What are the lessons from Abbottabad? Trust no one

I woke up on Monday morning to learn that the arch-terrorist, Osama  Bin Laden, had finally been killed by American forces after years on the run.

What raised my eyebrows wasn’t the fact that he’d finally felt the full wrath of America, but rather where they finally cornered him.

I’d fallen for the lie that he was living in caves in north-western Pakistan and I was shocked to learn that he was living in a mansion a few kilometers away from a huge military base.

Abbottabad is certainly the last place I would have thought the most wanted man in the world would decide to pitch camp, but I was wrong.

He lived in a million dollar home, in relative luxury and probably with the knowledge of members of the Pakistani military and intelligence.

President Zardari has been left scrambling to appease the US and I can understand why; American aid to Pakistan, military and non-military, is in the billions of dollars and he certainly can’t bite the hand that feeds him.

In my opinion Al-Qaeda is his mortal enemy; So, at the very top, Bin Laden was persona non grata; but this message wasn’t transmitted to the lower rungs of leadership.

So, while the president said one thing, members of his state apparatus did the opposite.

This brings me to another criminal, Felicien Kabuga. While Bin Laden is guilty of killing a few thousand, Kabuga played an active role in the killing of more than a million innocents.

He was the chief financier of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi; he funded the Interahamwe and the infamous Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). This fellow was quite nasty.

He’s been on various most-wanted lists for years, but like Bin Laden, he has evaded the law for years. A few years ago, reports surfaced that Kabuga was seen in Kenya.

Then president, Daniel Arap Moi said this wasn’t true and because Kenya was a friendly country I was hesitant to say he was lying.

Sadly, these rumors haven’t subsided and I must say, bearing in mind Sunday night’s events, my suspicion has been rekindled.

If in a state like Pakistan, with its intelligence apparatus, a president can be hoodwinked why would it be impossible in Kenya? Obviously some people knew about Bin Laden’s presence in their neighborhood but they didn’t say a word; maybe a few dollar bills were slipped into their pockets, who knows?

He was after all a very rich man. Well, so is Kabuga. He was probably the richest man in Rwanda in 1994 and according to reports his wealth has increased since then. He has the ability to bribe almost everybody.

While I would hesitate to say that the Kenyan state is protecting Kabuga, I cannot say that he definitely isn’t living there.

Abbottabad has taught me to be skeptical. It is my sincere hope that I’m wrong and our East African ally is not home to this arch criminal.

On an entirely different note, I read in yesterdays New Times that the Senate was taking one last look at the proposed criminal code.

I was bemused to read that attempted suicide would be penalized by a jail sentence of between two to five years. According to the esteemed lawmakers, failed suicide was equivalent to attempted murder.

Thankfully, Senator Agnes Kayijire dissented saying “there is contradiction in this article, I don’t understand how someone survives suicide and then that person is charged. There should be a special way to treat this person”.

Suicide is not a criminal matter but rather a psychological one, what is the point in criminalizing it? If someone is feeling so depressed that death is the only way out, a jail term of two years is the last thing on that persons mind.

Honestly, I’m shocked that Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama is defending article 162. It’s a waste of space.


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