Uganda: Opposition Chief Denounced
Reacting to allegations that Museveni had secretly met with some members of the opposition, Prof. Latigo said that, â€œThose are just idle talks with no substantiative truth in them. So canâ€™t engage into such idle talks.â€?
[Africa News Update]
The Uganda opposition party’s official representative inside parliament is under increasing pressure to quit his post with Diaspora Ugandans calling him “cowardly.”
While Professor Morris Ogenga Latigo is the FDC’s official designated opposition leader in Parliament, the party’s president is Dr. Kizza Besigye; many Ugandans believe Dr. Besigye was robbed in presidential elections of victory last year by President Yoweri Museveni.
Some of prof. Latigo’s colleagues within the Forum For Democratic Change (FDC), have questioned his leadership and his close relations with President Yoweri Museveni.
Now Ugandans in Diaspora have joined in a campaign challenging Prof. Latigo. Representatives of the main opposition political parties in Uganda (Group of Six- G-6) living in the United Kingdom have sent a strong worded petition to the leader of opposition in the Ugandan Parliament denouncing his poor performance.
We “wish to express our deep concern over your poor performance as our leader of opposition,” reads in part the petition signed by the organisation’s Chairman G6 and FDC C/Man Manchester branch, Prince Dickson Wasajja and the G6 UK Spokesman and JEEMA UK envoy, Dr. Rashid Kassato.
The petition was copied to Dr. Besigye, and the leader of other Ugandan political parties. “Your performance does not only fail us from demonstrating the opposition as a credible alternative government to the NRMO thuggery, but also contributes to the rudimentary and miserable services that Ugandan people receive from Museveni’s brutal and unaccountable movement government,” read the petition. NRMO is a reference to Museveni’s National Resistance Movement/Organization.
“Yes, we agree that Museveni has maintained a harsh political environment in Uganda for a healthy and civilised opposition politics, but what we can’t excuse you from, is using it as a cover up for your cowardly leadership given the fact that you have our full mandate,” the petition adds.
The group further wrote that, “You are giving the government a dismayingly easy and luxurious ride. Your endless worshipping of the regime is a betrayal to the Ugandan people. Instead of firmly sticking to the cause of the suffering millions of Uganda, you are auctioning the Ugandan oppressed people’s survival, cheaply to Museveni’s oppressive regime.”
Pressure against prof. Latigo rose last week when his FDC colleague in parliament Reagan Okumu (MP for Aswa County) questioned his leadership.
“Your recent approach and conduct during CHOGM exposed your fundamental lack of foresightedness, understanding and sensitivity to the needs and vulnerabilities of the victims of Museveni’s despotic government,” the petition reads in part, adding that, “To put it diplomatically, the opposition and Ugandans at large gained nothing yet it was a unique platform to expose to the world Uganda’s wounds and scars, which Museveni and his henchmen are inflicting on our beautiful country and its people.” CHOGM is a reference to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, recently hosted in Uganda.
The G-6 cited an example that Prof. Latigo’s failed to bring to light, the untold suffering of millions of women and children in northern Uganda, of which Museveni’s dictatorship is responsible, which “left us with unanswered questions about your loyalty to the Ugandan opposition when got at such a unique opportunity during Chogm,” reads the letter, referring to the recently concluded Commonwealth summit hosted in Uganda.
In their petition the group accuses the leaders of opposition for not addressing the issue of human violation saying that, “The torturing of innocent Ugandans by the regime’s security agencies and their subsequent disappearance after being incarcerated in the infamous “safe houses” (torture chambers) in which thousands have lost their lives, the institutionalised robbery, human rights abuses, etc, which you inexcusably failed to expose, granted ammunition to the conspiracy theorists who are questioning your allegiance to the Ugandan opposition.”
Prof. Latigo in a phone interview with The Black Star defended his record. “It’s true these are happening but we talk about such incidents,” he said, of the atrocities denounced in the petition.
“I was also beaten by soldiers in 2004, everybody knows about this and the case is before the high court. It’s not true that we don’t talk about such incidents, we do.”
“What source of information do they have in order to evaluate my performance?” he added, referring to the petitioners. “I can’t seek cheap popularity as alleged; all people know that I’m an academician not driven by sentiments or ego. I know I’m doing my work,” said Prof. Latigo, adding that, “I have been on the forefront to pushing the government on all matters of national interests."
Reacting to allegations that Museveni had secretly met with some members of the opposition, Prof. Latigo said that, “Those are just idle talks with no substantiative truth in them. So can’t engage into such idle talks.”
The Prof. also said that, “much as they criticise and do things they are doing in the UK which we are aware of, we are also doing everything thing here intelligently may be they are not aware of.”
Additionally, when commenting on the recent outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever which has claimed over 35 people including a medical doctor, Dr. Jonah Kule, who died on December 4, Prof. Latigo said that, “We talked about the issue in the Parliament and the government couldn’t respond.”
“They had invested a lot in Chogm. They didn’t want to undermine the preparations,” the professor said, referring to the millions the Uganda government invested in the Commonwealth summit, and apparently defending the government.
In the Ebola case, the government kept silent even though the first outbreak is suspected to have occurred much earlier than announced.
During his own recent trip to London, the FDC President Dr. Besigye had also accused the government of spending millions on sleek cars and wine for the Commonwealth meetings whilst its citizens were badly hit when floods devastated the north and north east.
Investigative news reporter Miwambo writes for The Black Star News from Europe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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