African Press International (API)

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Killed by mistress or planned assassination? Museveni orders probe into Kazini death

Posted by African Press International on November 15, 2009

Former Uganda Army Commander Major General James Kazini. He died on Tuesday morning. Pho

Former Uganda Army Commander Major General James Kazini. He died on Tuesday morning. Photo/FILE


KAMPALA, Saturday

Ugandas President Yoweri Museveni has ordered a police investigation into the death of ex-army chief James Kazini. Maj-Gen Kazinis girlfriend has confessed to killing him with an iron bar in a fight at her flat on Tuesday.

But a BBC reporter in Uganda says there are suspicions it was not domestic violence, but a planned assassination. The general was sacked as army chief in 2003 after UN accusations he plundered resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo when leading operations there.

The police… should easily establish whether the murder was due to an accident or deliberate, Mr Museveni said at the generals funeral at a cathedral in the capital, Kampala.

He asked the police to find out whether Maj-Gen Kazinis girlfriend acted alone or with a group of people, the Daily Monitor newspaper reports. The BBCs Joshua Mmali in Kampala says whenever a high-profile figure dies there are often suspicions about how they met their end. Maj-Gen Kazini had fallen out with the establishment before his death having been found guilty last year of corruption charges unconnected to the Congolese allegations.

He went to jail, but was out on bail and facing further charges of subversion at the time of his death. But President Museveni said at his funeral that the army still had confidence in him and promised to look after his widow and children. According to Ugandas state-owned New Vision newspaper, many in the large funeral congregation were moved to tears when the generals 12-year-old daughter paid tribute to him.

Allegations against Maj-Gen Kazini were first made in two United Nations reports, at a time when Uganda had a heavy military presence in eastern DR Congo, supporting the rebellion against President Laurent Kabila and later against current President Joseph Kabila. Although Maj-Gen Kazini was withdrawn from DR Congo in 2001, the Ugandan government protested his innocence and appointed him acting army chief. The government nevertheless set up a judicial commission of inquiry into the UN allegations.

As a result of the inquiry, the government recommended that action be taken against Maj-Gen Kazini, and he was removed from his post as acting head of the army in 2003. An army spokesman said at the time that Maj-Gen Kazinis removal from office was unconnected with the UN accusations, and that he was being sent for further training.

Financial loss

Last year he was found guilty of causing the army financial loss, charges that stemmed from irregularities in the army payroll. He was most recently facing charges that he disobeyed a presidential order, when he was army chief, not to transport large numbers of troops at one time. Such actions can raise suspicion of coup plotting, our reporter says.

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