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GOVERNMENT SHOULD LEAVE KALYEGIRA ALONE

By Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Dear people,
I agree with the Daily Monitor's Daniel Kalinaki analysis of Timothy Kalyegira as a conspiracy theorist rather than a terrorist or seditionist (going by the charges laid against him by the government). There is an old saying that one can never convince anyone who doesn't wish to be convinced and I think whatever Kalyegira writes is up to the readers to make up their own minds on whether it's true or not. I don't believe in conspiracy theories but I think it's wrong for a government to arrest a journalist for writing something that they feel very passionate about. As long as the media, TV journalists in particular, continue to leave some important questions lying dormant, people will continue to write their own opinions and there is very little the state can do about it.

It's now acceptable worldwide that anyone who questions the settled version is ridiculed as another one of those "conspiracy nuts" but I think arresting and charging a journalist or anybody with sedition is a step too far. This kind of situation discourages further investigations, disparages all independent thinking, and all further efforts to find answers to all the unanswered questions simply peter out.

The July bombings in Kampala were as shocking as the September 11th attack on New York and several conspiracy theories were written after these attacks. Alexander Emerick Jones is on of USA's 'conspiracy theorist' and journalist but the government there has never arrested him for sedition.

Film maker, Michael Moore, did a documentary titled 'fahrenheit 9 11'' that indicated that 9/11 was really a CIA plot but nobody searched his house or asked passwords for his emails. Another documentary titled 'Loose Change' ridiculously came to the same conclusion as that of Michael Moore's and some people loved it. Moore's documentary delayed being released in USA due to its controversy but it was allowed in time here in Britain, and I was among the first batch to watch it in the cinema.

Craig Unger also wrote an informative book which he called 'House of Bush, House of Saud', and it criticizes the Bush administration for allowing so many Saudis, including the relatives of bin Laden, to leave the country quickly after Sep 11th, while all other flights were grounded, without being questioned about the terrorist attacks. Unger cites FBI and Police agents as witnesses, but he also never faced the same wrath as Uganda's Timothy Kalyegira after the bombings in Kampala.

What actually the then CIA director and Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, did after conspiracy theorists went into gear was to issue a press statement in June 2005, stating that:"The American people know what they saw with their own eyes on September 11, 2001. To suggest any kind of government conspiracy in the events of that day goes beyond the pale." They didn't need to arrest people who differed with the government position on matters.

The truth is that several conspiracy theories have existed in our life time and several others will come up after us. For example: the owner of Fulham FC here in England, Alfayeed, also came up with a theory that Princess Diana and his son, Dodi, were murdered, but the UK government didn't arrest him. He actually spent a lot of money on this investigation but it yielded nothing and now he has let it go.

There is also a theory that soft drink Fanta was invented by the Nazis but we are still enjoying our Fanta, don't we?

When president Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, innumerable theories were written about him. Oliver Stone made a film called 'JFK' and it sold like hotcakes worldwide. The same Oliver did a film on Ronald Reagan when he was shot, titled "The Day Reagan Was Shot,” and he made a lot of money out of it. Reagan was shot and critically wounded on March 30, 1981.

In Uganda, up to now, people don't believe that General Kazini was indeed murdered by a mere woman despite several contrary reports by the government.

Therefore, Please I request the government to leave Timothy Kalyegira alone. The police who arrested and charged him should be the one to be charged with sedition: for attempting to turn our Constitutional Republic into a Dictatorship. The sedition Act was introduced in USA in 1918 during World War I basically because it was a very unpopular war and therefore suppression of speech was necessary at the time, but the last sedition case to the U.S. Supreme Court was Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), when it overturned conviction of a KKK leader on similar grounds as in Yates. KKK leader advocated in speech the use of violence to effect political change. He was convicted under Ohio statute banning advocating violence for political change but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it; saying law must distinguish between advocacy of ideas and incitement to unlawful conduct. This is the law today.

The bottom line is that the events of July bombings need a better investigation. Maybe most of the events were close to what the government and mainstream wants to claim, but there are definitely unanswered questions and Ugandans wishes to know them. The issue is all about lack of trust between the government and the people they lead, a loop hole some people will always exploit.

Byebyo ebyange
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
United Kingdom
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