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When Brig. Kyabihende’s brother killed PRA’s Patrick Manenero

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Brig. Taban Kyabihende (RIP) who passed away last week had been one of the Bush War fighters who joined in 1981. He had been part of the Museveni FRONASA faction of the post Iddi Amin national army, UNLA. He served under UNLA’s 15th Battalion and was based at Bugolobi flats from where he was an escort to the wife of the late Brig. Oyite Ojok. He joined the Bush War two weeks after the January 6th 1981 attack on Kabamba.

Though he and his group took with them a number of guns that they had stolen from the UNLA, they were initially treated with suspicion owing to the fact that they had earlier made a last hour pull out of the Kabamba Attack Mission. He hailed from Kazo; one of the areas that had unrestricted enlistment into the NRA Bush War.

His elder other two brothers, Happy Kyabihende and Herbert Makanga were also to later join the NRA. While Taban Kyabihende was active in top staff and command positions, his siblings served under specialty units of the NRA. Herbert Makanga served under the Presidential Protection Unit (PPU) where he rose to the rank of Captain and an Aide de Camp (ADC) to MUSEVENI in the early 1990s.
Their elder brother, Happy Kyabihende who served under the former DMI at Basiima House left the army under the Reduction in Force (RIF) in the early 1990s with no rank. He settled at their village home in Kazi before rejoining the intelligence services first as the local GISO and later the DISO of Ibanda District.

Following the Museveni and Gen. Ssejusa fall out in the mid 1990s and the consequential sidelining of Bahima army officers, Taban Kyabihende lost out on command positions. His young brother, then Capt. Herbert Makanga was also relieved of his position as ADC to Museveni. He was instead sent to CMI where he headed the Rwanda Desk codenamed ‘Operation Romeo’ at a time when tensions between Museveni and Kagame were at the climax. Museveni was accusing Kagame of harbouring and aiding the shadowy opposition PRA rebels. Rampant indiscriminate arrests and kidnap of Opposition Reform Agenda supporters saw the arrest of an old man and resident of Kabaale, Mzei Manenero and his son, Patrick Owomugisha Manenero over alleged links with PRA.

On 22nd June 2002 at the former CMI headquarters on Kitante Road, the two victims were interrogated by Capt. Herbert Makanga of the Rwanda Desk. From the adjacent room, Mzei Manenero painfully overheard his
son yelling for mercy from his torturers. In the middle of the night, the yelling was no more but unknown by the father, his son Patrick had been tortured to death. The then CMI boss, Brig. Mayombo promised to investigate the incident before handing over the body to the family members for burial. He also sent a condolence message and one million shillings through the RDC and the area M.P.

Mzei Manenero remained in detention for a couple of months before he was released without charges.  According to Brig. Mayombo, three months later on 22nd September 2002, a one Cpl Obiga Mudasiru was arrested and charged with murder of Patrick Manenero before the army Division Court Martial at Mbuya. This soldier is said to have been a guard at CMI when he hit his victim as he allegedly attempted to escape. He went further to state that Cpl. Mudasiru was granted bail on health grounds before he died on 3rd May 2004 at Moto Hospital of natural causes.

With the alleged death of Cpl Mudasiru, then Capt. Makanga got off the hook and was assigned to more sensitive responsibilities including Commanding the 21st Battalion. He is now a Lieutenant Colonel. Interestingly, the Kyabihende’s have had their unique family controversies; initially it was the elder daughter spying for UPC’s NASA which really gave a hard time to the NRA clandestine in Kazo and
Nyabushozi during the Bush War. Then came the marrying of the two sisters by Brig Taban Kyabihende and fathering of forty children but the biggest controversy was the open secret among the Bahima fraternity that the same Brigadier had at one time ‘slept’ with his mother-in-law (akamuzaho).

When Brig. Taban was brought back into active command positions, he used the opportunity to amass wealth through smuggling in eastern Uganda. Following the fleeing of Gen. Ssejusa to London in 2013, Brig. Taban was distanced from command positions by sending him to Congo as a Military Attaché. It was humiliating for a Brigadier to serve under a retired Major James Kinobe as the Ambassador but the humble and soft spoken Brigadier had to swallow his pride and serve his Katebe.
RIP Brig. Taban, RIP Patrick Manenero.

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