By Fortunate Ahimbisibwe and Josephine Maseruka
JOSEPH Musasizi Kifefe, the younger brother of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president, Dr. Kizza Besigye, is dead.
Besigye said Musasizi died at Mulago hospital, where he had been admitted since Sunday. On Wednesday, he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, where he passed away at 11.00am.
Besigye, who had been at his brotherâ€™s bedside, had moments earlier gone to buy drugs from a nearby pharmacy. Relatives said Kifefe died of kidney failure. But they blamed the death on his prolonged stay in prison. â€œIf he had not been incarcerated for so long, he would not have died so soon,â€ a family member said.
Musasiziâ€™s wife, Christine, said efforts to take him to South Africa failed because his passport was at the High Court.
â€œHe had greatly improved but some days ago, he developed a lot of complications but he would have lived if he had been taken to South Africa,â€ she said.
The leader of opposition, Prof. Latigo Ogenga, yesterday said: â€œIt is a very unfortunate thing. Itâ€™s extremely depressing to Besigye because both he and Musasizi have been victims of political unrest and incarceration.â€
â€œWhen will this suffering and injustice end. You can have a political opponent but that person is as human as you are,â€ he commented.
Kifefe was granted bail on June 12 by the High Court on account of grave sickness. Together with two other suspected Peopleâ€™s Redemption Army rebels. They were accused of murdering John Byarugaba in Bushenyi on July 17, 2002.
In April, lawyers reported that Kifefe was suffering from scabies at Nyamushekyera Prison in Bushenyi. Along with Besigye and three others, Kifefe has been facing treason charges. They were freed on bail by the High Court in Kampala on March 1, but were re-arrested on murder charges and remanded in Bushenyi.
Kampala central MP Elias Lukwago said, â€œGovernment should explain how suspects get sick in prison lose their lives.â€
AN ACCOUNT OF EVENTS SINCE HIS ARREST NOV. 2004
By Anne Mugisa
Below is a recount of the events that took place since Kifefe was arrested in November 2004 on suspicion that he was collecting money from PRA sympathisers and passing it on to the PRA to purchase arms for rebel activity
-November 26, 2004: Kifefe and other suspects were charged with treason and concealment of prison. It was alleged that between December 2003 and October 2004 Kifefe mobilised support and provided intelligence information to the PRA in Kampala.
He allegedly committed the offences in Kampala, Mpigi, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Rukungiri and Kasese districts.
Kifefe together with his co-accused are remanded at Luzira Prison pending trial. The suspects later applied for bail.
-November 15, 2005: The High Court granted them bail. However, they were not released until June 15, 2006, but they were arrested outside the Court. A series of court battles followed in the High Court and the Constitutional Court as the suspects and the State filed petitions and counter petitions over the failed bail.
-In 2006, the treason trial against Kifeefe and his co-accused started at the High Court. Several witnesses were called, including former rebels of the LRA, who claimed that the PRA was collaborating with Konyâ€™s rebels.
-The defence lawyers went to the Constitutional Court to block the former rebels who had been granted amnesty from testifying. However, they lost the battle and the trial is still pending.
-On March 1, 2007, he was released, sparking off drama at the High Court as security agents re-arrested him.
-Kifefe was taken to Bushenyi over murder charges. On April 9, Kifefe who had been detained at Nyamushekyera Prison, was reported ill.
-He had scabies and could not attend the court. Shortly after that, he was transferred to Mulago Hospital where he was admitted for sometime. While in Prison, his lawyers applied for bail on account of his poor health.
-On June 12, 2007: The High Court granted him bail on account of grave illness. The medical report from Prison said the cost of treating Kifeefe was very high and that his care should be shared by others.
-The High Court bonded him at sh5m not cash. Shortly after that, he was discharged from hospital and his family started taking care of him.
-November 28, 2007: Col. Besigye rushed him to the hospital in a critical condition. It was not clear what he was suffering from.
-On November 29: He died of kidney failure at Mukago Hospital.