Chopper Crash: How Mweshezi’s Glittering Career Came To A Crushing End


decease geneva; font-size: small;”>According to Chief of Staff (AirForce) Brig. Moses Rwakitarate, abortion Mweshezi was one of the escorts of Fred Rwigyema and had wanted to go with him to Rwanda.

Rwakitarate told mourners at the burial of the remains of Mweshezi on Tuesday that when the RPA reached Katuna, on Uganda’s border with Rwanda, Mweshezi was among those who were sent back to Uganda.

He said that they selected those who were somehow educated and with a higher rank which Mweshezi didn’t have at a time.

Mweshezi joined the armed forces in 1989 as a Kadogo of 15 years.

Rwakitarate said that he later went back to school and finished senior six and was taken to do a number of courses and he died while serving as an armament technician, the reason he was on the crashed choppers.

He said that he was experienced in loading aircraft bombs and other weaponry.

Rwakitarate described Mweshezi as a hardworking officer who had many money related problems. He said that he used to ask from him money which he would give. He said that he later attached him to Sudan where his life changed and he was no longer begging for money from him.

What exactly went wrong?

Mystery still surrounds the cause of the accident that claimed three choppers belonging to the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) in Mt. Kenya a fortnight ago.

According to Brig. Rwakitarate, the choppers were in good condition and he refuted claims that they were junk.

Rwakitarate, who said he was the one coordinating the mission to Somalia said that he had monitored the movement of the four choppers because he was the one paying for the fuel at all their stopovers.

He, however, said that weather could have played a bigger role in this accident.

“Nobody should say that our choppers were old and had a technical problem. I was actively involved because I was the one coordinating this mission. It rained at Nanyuki and I had advised them not to go when they told me about it. But their commanders insisted that they should fly to Garissa,” Rwakitarate said.

Religious leaders not happy

There was a standoff between UPDF and Moslem leaders before the funeral service started as Moslem leaders wanted to perform rituals before they bury.

They insisted that they want to wash the body before it was buried but UPDF officers told them that the body was burnt beyond recognition and there was no way they could do the rituals.

This angered many mourners some saying that they had brought a wrong body.

“I want to assure you that the remains lying in that coffin are of Ruhamata Mweshezi. There are clothes which army officers put on that cannot get burnt. He has been close to me and I am sure that this is his body,” Rwakitarate said.

Another controversy was on building the grave. The relatives had wanted not to construct the grave with bricks and concrete but the army insisted on building it.

Moslems said that there is a way how they bury their dead but the army refused. The mother of the deceased had requested that the cement and sad be given to her such that she can complete the house her some was building for her but this fell on deaf ears.

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