Following the controversial arrest and prosecution of Jinja District Residential District Commissioner Joseph Eric Sakwa, there have been mixed reactions about the incident, with those opposed to his alleged ruthlessness lauding the authorities for finally bringing the errant President’s man to book, while his apologists protested the arrest with due contempt.
The arrest that has since dominated news channels both mainstream and online media has got far reaching implications than what meets the eye as can be revealed in the following analysis.
Being one of the President’s most trustable envoys in the country, judging by the selflessness with which he executes his master’s assignments in the district, sometimes, and very often disregarding his personal safety so as to stay a good keeper, the arrest and subsequent imprisonment was a big statement that law applies to all regardless of status.
Reminiscing the spectacle of the proud Museveni keeper outlawing Opposition Chief Col Besigye from visiting Jinja early this year, one would absolutely be tempted to believe that it’s only God that could question Sakwa once in error. He had proudly reserved the authority to rule on who should visit the Busoga City, and labeling others unwanted visitors with no remorse. The positive energy he has used to fight land grabbing in the city, often rubbing him against big shots like MP Balyeeku, all shows how significant a man Sakwa is in Jinja and the country as a whole.
His arrest and subsequent parading in court demonstrated the supremacy of the law and the effectiveness of the country’s judicial system.
One question that however still stands is whether the family of late Isanga, for whose death Sakwa was arrested will ever get justice. Should there be any evident loophole in the process of prosecuting Sakwa for the death of Isanga, who was allegedly tortured on the orders of the RDC which resultantly led to loss of life, there would arise questions over whether there were more equal Ugandans among equals in Uganda.
Another pertinent question that requires answers is the fate of other young Ugandans who were charged with Sakwa for the same offense. It bought to be noted that Mr. and were charged with Sakwa after they, acting on the orders of the powerful RDC assaulted Jinja residents. But the pomp with which Sakwa was treated after his bail release raises questions on why no one cares for the other Ugandans who were thrown into a trap for which they will most probably pay with years in incarceration.
The incident highlighted the battle for influence in Jinja. The arrest signified an ugly twist in the old battle for supremacy that has evidently ran for years.
Following the fall from political dominance of former ICT Minister and MP for Jinja East Nathan Igeme Nabeta as the most influential politician in Jinja, it became certain that MP Grace Balyeeku would take on the mantle with almost no challenge, especially after the defeat of Former Museveni Minister Daudi Migereko of Butembe constituency – one of the constituencies that will constitute the new city.
Balyeeku was even blamed for covertly mobilising against the NBS radio and TV proprietor to fail his electoral attempts against current Jinja East legislator Paul Mwiru in the 2018 by election in which the former lost his slot in Parliament.
Even after his fall, Nabeeta didn’t fell it was all lost. He was always going to fight on as he mobilises for reelection come 2021.
The rivalry of the two NRM faithfuls span from politics to business where they own the two most influential radio stations – Baba FM and NBS FM for Balyeeku and Nabeta respectively. The former also owns the only TV station in Busoga – Baba TV while the latter also owns another English radio station – Smart FM. All this amplifies the rivalry between the two politicians.
After establishing that the rivalry between Balyeeku and Sakwa was one beyond reconciliation, Nabeeta knew he had an ally in the President’s envoy. No Wonder even during his arrest, he was at Nabeeta’s NBS radio where he had gone for a talk show and the former Mp vehemently protested a plot to humiliate Sakwa when they wanted to bundle him on a pickup like a chicken thief. He finally had his way and escorted Sakwa to court in a manner befitting of a VIP.
At the climax of this incident, if all the allegations that Balyeeku is the man fueling the woes of the embattled RDC happen to be true, the Museveni pro constitutional amendment MP risks being politically alienated in Jinja and will most likely have the hardest moment in trying to bounce back next year.
Acting on the assumption that all the people that rooted for Sakwa’s release on Tuesday 28 would stand by him and believed in him, it signifies a real disaster for the Busoga’s moneybag – Balyeeku.
On the list of sureties presented by Sakwa during his bail application hearing, Balyeeku was the only NRM major politician from Jinja that was missing in the court room, with the mayor, District chairperson, Butembe MP Nelson Lufaafa and Budondo legislator all on the rescue line up.
It’s however not an absolute certainty to conclude that its all doom for Balyeeku since many of the locals in the city have had some issues against the RDC especially since the torture allegations are mainly against the common lower class urban residents. Coupled with the fact that Sakwa is accused of murdering another of their fellow common person – late Isanga of Lwanda village in Mafubira, a city suburb, the public might be forced to ally with Balyeeku as their protector hence having a comfortable victory next year as his nemesis gets reprimanded for rallying behind a public tormentor.
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