“Why would someone target honourable Abiriga for God’s sake?” This is was the common question from most of the Ugandans who swarmed the social media platforms with a flurry of condolences following the news of the assassination of Arua Municipality Member of Parliament, Col (Rtd) Ibrahim Abiriga and his bodyguard at Kawanda in Wakiso District on Friday evening.
Much as Uganda has been divided on the political spectrum, the death of Col Abiriga, a staunch cadre of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, Ugandans have put politics aside to mourn him in unison.
This can be gauged from the social media activity that dominated the night as people wondered why Abiriga would be killed in cold blood.
Most of those who went on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms wondered why Uganda’s security situation has become uncertain to the extent that guarded people can be brutally killed in broad daylight.
“I get the feeling that in Uganda you are only alive because no one wants you dead. Abiriga had a bodyguard just like Kaweesi and Maj Kiggundu. You are only alive because nobody wants you dead,” one person tweeted on Friday night.
Others took time to wonder how Abiriga’s gruesome murder has united Ugandans including those who castigated him for his stand on the lifting of presidential age limit and extention of the term of office for elected leaders.
“The way everyone is so sad about Abiriga. As if no one said bad things about him before. Sometimes his jokes annoyed us, but still we laughed…..at least in private. Yet someone out there saw an enemy, deserving the most brutal of sendoffs from earth, surely, some things we will never understand!,” another person posted on Facebook.
Others wondered why the security agencies have failed to arrest the “assassins who continue roaming the city in broad daylight, carrying out calculated executions and freely riding away, yet women protesting the kidnap and continued killings of fellow women are arrested”.
Some of those who mourned Abiriga were also wondering whether he was a “threat” to whoever might have masterminded his killing hence they called upon government to check the “loose laws” about the use and movement of guns.
Another social media user by the name of Mr Godwin Toko called upon the security agencies not to implicate Muslims for the murder of one of their own during the holy month of Ramadhan.
“My heart is with you my Moslem brothers and sisters, I pray that in this holy month of Ramathan, you are not falsely accused of murdering Abiriga – a fellow Moslem – held incommunicado, tortured, not produced in court and later acquitted for lack of evidence!” he posted.
What also caught the eye of many people is a Facebook post where one said that the things that have been watched in Hollywood movies have come to reality in Uganda, a country that was seen to be safe to live in.
“When our country was still safe, one would bet those things were only in movies, better as camera tricks… Broad-daylight, boda boda assailants, gun shots, obituary,” he wondered.
Notable among those who passionately mourned the late Abiriga on social media are his colleague MPs Robert Kyagulanyi (Kyadondo East) and Mr Latif Ssebaggala (Kawembe North)
“I appeal to government to acknowledge that we have reached a point when we must have an honest conversation as a nation and find a solution to this crisis. No matter who we are and our political affiliations, no Ugandan should lose his or her life in this gruesome manner,” Mr Kyagulanyi said in his tweet.
Mr Ssebaggala questioned the moral strength the assassins had to kill Abiriga in the holy month of Ramadhan when everyone is supposed to forgive whoever wronged him or her.
He added that the deceased was a “practicing Muslim and a jolly man.