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Winnie Kiiza: We called Police but they delayed so we opted for social media

Security responses to the alarm show a contradiction. Earlier, Police and the Army said Yokasi Bihande had travelled to Kampala when they arrived at the home, but later Police said he was locked inside the house, refused to come out when officers arrived.

SECURITY | The family of Kasese Woman MP Winnie Kiiza called Police to report the presence of armed strangers staking out their home in Kiburara, Kasese District, before they turned to social media with distress calls.

Kiiza and her husband Yokasi Binande Bwambale on Sunday claimed that armed men in military uniform had been spotted staking out their country house in Kiburara. They claimed that the target was Bihande and that he would be shot dead if he turned up home.

But both Police and the UPDF downplayed the alarm raised by the former Bukhonzo East MP and his wife, saying instead they neither reported nor cooperated with authorities who responded to their social media posts.

“Actually, we called Police about the matter,” Kiiza told Crime24. “As usual, they took their time and come later.  By that time,my husband and I had resorted to the use of social media to alert our friends, neighbours relatives and the entire world about our situation.”

She said resorting to social media had saved the day as the situation became a matter of concern for many.

Bihande told this news website Monday morning that he was safe and that the strange men had disappeared into the night as soon as the social media post went viral.

“Anyone with bad intentions wouldn’t have stayed around after that message had gone viral,” he said.

Earlier, Defence spokesperson Richard Karemire said when Bihande sounded the first alarm to the Regional Police Commander Rwenzori East on Friday, the DPC Bwera was dispatched but did not find anything amiss at the home.

“Yesterday evening when he made similar allegations, both UPDF and Police squads reached his home in a very short time,” Brig Karemire said.

“Surprisingly, the home was locked and his manager confirmed to the team that Bihande left earlier for Kampala. So Bihande actually posted falsehoods when he was not at his home.

He said the conclusion of false alarm had been proven by Bihande’s manager, a one Jimmy, as well as technical systems used by security that showed the exact location of Bihande at the time he posted the claims.

But Kiiza fight back at security, accusing them of taking too long and only responding after the social media post.

“I am shocked that security officers who also arrived after we decided to post the matter on social media  now accuse us of trading in falsehoods as if we asked for payment from them,” she said.

Security contradicts self

Later on Monday, Police said it had decided to pay more attention to the alarm raised by the couple, saying “these are very serious allegations.”

In a statement, Police said that on Friday September 21, at around 10:45pm, DPC Bwera Police Station received a call from a member of the public who claimed that Bihande had told him that some two armed people were in his compound with a possible motive of harming or killing him.

But in contradicting earlier accounts Police and the UPDF had given to various media, Brig Karemire was quoted as saying that Bihande was not at home when the DPC arrived, and that his manager had told Police that the former MP had travelled to Kampala early morning.

Police also said something similar, accusing Kiiza and Bihande of not cooperating when officers responded to their alarm.

However, the latest statement signed by Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima indicates that Bihande was in the house but did not physically interact with the Police despite the efforts by officers to do so.

“He only spoke to the DPC on telephone stating exactly what the gentleman who called the Police had stated. The Police kept watch over the house and saw no one that night,” Kayima said.

He said that on Sunday, it was Godfrey Atkins Katusabe, MP Bukonzo West, who called the DPC Bwera Police Station with the same claims.

“Immediately, the police dispatched a team of officers to proceed to the area to handle the matter. The Regional Police Commander Rwenzori East worked hand in hand with our sister security agencies and dispatched another joint team of officers to support the earlier one sent,” Kayima said.

“Both teams of officers found no intruders or strangers in the home or even in the area. The joint forces had an interface with the domestic workers of Bihande who too disclosed ignorance of the alleged intruders/strangers. The manager and herdsman promised to keep us in the know in case any intruders/strangers are sighted in the locality.”

However, he said the claims were too serious to be ignored, so Police have taken a decision to open a General Enquiry File to investigate the allegations.

So why is Kiiza and Bihande

It still remains unclear why Kiiza and Bihande, both Opposition FDC members, are being followed as they claim. Kiiza told Crime24 she has yet to put her mind to motives, but that it could be down to issues at the International Criminal Court or Great Lakes region politics.

She did not elaborate.

On Sunday, a source with knowledge of security matters told this news website that Kiiza was just being intimidated over the issues at The Hague after ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda confirmed that her office was reviewing a petition to investigate the Kasese massacre of November 2016.

During the 2016 attack on the Rwenzururu Royal Palace by UPDF soldiers and police officers under the command of Maj Gen Peter Elwelu,at least 100 civilians and royal guards were killed and Rwenzururu king, Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere was arrested.

In December 2016, a group of Members of Parliament from the Rwenzori sub-region petitioned ICC to investigate the human rights violation in respect to the Kasese massacre.

The petition was against President Museveni in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the armed forces — he is accused of having directly given the orders —, Gen Elwelu and Asuman Mugenyi, a top police officer who led the police wing of the force during the killings.

Other speculations suggests Kiiza and Bihande are being watched since the family appear too close to Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, whose political rise is causing much excitement in the country.

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