Hajji Sebagala is now a presidential advisor
I don’t think we have got any axis of Uganda ‘spies ‘ here in the UK or abroad. Majority of Ugandans I know abroad are either in: education, ‘kyeyo’(working) or self-employment. For instance, Yusuf ‘Salabed’ is among the few in self-employment here in the UK and he is a descent bloke as far as I know. Everyone is busy with something here to plot anything serious against the dictatorship in Kampala.
So, what would be in a spy’s report in case reports are sent back to Kampala on a monthly basis? There is nothing to spy on here at all. If the government is spending money on anybody for this role, they should actually be asked to refund the money immediately because they are passing over imaginary false information.
Yes, countries use their espionage capabilities to spy on whoever they feel they need to, whether those countries are their allies or enemies, but we don’t have such resources to splash money on such activities. For instance, there have even been accusations that the US government has used spying to aid US commercial interests, but if a country like ours is still buying junk military jets( like the one I heard that crashed in Kenya), how can they afford money on ‘spying’ abroad? The United States primarily uses, or completely uses “national technical means,” i.e. Electronics and spacecraft, to spy on other countries but I can’t see how a certain Ugandan in London can pass over credible information to Kampala government about ‘nkuba kyeyos’ who have got daily routines here in the UK.
It should go without saying that observing the dispositions of the enemy requires accurate observational skills in order to draw useful conclusions, and formulating strategy requires skill in itself. For example, I cannot know who exactly Mr.X is unless if I get closer to him in a stable environment for a longer time.
Some people think that you can know who the person is because of either what they post on forums or through IP addresses or what they say over the phones but this is not true. An IP address can be said to resolve to a domain name or vice versa, but saying that an IP address can reveal who the person behind the computer is a real joke of the century. So if you’re going to look at a trace route and draw conclusions from it, then you’d better understand exactly what it is that you’re looking at.
It is a Catch 22 in espionage that spy agencies rely on information, and corroborate it as much as possible, and this requires a great deal of resources which the Uganda government does not have. This is the reason why I believe that the so called Uganda spies back home accuse people of crimes, majority have not committed- simply because we don’t have the resources to evaluate the information received. If Museveni is told that Besigye is doing ‘Buyekela’(rebel activities), he just jumps out of his chair with his B/P up for no reason and immediately calls General Aronda to do something about it, because we are a poor country. The president does not have credible spy agencies to rely on because this is expensive stuff that are institutionally built for years.This is why the government has been losing Besigye cases because they just jump on anything in front of them without serious evaluation.
Yes, there are spies in Uganda but I don’t think we have got spies abroad simply because there is nothing to spy about.Yes, espionage can sometimes be as cheap as spinach but there is nothing to spy on abroad.The best spy is someone least expected, such as the cleaner at state house. For instance, the USA ‘CIA’ are very good at creating phonies in various countries to spy on heads of states. For all I know,guys like Presidential advisor, Hajji Nasser Ssebagala and Hajji Bassajabalaba may be a creation of the USA intelligence to get close to museveni. Don’t be surprised if the Americans know even what Museveni says in his dreams. They use all kinds of tactics to get information, and it usually never comes cheap. They know everything happening in dictatorships, a reason i rarely sign petitions presented to them.
‘MILITARY ATTACHES’ & EMBASSY SPYING
The ‘military attaches’ attached to the embassies are responsible for intelligence matters, holding situation assessments and meetings to exchange information with individuals or countries. This is acceptable in all embassies all over the world by all countries and there is nothing unusual in this. My argument is that the Uganda government does not have the financial resources to facilitate this office, a reason i think most Uganda embassies are occupied with stuff like establishing business relations among countries and issuing visas.
Spying, intelligence or selling information is an expensive exercise, and the rich countries get credible information unlike the Ugandas of this world because they can spend. In Uganda, someone can be taken to court by the prosecutor based on some silly reports by a ‘surviving’ spy in Lyantonde, when in reality there is nothing credible to persecute that person with.
Most of our intelligence gathering is based on humans not technology, and that is causing us a lot of problems. We don’t have expensive stuff like the GPS tracking devices used by the FBI in USA. It is such an expensive device but it can give you better information than humans. The CIAs have got surveillance satellites but for us, we rely on the Tinyefunza and Kakoza Mutale ‘boys’ to get intelligence on judges, opposition leaders, Kony, e.t.c.The Surveillance sats are expected to last a few years – meaning they have to be put in an orbit of at least 100 miles.
Most of our Spies work for pay, rather than for ideology,such that this makes the whole exercise difficult. Actually, most of them work to appease president Museveni such that he keeps their accounts going, and this leads to all sorts of problems. For instance, a spy can ‘sex up’ a report that involves the people he knows that Museveni hates.
Police departments in developed nations use all sorts of information about people, including credit card receipts, toll both records, street cameras, security cameras, ATM cameras, and other records, to eliminate suspects. Any private organization may voluntarily provide information about you to the police – as informants.
Some companies, like Microsoft, simply tell you that if you use a PC that runs Windows, you forfeit your right to privacy and Microsoft can give that information to anyone it wants. This includes law enforcement, or anyone willing to pay for access to the information. But can you see the Uganda govt paying companies huge amounts to give them such info with all the probems we have got back home? They can afford it with MTN, UTL and others back home but the prices are a bit different abroad.
USA uses Drones for things like Border Patrol and eliminating terrorists or assasinating leaders of rebel activities but for us, we have to rely on Colonel Muhoozi’s military skills to track down Kony and ADF leaders in Zaire. With a drone, they are effective when you need to monitor a few thousand square miles over several hundred miles – almost any tool that will help you identify suspicious activity – and intercept drug smugglers, slavers, or sex slavery operations, rebels – would be useful.
We simply cannot afford these things and that is why our intelligence system is full of loopholes. Spying is probably supposed to be more expensive than even building roads in the country. We simply can’t afford it, at least outside the boarders of Uganda.
‘GAO ZHAN’ CASE AND THE DANGERS OF SPYING
I’m not taking anything for granted at all. I know there is a possibility for me to be killed, tortured or imprisoned while in Uganda because of some false report some body may have made about me, but what I don’t believe is that the Uganda government has got the resources to run a credible spy network abroad. They simply don’t- just look at them with all the mistakes they have been making at home. Spying is such an expensive exercise and they cannot afford it. That is a fact!
To get credible information about anyone, you need to be closer to that person and one must establish trust to get credible information, but Ugandans abroad don’t even trust each other. Let me give you an example of the Gao Zhan case. I hope this case will wake people up. In case you don’t know: Gao was put into China’s jail in 2001, i guess, and Collin Powell went his all out to bail her out of the Chinese jail and brought her back to the US. On reaching USA, this lady started to spy for the Chinese government that had put her in jail. The Americans found out that she was selling military chips to China. She was put in jail for life in USA but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese would be trying up to now to get someone in the prison to ‘eliminate ‘her. It is called ‘destroying the evidence’.
For those making wrong reports on others, time will come and you regret it. For instance, there was a case in the USA in 2004 of a husband wife who described themselves as ‘former Cold War spies’ and they were suing the CIA for failure to for reneging on assurances they would be supported financially for life. In the end, the case was dismissed by the judge because courts are barred from reviewing claims that the CIA has wrongfully refused to pay for espionage services. So, you see how this couple ended up looking over their shoulders the rest of the lives because they simply don’t know what is gonna hit them. From what I have read, such groups of people are smartly ‘eliminated’ by the CIA to make sure that they don’t make such claims again or reveal any information they may know.
Spying is simply a dangerous game and I wouldn’t advise anybody to jump on it because of financial rewards, later on making false reports against people because you want to appease the people in power. Just find a career in something else because it is not worth it. Our government is simply too poor to pay what a spy is entitled to have.
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba