Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, who survived an assassination attempt yesterday, had informed his family that his life was in danger.
Ms Diana Katumba, one of Gen Katumba’s daughters, told Daily Monitor that the army officer had mentioned the threats in passing during a family gathering this year but did not divulge any details.
“He had mentioned it [threats] in passing this year when we were here as children but it did not seem serious. He did not give details so we cannot tell whether it was politics or something else,” Ms Diana said yesterday at the family home in Bulabira, Najjeera in Wakiso District.
She added: “Maybe he confided in someone because he did not want to worry us as the children.”
The former Chief of Defence Forces was yesterday injured in an assassination attempt that claimed the life his daughter, Brenda Nantongo and driver Haruna Kayondo.
Five suspects riding on three motorcycles peppered Mr Katumba’s vehicle with bullets on the Kisota-Kulambiro road in Kampala while on his way to Najjanakumbi for funeral preparations of his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Mukasa, who passed away on Monday night.
Mr Gaster Lule, Gen Katumba’s brother-in-law, said it would not be surprising for the General not divulge details of threats against his life.
“He is a very reserved man. It would not be in his nature to divulge security matters to his family because he is the symbol of security. I mean that is what he does. He carries a pistol, and has other guns on him,” Mr Lule said.
Gen Katumba was the commander of Land Forces in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) from 2005 to 2013.
He was also the first active UPDF officer to serve as Inspector General of Police (IGP) from 2001 to 2005
Mr Lule said the shooting incident is troubling given the character of Gen Katumba, whom he described as a friendly man.
Moments before the shooting
Ms Lydia Nakkazi, a home keeper, said Gen Katumba was in a jovial mood when he left home yesterday morning, except for the loss of his mother-in-law.
Ms Nakkazi said there was nothing out of the ordinary from Monday evening when Gen Katumba returned home at around 4pm.
“He woke up at around 6am and asked for breakfast. He sat at the dining table and had sausages, avocado, cucumber, mangoes, Yoghurt and also took dry tea. Brenda had only juice. They talked about how they would go about the day because they were headed to Najjanakumbi for Mama’s funeral. They laughed despite the pain of the loss.
At around 8am, they left [home]” Ms Nakkazi told Daily Monitor.
She added: “After about 30 minutes, I received call from my colleague saying Brenda was dead. I ran to the gate to inquire from Simon (security guard).”
When we arrived at the home at around 11.30am, relatives and friends had started to gather as a sombre mood engulfed the area.”
“My mother is gone, now my daughter is also gone. My lovely daughter. My daughter is gone, I cannot explain how I will remember her. This is too painful for a child to die at such a prime age,” a wailing Catherine Katumba, Gen Katumba’s wife, said.
Gen Katumba Wamala’s wife, Catherine Katumba, speaks to journalists shortly after the shooting of her husband and daughter. PHOTO/BENSON TUMUSIIME
Ms Katumba, who had spent the night away from home following her mother’s death, said she had earlier thought the daughter had died in a motor accident.
Ms Diana, who was with Gen Katumba at Medipal International Hospital where he was rushed to after the incident, said her father was shot in both shoulders and one of the lower limbs.
She, however, said he is more distraught at the death of his daughter.
“Brenda acted as a shield. If it was not for her, dad would be dead and that is what is most painful to him. No parent wants to bury their children,” Ms Diana said.