KAMPALA - The leader of Banyarwanda pastoralists in Buliisa district, western Uganda, has disclosed an alleged plot by area politicians to kill her.
Grace Bwororoza claims the plot was allegedly hatched by area MP Steven Birahwa Mukitale and a dozen local leaders in a night meeting, which started at around 10p.m and ended after 1a.m on November 23.
She says she got knowledge of the plot after a mole who attended the meeting alerted her.
Bwororoza and about 100 other pastoralists are accused by local politicians of illegally occupying the latter’s land.
She reported the matter to police and recorded a statement, according to Uganda Police Spokesman, Assan Kasingye.
“It is true we heard about those allegations, but I instructed the area Regional Police Commander, Martin Aporu, to handle the case,” Kasingye confirmed.
Aporu’s mobile phone was switched when we tried to contact him. Bwororoza claims her case file number is 05 reported on November 26, 2007 at Buliisa Police Station.
She alleges that MP Birahwa chaired the meeting conducted in Kisanya at the home of one of the residents she declined to name.
However, Birahwa dismissed the allegations, and instead said: “that woman is a criminal. She and her sponsors are trying to spoil the relationship between the Bangungu and Banyarwanda. My grand father helped Banyarwanda to come and access free pasture and water. In 2004, Grace (Bwororoza) and her colleagues hired armed people to destablise our area.
“The land is communal and I don’t have particular interest in the land as the area MP She has connived with police to arrest me.”
It is the second time Birahwa is embroiled in a criminal matter in a saga involving Banyarwanda pastoralists.
Four months ago, Birahwa was accused of assaulting Bwororoza, an incident that culminated into violence between the pastoralists and the Bagungu cultivators. The MP is yet to face the charges over that incident.
Bwororoza, in her letter to the Inspector General of Police, alleged that Birahwa reportedly expressed unease that the Bagungu, his tribe mates were likely to be defeated in a High Court suit filed by the herdsmen.
Bwororoza and a few of her colleagues applied for an injunction in High Court to avert their eviction, which had been ordered by President Yoweri Museveni at the request of local politicians.
The Banyarwanda pastoralists claim they legally purchased the land contrary to the Bagungu’s assertion that it is communal land.
The cattle keepers allege they are being victimized because of settling on land housing massive oil deposits that were discovered early this year.
“So let us kill Bwororoza because she is the one leading the Balalo in Buliisa, and if she is killed all other Balalo shall quit and even the High Court cases shall stop since she is the key figure in them,” Birahwa said, according to Bwororoza.
Bwororoza identified two assassins who were allegedly hired to accomplish the mission as Musinguzi Barinda and John Komakech, all residents of Kigorobya in the neighbouring Hoima district.
When contacted on phone, the Regional Criminal Investigation Department chief Bangirana also confirmed Bwororoza had contacted police about the murder plot.
He said: “We are still investigating the case. We are looking at the details closely to establish evidence. We want to find out whether it is concocted or not. We asked Bwororoza to avail us the particulars of the assassins December 6 but she is yet to give them to us.”
Bwororoza said she was tipped to escape after one of the attendants of the said meeting alerted her. “I was tipped that I would be killed on November 24, a day after the meeting. I escaped from my home, and have been staying in Kampala for the last two weeks,” a seemingly scared Bwororoza said. She alleged that according to her source privy to the plot, the meeting resolved that one Mugisa spearheads the surveillance in company of the two killers.
“Birahwa advised them to wait for darkness and the change of policemen who are stationed at the centre where I stay. He told them that there was going to be a change of police that is removing the Banyonkore and Bagungu policemen and replacing them with Bagungu (residents),” Bwororoza quoted her sources. She claimed the killers asked for half a million shillings, and that the meeting accepted but insisted on paying the amount in two instalments.
They first received Ug Shs 300,000 (about Frw100, 000) and it was agreed that the balance be paid after the mission succeeded, she said.
She identified others who attended the alleged meeting as Kubarirwa Nkuba, a Local Council III chairman, Wenda Murinda, a Local Council I chairman and Burasiyo Mugasa, a Bunyoro Kingdom official.
Others who are said to have attended the meeting were only identified as Mukondo, Mwakari, Mugisa and Rwaswiri.