Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Katumba Wamala and 25 army officers under watch, phones tapped

Reports circulating in Kampala and Entebbe say that the commander of the army's Land Forces, Lt. General Edward Katumba Wamala has been put under a 24-hour surveillance, with his landline and mobile phones being tapped by Military Intelligence and his army radio communication closely monitored.

Reports, broadcast in the 10:00 p.m. news bulletin last night by CBS FM, also known as Radio Buganda, said that Katumba Wamala had been arrested, but they were denied by the army spokesman Major Felix Kulaigye.

Radio Katwe has reported that Katumba Wamala and his superior, the Chief of Defence Forces, General Aronda Nyakirima, shocked President Museveni in the first week of January during a meeting, when they both made it clear that if Colonel Kizza Besigye were to win the election, they would accept the will of the people.

Museveni ordered Katumba Wamala to be put under surveillance, but he found it difficult to do the same because Nyakirima is a Muhima and has close family ties to the powerful people at State House.

Reports in Kampala this morning also say that 25 army officers, none of whom is a Muhima, have also been put under surveillance, with their phones and military radios being monitored.

The 25 officers are from the regular army, not from the elite Presidential Guard Brigade which many observers consider the only part of the army loyal to Museveni.

Meanwhile, there are reports that General Salim Saleh, the half-brother of President Museveni and de facto chairman of the Elect Museveni national task force, has been overseeing the printing of additional and illegal ballot papers in Jinja.

The FDC has written to the chairman of the Electoral Commission, Badru Kiggundu, drawing his attention to reprints that extra ballot papers were being printed on the night of February 21 at the Picfare factory in Jinja.

"We have received a very credible tip that Nytil Picfare sent their regular staff home and brought in Asians for a night-shift of printing. Our sources have reason to believe that they were printing more ballot papers the whole night. Kindly take an immediate interest in this matter and investigate it," the statement dated February 21 and signed by special FDC envoy Anne Mugisha, reads.

Radio Katwe reported a few days ago that General Saleh was in Jinja last week on a campaign tour. A Radio Katwe informer who watched Saleh distributing money to the public at the YWCA Club in Jinja thought it was Saleh just going about his bribery and campaign mission.

But with this FDC letter to Kiggundu, it sheds more light on the Radio Katwe story and makes us wonder if Saleh's trip to Jinja was not, after all, to work on the printing of the extra ballot papers.

Radio Katwe has also began to get a clearer picture of how the rigging is being planned.

Sources told Radio Katwe on February 22 that at a secret meeting between President Museveni, General Saleh, and Badru Kiggundu, it was agreed that Museveni wil be announced as having won 63 percent of the vote while Kiggundu will announce that Besigye won 30 percent.

The source, however, did not give details of how much the other three presidential candidates have been apportioned in the plan.

Radio Katwe will be giving further updates throughout the day as the news develops.


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