One Year Later: In Memmory of Ibrahim Abiriga

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Yesterday, 8th June 2019 marked exactly one year since the late Col. Ibrahim Abiriga was gunned down with his body guard Saidi Kongo near his home in Kawanda along the Kampala – Gulu highway.

Where did the news of his shooting find you?

Personally, I was at home, relaxing at around 7pm. I got the news on social media and I wanted to think its not true until NBS Television confirmed the news. It was tragic.

I started figuring out how his last moments with his the body guard.

Did he have any idea that someone wanted to take his life? Did the body guard try to shoot back? Did he ask for forgiveness from his shooters?

Did he think about his family in those last moments? What really happened?

The thoughts were horrible. It even got worse when NBS Television started interviewing some of his neighbours and those that were the first on the scene of his murder. They all agreed that he was a simple man who loved kids.

Abiriga was known for his love for the ruling National Resistance Movement party and particularly, President Museveni.

Indeed, his last public appearance was at the 2018 State Of The Nation Address at the Serena Hotel Conference Centre, the president handed him a pair of open shoes.

Before joining active politics, the late Abiriga served as a resident district commissioner (RDC) for Arua District from 2001 to 2012.

He would later be transferred to Yumbe where he served as an RDC. He resigned later and contested for the Arua Municipality seat which he won in 2016.

His victory was however contested by FDC’s Musema Bruce saying that he didn’t qualify for the position because he lacked academic documents.

Abiriga later showed his academic transcript to the public.

He was a comical and dramatic man who was loved by both the opposition and the ruling government.

His body was returned to Arua on 10th June, 2018 amid chaos. Mourners turned violent and destroyed property worth millions at his vigil. Among the property that was destroyed included chairs, tents and public address systems.

According to NBS TV, out of the 3,338 plastic chairs that were hired to be used at the vigil, 2748 chairs were destroyed.

A year later, his family woes are far from over.

Earlier this year, NBS TV went back to visit the family of the slain MP and the care taker Molly Hakim said that they are being threatened by service providers who are demanding for their compensation.

He said that they have tried appeal to the government and President Museveni who promised to help but nothing has been done yet.

” I was personally there in State House. The President told us that it was negligence of the government and that they will pay but we have not received anything yet,” Hakim told NBS TV in an interview.

Amila Sijali Abiriga, a sister to the late apart from taking care of the 24 children that Col. Abiriga left behind, nothing much has been done about their situation.

She said that if the government can help them and put up a commercial house at their home, that will help them to take care of the young family which they are now struggling to sustain.

No Suspects Yet

Twelve months later, Police has still failed to bring justice to the family of the slain MP and his body guard.

Despite the president and security officials visiting the scene of their murder just moments after the unfortunate incident, his killers are yet to be brought to book.

Last month, the Inspector General Of Police Okoth Ochola released the 2018 crime report where he hinted on Abiriga’s murder and other high profile cases of murder that happened in 2018.

He said that they are contented with the fact that they have managed to bring to book several suspects in murder cases, including key suspects in the killing of Susan Magara who are being interrogated but noted that they have not found leads to the those who killed Abiriga.

“The criminals involved in these acts of murder have been arrested and committed to High Court for trial. Except for the case of Hon. Abiriga,” IGP said in part.

After one year, the hope of serving justice to the late Abiriga’s family seems to be fading and fading first.

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