Uganda: Emperor Museveni Tries To Block Sun From Shining Light On Crumbling Dictatorship

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[Commentary]

Gen. Museveni

 

Gen. Sejusa's Expose Of Alleged 'Muhoozi Project' Sets Chain-reaction Leading To Monitor Being Muzzled

A curious thing happened in Uganda on Thursday. There was news but it was not reported in the country's major daily newspaper.

Uganda's chief opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye reportedly was arrested in the capital city of Kampala. Separately the mayor of Kampala Erias Lukwago was reported assaulted by security forces.

Both incidents were reported by Reuters and the BBC; not by the country's major private newspaper, The Daily Monitor; it's also the country's leading daily newspaper in circulation.

Might it be that the government of Gen. Yoweri Museveni has forced The Daily Monitor to commit journalistic suicide?

The Daily Monitor was recently surrounded by security forces and its offices and computers searched after the newspaper published a letter by David Sejusa, a top advisor on security matters to the country's ruler for 28 years,  Gen. Museveni.

The letter had been written by Sejusa, a four-star general, and addressed to the country's Intelligence Chief asking for an investigation of an alleged plot to assassinate key politicians and military officers who opposed a plan by Gen. Museveni to install his son, brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba, as his successor.

Sejusa claimed he had learned that his name also was on the list of those targeted for killing. Sejusa has since fled to London and in an interview on the BBC this week denounced Gen. Museveni as a dictator who had to be "removed." He also cited Article 3 in Uganda's constitution that he says authorized resisting by "any necessary means" anyone who abrogated, subverted, or threatened the constitution -- he made it clear in the BBC interview that he was referring to his boss Gen. Museveni and in another interview told the BBC "we shall have to force him out".

After the Sejusa letter was published by The Daily Monitor newspaper and other private media companies, including The Red Pepper, some weeks ago, these media outlets were shut down. The Daily Monitor was only allowed to re-open several days later after it "agreed" to what amounted to capitulation to the government's attempt to muzzle the newspaper.

In the "agreement" The Daily Monitor, according to a statement by Hilary Onek, Uganda's minister of Internal Affairs,  "highly regretted the story that led to" the newspaper's closing -- which was publishing the Gen. Sejusa letter.

One of the conditions the newspaper also "agreed" to according to the Onek statement was: "They undertook to be sensitive to and not publish or air stories that can generate tensions, ethnic hatred, cause insecurity or disturb law and order."

Could that be how the government would interpret The Daily Monitor's reporting if the newspaper mentioned the arrest of Dr. Besigye and the assault on mayor Lukwago reported by the BBC?

If so, this would be a sad day for independent journalism in Uganda.

It would also be the clearest evidence of desperation, as an emperor tries to block the light from shining on a crumbling dictatorship. In the 21st century the truth can no longer be suppressed by any draconian laws.

The sun will have its day.

 

 

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