Nantaba, Police clash over Ssebulime murder report

Iddah Nantaba

The outgoing ICT state minister, Idah Nantaba, has again taken Police to task to release the probe report of the circumstances under which Ronald Ssebulime met his death.

She maintains that Ssebulime had been sent to kill her. In an interview with Saturday Vision recently, the Kayunga Woman MP alleged that by the fact that the report was concluded and its findings shrouded, it points to the Police having had a hand in it.

“Where is the Police report regarding Ssebulime’s murder? Why can’t they unveil their findings, which will eventually reveal the name of the person who had hired Ssebulime to kill me?” Nantaba asked.

Ssebulime, who was riding a motorbike, was arrested in Kayunga district and handcuffed, before being shot dead by the Police on March 24, last year, on suspicion that he wanted to kill Nantaba.

It later emerged that the 40-year-old Ssebulime, who left behind four children, was on his way to visit his children at school. His wife had died of a post-natal complication in 2013.

He was laid to rest on March 27, last year. Nantaba had tipped the Police at Naggalama Police Station that she was being trailed by two men riding a grey Suzuki sports bike.

She said the suspected killers had trailed her for about 40km from Sezibwa bridge up to Naggalama trading center, prompting the Police to pursue the suspects.

The Police arrested the officers who were part of the team pursuing the suspect. They included Edward Ssali, Ronald Opira and Ronald Baganza, all Police constables. These were accused of trying to conceal the true facts of the events surrounding the killing of Ssebulime.

Ssali was charged before the Grade One Magistrate, Mariam Nulugya, in April and remanded to Luzira Prison after he reportedly recorded an extrajudicial statement in regards to the shooting.

But, up to now, the person who ordered Ssali to kill the arrested suspect has not been revealed. Nantaba said the events of that day were so suspicious that she thinks a senior Police officer had a hand in it.

“That morning, as I prepared to leave Kayunga, my aide received a phone call from a policeman who said he wanted to see me. My aide also told me that the Kayunga district Police commander and the regional Police commander had been ordered to vacate the station under unclear circumstances,” Nantaba alleged.

She said the policeman who had been calling her drove a patrol vehicle to her home and asked her for some money to buy new tires.

“I did not read any signals at all, because had I known, I would not have stepped out of my house. But when I recollect all these events happening before the Ssebulime incident and at a time when the Police had been reshuffled, moreover on a Sunday morning. A Police officer comes to my house in a patrol vehicle and Police shoots a suspect? So, it could have been a well- organized crime by Police,” Nantaba said.

She said they met the Prime Minister and the Police promised to produce their report, but when they did, they kept it confidential. The Director of Public Prosecutions, who withdrew the murder charges that the family of Ssebulime instituted against Nantaba and three others, advised the Police to only trying Corporal David Ssali, 46, who had confessed to the crime.

A ballistic report has also proved that it was his gun that was used to kill Ssebulime. The rest of the Police officers, the DPP said, were supposed to be taken to the Police disciplinary unit. The case was dropped on September 9.

When asked Police spokesperson Fred Enanga about Ssebulime’s murder probe report, he said:

“We charged one suspect in court, who is now on remand. We cannot continue commenting on a court case.”

Nantaba called them games to protect the mastermind of what she calls her murder attempt.

“Even media houses were heavily bribed by the mafias to turn around the story about my murder attempt and “fulfill the desires of the mafias who hired you (media) to shield a murderer as you continue publishing Police’s version, the very security organ that killed Ssebulime, the suspected killer,” she said.

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.