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IS UGANDA’S MUSEVENI PREPARES STATE OF EMERGENCY AHEAD OF 2011 ELECTIONS?

By Norman Miwambo
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He came to power four (4) years before British Prime Minister Margaret

Thatcher called it a quit, then John Major, Tony Blair and now Gordon

Brown, but Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni whose government receives over £ 67 million towards Uganda's annual budget now seems to be preparing to stand for the same office early next year.

Although, the United State (US) Congress last month issued a Congregational directive calling on the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to closely monitor the preparation for next year's Uganda presidential run and the voting itself. The Congress also called on Clinton to issue report every four months and another after that, with their $67 million, the UK which leads the donor community have no message to Mr Museveni. He's been in office for nearly a quarter century, sponsored with support by successive U.K and U.S. Administrations, dating from Margaret Thatcher's and Ronald Reagan's.

What if he is rejected? What will be the next move? That is exactly a question many politicians are yearning for in a country with a president who has been in power for nearly a quarter of a century.

Subsequent fires that destroyed almost all of the Baganda Royal Burial

Grounds in Kasubi 4km west of Uganda's capital Kampala on Tuesday, March

16, tensions are rising between the Buganda government and President

Yoweri Museveni's regime.

Reports of accusations and counter accusations between the central

government and Buganda Kingdom are still trading the entire atmosphere in

the country.

Some Ugandans and Buganda's royalists both at home and abroad have been

exchanging comments through social networks, text messages pointing a

finger at the Government of President Museveni of creating a provocative

atmosphere in the country that would result into a declaration of a state

of emergency.

The current-day Uganda attained its name from the ancient Kingdom of

Buganda, a hereditary monarchy whose custodian, His Majesty Ronald Muwenda

Mutebi II.

Buganda Kingdom Member of Parliament (Lukiiko), John Ssebaana Kizito, who until lately been the leader of one of the country's oldest political

parties, the Democratic Party (DP), accused the Museveni government of

trying to find all sorts of excuses to cause chaos ahead of the country's

general elections due early next year.

In a telephone interviews from the capital-Kampala, Ssebaana Kizito

alleged that the Museveni leadership has an agenda of their own that will

make it impossible for the 2011 elections to be held. “They are provoking

people to create an environment suitable for the declaration of a state of

emergency. We have tried to sensitise [our] young men to avoid such

situations that create chaos. But they are being provoked in order to

cause them to react,” he said.

He was responding to the spar that broke-out as Buganda loyalists and

security men at the Kasubi Royal Tombs Tuesday, when President Museveni

forced his way into the destroyed tombs. The President's action resulted

into three fatalities and left scores injured when his beefy guards used

live ammunition to stop the crowd that was trying to deny him access to

the site.

“We live in a country of violence so we cannot rule out anything [to]

happen. All these things might be happening to justify [a declaration of]

a state of emergency,” Mr Ssebaana Kizito said. He added that the Buganda

Kingdom was now in fear of the life of His Majesty the Kabaka (King) of

Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II. “We are worried for the life of our

king. You can imagine if someone can burn such a historical piece of our

heritage. You do not know what is next,” he said.

Ssebaana Kizito expressed fear that these are very bad times for Buganda

Kingdom of Buganda. “We are in a trying time. Whoever did this had a

secret agenda for the people of Uganda. This kind of provocation points to

a very bad time Ugandans are destined to, ahead of the 2011 election,” he

said.

Commenting on the destruction of the UNESCO-certified World Heritage Site

during the scuffle at Kasubi Tombs and the consequent killing of unarmed

civilians, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), Major Felix Kulaigye,

expressed sorrow for the destruction of the royal tombs. “These tombs were

not only for the Buganda Kingdom but for all Ugandans as a whole world,”

said Maj. Kulaigye.

The army spokesman further said that the security forces had been provoked

into reacting the way they did. “Thank God they were professional

otherwise many people would have lost their lives. Security was strained

in such difficult circumstances,” he added. He also said that it was not a

good idea for the Buganda loyalists to try and deny President Museveni

access to the site, specifically the kingdom's attorney general who he

accused of going to one of the radio station and make comment against the

president's visit. When pressed to mention the station, Maj. Kulaigye

promised to find it out. “This is a world heritage site,” said Maj.

Kulaigye.

However, Buganda's Attorney General, Apollo N Makubuya has denied

accusations made by Maj. Kulaigye. “It's not true that I opposed to the

president's visit to the wrecked toms,” said Mr Makubuya, explaining that:

“I suggested that the president should have come at a later stage. The

timing was bad.”

“Even the Katikiro [Buganda's Prime Minister JB Walusimbi], had already

advised the President not to come at that moment,” said Makubuya. He

added: “The time and way how he [the President] came in was not right, it

resulted into killing people.”

“I was there and I had studied the situation and the people's mood. I

discussed this with Sakira [Moses Sakira, Uganda's deputy director of CID]

and he communicated to them but they refused,” Buganda attorney further

explained, adding: “Mr Kulaigye's accusations against me are not right. He

should have consulted me before making such comment.”

When contacted to comment on what had happened, the Uganda Inspector

General of Police (IGP), Maj Gen Kale Kayihura said: “It was

understandable that there were some emotions among the people.”

“The problem was accessing the venue because there were some drunken

hooligans who had gone to block off all vehicles accessing the site,” said

Maj. Gen. Kayihura, adding that: “In the process of crowd control, some

hooligans started throwing stones at security forces.”

Kayihura's explanation for the shooting is that: “In an attempt to restore

order, the soldiers started shooting in the air. Unfortunately some people

were killed.”

The police chief further claimed that the security forces had been

overwhelmed by what he continuously referred to as 'drunken, 'hostile' and

'violent hooligans'. The same people, he added, made it difficult for fire

engines to access the area. He revealed that it would now be difficult to

find the cause of the fire because 'the place had already been

contaminated'.

Contrary to the police chief's assertion, President Museveni's press

secretary Mr Tamale Mirundi refused to be drawn on what had happened

saying: “Where the military like the PGB [Presidential Guard Brigade] is

involved, I can't comment.”

“PGB has its own spokesman, don't expect Mirundi to comment,” said Tamale

Mirundi, adding: “Once an investigation committee has been instituted,

everybody has to keep quite. So, don't expect me to comment. If you have

evidence, bring it to the investigation team.”

The Press Secretary to President Museveni added: “Let us wait for the

investigation [ordered by the president] to be completed.”

The Buganda Government has started its own investigation. Buganda's state

minister for information, Medard Lubega Sseggona said: “We've started a

private investigation and we have requested the security people to vacate

the site,” he said. Segona added that the security forces deployed by the

Museveni government had now moved at least 200 metres from the scene. We

did this because we do not have to take responsibility for the provocation

that is likely to ensue. This could result in a violent reaction.”

Museveni's government has been so enthusiastic to declare an investigation

whenever such strange incident happens. However, previous history shows no

such investigation has ever yielded any conclusive evidence on what had

actually happened. For example, when the former Energy Minister, Dr

Andrew Lutakome Kayiira, was assassinated in March 1987, at a friend's

house, President Museveni's government brought in the specialised Scotland

Yard police from London to investigate. To this day, their findings have

never been made public. Last year, when contacted the Scotland Yard to

avail this reporter with an authenticated copy in the murder of Dr

Kayiira, the Information Manager, Specialist Crime Directorate, James

Young said that the content could dent the relationship between the

British and Uganda government.

In a communiqué to this writer Young said: “Having located and considered

the relevant information, I am afraid that I am not required by statute to

release the information requested.” He also explained that, he would not

release the report because its contents could prejudice the relationship

between the UK and the Government of Uganda. Last year's refusal was the

first official indication from the Scotland Yard that it is unwilling to

let Ugandans know what is really contained in its report about the

assassination of Dr Kayiira. British spy the Yard, had never maded any

comment about its findings, and although, the Uganda government and some

DP officials published what each called the true report in the murder of

Dr Kayiira.

This possibly point to the facts of the outcome of the previous

investigations under President Museveni.

When the Permanent Secretary of Defence Ministry and the then close aide

to the president, Brig. Mayombo's suddenly died, in an oddly circumstance,

an investigation was ordered and to this day, no one knows what such an

enquiry has come up with. Other investigation that have never seen the

space in the public include: that of a prominent Lawyer Robinah Kiying,

Maj. Gen James Kazini, and Brian Bukenya [son to Uganda's Vice President],