While Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, was on an official visit to Japan, back home the political situation was taking security dimensions.
His ruling party primaries for flag bearers has been marred by irregularities that have culminated into ugly violent scenarios.
Presidential aspirants notably his former party Secretary General and Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, had violent confrontations with the Police leaving scores injured and several detained.
This is because the regime is worried about the overwhelming masses that turn up at his public rallies as opposed to their earlier assertion that he is not popular.
In Soroti as the Police battled his supporters, the regime was displaying its military might with fighter jets hovering in the sky.
The message that was being passed on was simple and clear: “We are in-charge of both the ground and the airspace.”
In northern the Uganda district of Amuru, the Army and Police used live ammunitions against local residents who were protesting against grabbing of their land.
Scores were injured before the area Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Gilbert Olanya was arrested and charged with inciting violence and threatening to kill another local leader.
At the same time his namesake Lt. Col Benson Oulanya was being convicted by the General Court Martial for expressing sexual desires towards three female junior army officers.
In April 2015, the same locals protested government schemes to grab their ancestral land by stripping naked before the Lands Minister Saudi Migereko and the Internal Affairs Minister, the late Gen. Aronda Nyakairima.
They halted the exercise and ordered the army and Police to vacate the disputed land before promising to compensate the residents whose property had been destroyed by the members of the security forces.
Indeed, in his usual style Gen. Aronda instead embarked on reorganizing his forces for a counter attack that resulted in what took place early this week.
The shootings, maiming and arrests is the “compensation” that Gen. Aronda had earlier promised them.
The opposition alliance (TDA) has issued an ultimatum to government for immediate dialogue on implementation of electoral reforms ahead of 2016.
It has given the regime up to 18th September 2015 and warned that: “should the government remain stubborn and intransigent as it has continued to do, TDA will in consultation with the citizens agree on and take appropriate actions.”
The FDC presidential flag bearer Dr. Besigye has added his voice by warning that Museveni should expect consequences if the proposed electoral reforms are not implemented.
At a press conference, he asserted that: “government has up to 18th September to act or deal with the “people’s struggle”.
He is reported to have gone ahead to announce the composition of his “committee to take power”.
The speed at which events are unfolding is a cause of concern to many Ugandans.
The regime has not come out to formally explain some of these developments and to reassure citizens.
Ordinarily, the Vice President takes charge when the President is away. He is the No. 2 in the hierarchy before the Speaker of Parliament, and Chief Justice.
The current Vice President, Mr. Kiwanuka Ssekandi also knows that he is “simply a figure head VP”.
That is why he has kept a low profile while sticking to his role of presiding over simple ceremonies like commissioning of bore holes, schools and church fundraising.
The speaker and Chief Justice are equally “lame ducks” because they too are in those offices upon the same considerations.
They all don’t know what takes place in the corridors of power and can’t provide answers to the current nasty political developments.
Being a military dictatorship, Museveni remains in-change of every government activity even when he is on overseas trips.
He keeps in constant contact with his trusted military Generals by telephone and military radio communication.
In the absence of Museveni, the men in-charge of the country are Gen Slaim Saleh (Museveni’s young brother), Gen Kale Kayihura – the police Chief, and Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba (Museveni’s son) – the Commander of the Special forces.
The late Gen Aronda – the Internal Affairs Minister would also be in that category.
These four top the list of the committee that steers the country’s military/security and political direction.
Sarah Nalukenge, the author, is a social and political analyst