are no claims that any of the rebel outfit in Luwero Triangle were poisoned by anyone, although most of the top 100 NRA combatants in Luwero are dead. Some died in the bush. Others died when they emerged from the bush.
Many of those who died bore names of either Banyarwanda or Bahima, but it is not easy to tell which ones were Banyarwanda or Bahima, especially because Banyarwanda can easily adopt Hima names or names of other cultural groups.
However, there is no doubt that Banyarwanda constitutes a substantial portion of the NRA in the bushes of Luwero; people like Rwigyema, Bunyenyezi and Kagame. It is such people who easily organized within the NRA as RPF/A and went on to invade Rwanda and overthrow the Hutu regime of Juvenal Habyarimana.
President Tibuhaburwa Museveni knows how best to reward those he fought with in the Luwero portion of Buganda. Few Baganda, however, seem to have been rewarded so far. The most rewarded Muganda, Katumba Wamala, survived an attempted assassination recently. Kasirye Gwanga, another Muganda of stature in the army is no more.
The children of his fallen combatants, however, must be in various stations in the army, police and civil service in the true spirit of only those who fought, or whose parents fought, must access the national cake”. Unfortunately, this would mean the national cake is shared by people from only one region: Western Uganda, most likely closely related ethnically and in terms of kinship. This needs thorough research to establish the truth.
It is only more recently that poisoning as a political and military tool has been evoked to explain the untimely deaths of some people; especially those associated with the bush war. These include Aronda Nyakairima, Noble Mayombo, Kasirye Gwanga, Eriya Kategaya, Oketta, Paul Lockech and Pecos Kuteesa.
Curiously those who claim poison is used to eliminate high profile people have not told us that former Inspector General of Police (IGP), General Kale Kayihura was poisoned, or threatened by poisoning. They have not even claimed yet that there was any attempt to poison the former Inspector General of Police.
But there are also fallen non-military Ugandans whose deaths have been linked to deliberate poisoning. They include: Cerinah Nebanda, Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa, Sheikh Nuhu Muzaata and ArchBishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga. Those who were said to have been poisoned, but have so far eluded death are Nobert Mao, Grace Akullo and Rebecca Kadaga.
Currently one high profile person fighting for his life in an American Hospital, and who is claimed to have been poisoned, is Jacob Oulanyah. But as I wrote above, these can only remain claims until a regime functionary comes out and tells the world that he or she was the one who poisoned any of these people.
Otherwise it would be a stupid regime to agree that it poisons people. The Soviet Union, and Russia after it, never agreed that it poisoned or poisons its citizens respectively.
What I can say is that poisoning people because you want a political, military or social advantage unfairly is uncouth and a sign of cowardice. It hurts a nation, by depriving it of people who would otherwise contribute to the march forward of a country.
If people of alternative views and ideas are eliminated the intellectual diversity of a country is reduced, and the country may be vulnerable to relying on the intellectual capital of foreigners.
For God and My Country
The Writer is a Ugandan Scientist and Environmentalist
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