Uganda Politico Fears State of Emergency

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Speaking on telephone from Kampala, the Ugandan capital, Kizito alleged that the Museveni leadership has an agenda of their own that will make it impossible for the 2011 elections to be held.

[Global: Africa]

Following the destructive fire that destroyed almost all of the Baganda Royal Burial Grounds in Kasubi on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital Kampala Tuesday, tensions are rising between the Buganda government and President Yoweri K. Museveni’s regime. The Black Star News's Norman Miwambo reports on accusations and counter accusations between both sides.

The Uganda Government of President Yoweri Museveni has been accused of creating a provocative atmosphere in the country that would culminate into a declaration of a state of emergency with sweeping powers for the regime.

In an interview with The Black Star News, John Ssebaana Kizito, a veteran Ugandan politician and until recently the leader of one of the country’s eldest political party, the Democratic Party (DP), accused the Museveni government of trying to find all sorts of excuses to cause chaos as the country gears towards the 2011 general elections.

Speaking on telephone from Kampala, the Ugandan capital, 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 provocating people to create an environment suitable for the declaration of a state of emergency. We have tried to sensitise [our] young men to avoid situations that create chaos. But they are being provocated in order to cause them to react,” he said.

The Ugandan politician was speaking in the wake of clashes between Baganda loyalists and security men at the Kasubi Royal Tombs Tuesday, when President Museveni reportedly forced his way into the tombs, an act that resulted in three people being killed and four injured when his bodyguards used live ammunition to stop the crowd that was trying to deny him access to the site according to news reports.

“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,” Ssebaana Kizito said. He went on to add that the Buganda Kingdom was now in fear for the life of HRH 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 went on to add that these were bad times for the kingdom of Buganda, the hereditary monarchy within Uganda. “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.

Contacted by The Black Star News to comment on the destruction of the Kasubi Tombs and the consequent killing of civilians afterwards, Major Felix Kulaigye, a spokesman for the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), the national army, said he regretted the destruction of the royal tombs. These tombs, he said, were not only for the Baganda but for all Ugandans as a whole.

The army spokesman went on to add that the security forces had been provoked.

“Thank God they were professional otherwise many people would have lost their lives. Security was strained in such difficult circumstances,” he said. He went on to add that it was not a good idea for the Baganda loyalists to try and deny President Museveni access to the site. “This is a world heritage site,” he added.

When contacted to comment on what had happened, the Uganda Inspector General of Police 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. In the process of crowd control, some hooligans started throwing stones at security forces. In an attempt to restore order, the soldiers started shooting in the air. Unfortunately some people were killed,” he explained.

The police chief claimed 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."

President Museveni’s press secretary Tamale Mirundi would not comment. “Let us wait for the investigation [ordered by the president] to be completed,” he said.

The Buganda Government has started its own investigation. Its deputy minister of information Medard Lubega told Black Star News: “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.

Photo Source: The Daily Monitor

Other Related stories:  "Ugandan photographers take heat after fire at royal tombs"

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