By Alex Muhumuza
Sam Buchana – the man arrested for dealings in fake gold and other scams by agents of Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and UPDF soldiers – does not “work for Rwanda”, as repeatedly alleged by Kampala’s propaganda machinery.
Rather, according to information reaching us, Buchana is a crook that has been defrauding local and international businesspeople for several years – something that has been made possible because of his personal connections to the Ugandan first family. Buchana is married to Patricia Magara, daughter of Sam Magara, one of Museveni’s earliest recruits in his war against Milton Obote.
Magara died in the earlier stages of the war and it is well known that Museveni adopted Patricia and catered for her schooling until she grew up. Later when she married Buchana it was Museveni that gave her away as the father. Patricia Magara, a lawyer by training previously worked in Uganda’s State House before moving on to set up her own firm which she currently manages.
“Buchana’s close links with the first family is what has enabled this notorious crook to operate so freely, openly and repeatedly, pulling off scams any single one of which would long ago have earned other people a lengthy stay in prison,” said a source knowledgeable about the man’s dealings.
As if to highlight his high connections, the home of the well-known city fraudster in Muyenga – one of Kampala’s most affluent neighborhoods – is protected by troops of the Special Forces Command, also known as Uganda’s presidential guard. The man practically has left a trail of tears in his wake perpetrating several fraudulent acts in the Ugandan capital.
Some of Buchana’s greatest hits include getting some Libyan businessmen to hand him US$ 300,000 after he convinced them he had gold bars worth that amount. Upon examining the “gold”, one of the Libyans almost collapsed after they discovered it was fake. The Arab gentlemen reported the case to police who did exactly nothing to apprehend the suspect, even after making the Libyans record statements multiple times.
Next to fall victim were some South Koreans whom Buchana defrauded and left in a hotel. It was said that he demanded eight ambulances and in exchange gave them fake gold, according to news sources. Buchana, it is said, has stolen an estimated US$ 1.3 million from several foreign businesspersons this year alone according to Ugandan sources.
However when CMI arrested him it was not because they were after him for breaking the law. “Not at all!” highly reliable sources have revealed. “(CMI boss Brig. Gen. Abel) Kandiho did not apprehend Buchana for committing crimes. Kandiho had Buchana picked up because he had declined to hand over a bigger percentage of the proceeds from his scams, frauds and thefts!” the source said.
Analysts knowledgeable about centers of power in Uganda also say that there is no way Kandiho would ever have dared arrest a son in law of Museveni without the go-ahead of the first brother, Salim Saleh. It is widely known in Uganda that without Saleh’s approval or permission no one can carry out fake gold dealings, counterfeit currency, human trafficking and similar frauds.
“In Uganda when we talk of ‘the Mafias’, everyone knows that Saleh is a big godfather; a sharks in a sea of big criminal fish,” one Kampala writer that requested anonymity so as to talk freely said. To the writer, the mistake Buchana made was in thinking that just because he is an “almost” son-in-law of Museveni, it would protect him from Saleh when the latter demanded a bigger cut from his dealings.
“It doesn’t work like that in Uganda! If Saleh through Kandiho tells you, ‘give me a hundred percent of the money you fleeced in some fraudulent deal, better do so or else you end up in handcuffs and in a panda gari to Mbuya!” remarked the writer.
But as has become the custom in Uganda, regime mouthpieces began to smear Rwanda with their own bosses’ dirt the moment Buchana’s arrest last Friday 16 became public. A CMI and ISO agent called Seruga Titus that is well known for making wild allegations on his Facebook page claimed Buchana was “working for Rwanda”.
Some website called “ugandanz.com” was the first to publish the anti-Rwanda smears in an article headlined, “CMI and ISO arrest Rwandan intelligence member”. That was quickly echoed by Seruga and other regime propagandists. The misinformation specialists were spinning the line that, “CMI has struck another blow against Rwandan agents in Uganda.”
They dredged up every crime they accused Buchana of committing, in addition to the fake gold dealings – that included alleged “spying”, “murder” and the like – all supposedly on behalf of Rwanda. As usual the propagandists had nothing to back their claims. “These CMI tools are incredible the way they take people for fools,” remarked an observer.
“Who doesn’t know how the mafias in Kampala work; who in his right mind can believe that this Buchana has been selling fake gold, or fake currency without the knowledge and approval of Saleh and their minions!?” the writer wondered. “They just locked up the man because of their disagreements, then they try to fool the public that ‘Rwanda, Rwanda, Rwanda’ – twakoowa!” he exclaimed.
“We are so fed up with these crooks and their 33 years!”
Buchana was arrested by CMI, notorious torturers under any circumstances, but they did not mistreat him, going by how he appeared in Makindye Military Court this Monday. Some observers say it is apparent Saleh and Kandiho just wanted “to teach him a lesson”.
This is a far different case than that of the usual harassments, illegal arrests, detention and torture of innocent Rwandans, analysts point out. Any Rwandan they arrest will suffer all kinds of inhuman torture in CMI dungeons when charged with “spying”. Buchana’s appearance in court looking in good condition was further confirmation his problem had nothing to do with his being an alleged intelligence agent for Rwanda.
These Kampala mafias have even run out of lies now!, said a reader, shaking his head.
The latest news about the case highlights CMI’s modus operandi of concocting just about any charges against anyone its bosses may have reason to harass, torture or simply “teach a lesson”. According to news reports, the Makindye court is charging him with unlawful possession of firearms.
But on the day they arrested him, the charge was dealing in fake gold, while the propagandists were trying very hard to pin him on Rwanda with “intelligence” fictions.
With CMI the only thing one can be certain about is that whatever they do, even when they arrest a crooked person, it is never lawful, analysts note.