By Zainab Namusaazi
The burial of Sgt Haruna Kayondo, General Katumba Wamala’s murdered driver, brought up a heated discussion on national security.
Kayondo was shot dead along with General Wamala’s daughter Brenda Nantongo in a Tuesday June 1, assassination attempt on the former Chief of Defence Forces.
The pair were killed when General Wamala’s car came under attack from assailants riding on two motorcycles along Kisota road that leads to Kisaasi. The assailants reportedly peppered the vehicle with 56 bullets in an attempt to kill General Wamala, who is also the outgoing Works and Transport minister.
On Friday, June 4, Kayondo was finally laid to rest at his ancestral home in Lugando village, Kalungu Parish, Bukango sub-county, Bukomansimbi district.
The funeral attracted hundreds of mourners who came to pay their respects to Kayondo. Kayondo was credited with continuing to drive the car after it came under attack and bringing it to a stop near a wall on the side of the road. This decision proved crucial in saving the lives of General Wamala and his bodyguard Sgt Khalid Koboyoit as it granted them cover from the attackers.
During the funeral, Brigadier Deus Sande, the Commander of the Masaka Armoured Brigade, noted with concern that it is unfortunate terrorists are targeting security personnel who work hard to protect the country.
Brig Sande said, “We have done a lot of good things but you decide to kill us. Stop killing us. Please, our leaders, fight for us because they are taking our lives.”
But following his speech, Bukomansimbi district Khadhi Muhammad Wasswa Ssemakadde rebuked Brig Sande. Ssemakadde said that it was elements in the security services who were targeting each other.
Ssemakadde said, “It is you the army with guns. For us, we don’t have guns. You are killing yourselves. Please find yourselves.”
Present also were the Bukomansimbi North Member of Parliament Christine Ndiwalana and the Woman MP Nanyondo Veronica.
The legislators were united in wondering why the government has failed to compile and release reports on the high profile killings that have occurred in the country.
Nanyondo said, “Please release the reports on who is killing Ugandans. If they are pigs, show them to Ugandans. Many people have been killed but we never get to know who was responsible. We need to know.”
The burial was delayed by several days because Kayondo’s boss General Katumba Wamala had expressed a desire to attend in person. In the end, he was unable to and was represented by Lt. Rogers Awori.
Lt. Awori read out General Wamala’s apology, “I’m so sorry for not coming to the burial of my driver. I’m preparing the burial of my mother in law who died sometime back. I’m mourning together with you. I pray to God to strengthen you. Rest in peace Haruna Kayondo.”
Kayondo’s widow Irene Achan struggled to control her emotions to speak to the gathered mourners. She thanked them for turning up to see off her husband who has left her with four children.
Kayondo’s sister Madina Nakimbugwe revealed that with the death of her sibling, she remains the only one left alive. Nakimbugwe said, “I have remained alone. Our parents gave birth to 4 children, the three have gone back to God. I’m the only person who is going to take care of my brothers and sisters children, please I need your help.”
The Uganda People’s Defence Force contributed five million shillings towards the burial expenses of Kayondo.
The late Kayondo was born in 1982 and joined the army in 2002. He had risen to the rank of sergeant.