Crime & Investigation

EXCLUSIVE: Wife of Tortured Kamwenge Mayor Collapses

Kamugisha was hospitalised last week after collapsing at her residence in Kamwenge Town (Photos: Jimmy Twist/ChimpReports)

May 10, more about 2017 was a normal day for Viola Kamugisha, health a resident of Kamwenge Town.

At around midday, word spread like a wildfire that pictures of tortured Kamwenge Town Council Mayor, Geoffrey Byamukama, 54, were doing rounds on social media.

Kamugisha could not access the photos as she does not own a Smartphone.

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But she was eager to know the health status of her husband whom police arrested on April 5 on suspicion of masterminding the murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

Her real test of mental and physical strength was imminent.

At 7:00pm, Kamugisha switched on her television for the day’s news bulletin.

What she saw on television shocked her to the marrow.

“Never before in my life have I come so close to death,” recalled Kamugisha after watching a new item showing ghastly ‘wounds of torture’ on her husband’s body.

“I don’t know what happened to me. I regained consciousness from a medical centre,” a visibly distressed Kamugisha narrated to Chimp Corps in an exclusive interview at her home in Kamwenge Township.

Kamugisha speaking to ChimpReports at her home in Kamwenge recently

Kamugisha speaking to ChimpReports at her home in Kamwenge recently

We are informed Kamugisha collapsed while watching television before being rushed to a medical facility in the neighborhood.

“It’s true, Kamugisha was unconscious when she was brought here,” said Lawrence Tumwesigye, a medical officer at Smile Clinic.

Tumwesigye said he could not reveal his patient’s medical records but said Kamugisha continues to pick medication from his clinic.

The incident underscores the excruciating pain relatives of torture victims go through in such trying moments.

Police spokesperson Asan Kasingye recently revealed in a statement that Byamukama was arrested on April 5, 2017, at the Ministry of Lands offices.

He says, however, that the mayor tried to fight the officers while he was being transported to Nalufenya Detention Centre in Jinja.

“After the arrest, two of our officers and the suspect got involved in a scuffle on the way to Jinja after Mr Byamukama realized that he was not being taken to Naguru Police Headquarters as earlier informed at the point of arrest,” Kasingye said.

“The suspect sustained superficial injuries in the process, which were aggravated by his medical condition which we cannot divulge here.”

Kasingye said the officers who inflicted the injuries on the mayor were arrested and are being investigated. He didn’t name them.

Family struggles

At the age of 52, Kamugisha has four kids with Byamukama.

Before his arrest, Byamukama was the family’s bread winner.

He was paying school fees for about 10 kids who include his children and other dependants.

But life is now hard with Kamugisha struggling to feed the children and provide other basic needs.

“I don’t know whether our children, Spenser Byamukama and Patience Byamukama will continue with their tertiary education because I can’t raise their school fees,” said Kamugisha.

She further revealed that she could no longer afford medicine for her health condition.

“I can’t even manage to monitor my husband’s small businesses in town,” added Kamugisha whose lower body parts were visibly quivering.

Asked what she wanted from authorities, Kamugisha responded: “My husband is innocent. The police should allow him leave the detention centre so we can look after him until he recovers.”

Kamugisha further wondered why police first feigned ignorance about Byamukama’s whereabouts until the issue was brought to light by the media.

“His rights have been violated.  How do you detain someone for almost a month without presenting him before court? Isn’t he supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty?” she wondered.

Kamugisha said she was yet to raise enough funds to hire lawyers to look into her husband’s case.

Disappointment

Meanwhile, several leaders in Kamwenge have denounced Byamukama’s torture.

Kamwenge Mayor, Byamukama, at Nakasero Hospital after being tortured by police at Nalufenya (Photos: The Investigator)

Kamwenge Mayor, Byamukama, at Nakasero Hospital after being tortured by police at Nalufenya (Photos: The Investigator)

Kamwenge Councilor, Peace Kansiime said the real impact of Byamukama’s torture will be felt in the next election exercise.

A respected NRM mobiliser, Byamukama helped the ruling party win and consolidate support in Kamwenge District.

He also was a government informer at the time UPDF was battling rebel ADF insurgents in western Uganda.

The rebels had gone as far as Kitagwenda, Kamwenge District, perpetrating a reign of terror.

It’s said he was handed over a pistol which he has carried for very many years

“Government should not have paid back by torturing him. He worked hard for the peace we have today in Kamwenge,” said Kansiime, adding, “If he had wronged anyone, they should have tried him in courts of law.”

Aggrey Natuhamya, a local leader at the district, condemned the torture.

“Government should come out and officially tell us what really happened because up to now we have never known the truth,” he added.

He, however, said Byamukama was frequently traveling to Kampala.

“I don’t know why he was always in Kampala. What I heard was that he was receiving some specialized treatment,” added Natuhamya.

Natuhamya denied seeing Byamukama with a gun.

He added that the district leadership was planning to provide financial assistance to Byamukama’s troubled family.

The Vice Chairman, Kamwenge Town Council, Francis Mwesigye said police should never have tortured the Mayor.

“If police have incriminating evidence, Byamukama should be paraded in court to enable him prepare his defence,” said Mwesigye.

Deputy Mayor, Francis Mwesigye speaking to this website at his office in Kamwenge last week

Deputy Mayor, Francis Mwesigye speaking to this website at his office in Kamwenge last week

Asan Kasingye said in a statement that Police have in the past demonstrated ability to “internally investigate and take stern measures on officers who carry out their duties outside the acceptable standards and laws of this country and we shall do the same in this case.”

Byamukama’s torture has since sparked national outrage with some leaders threatening to stop supporting the ruling NRM party.

Just recently, 13 suspects on trial for Kaweesi’s murder and other aggravated offences, cried out for court’s intervention over torture.

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