Politricks: Maligning Otunnu Through Innuendos

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[Global: Uganda]

There has been ranting in some Ugandan media and public accusing Dr. Olara Otunnu of complicity in the 1985 coup in Uganda.

At that time, Otunnu was Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, a position he had held not long after the fall of Idi Amin’s Government. And, it was President Obote who re-confirmed his same position in the Obote II Government.

These accusations have been thrown around and sometimes asked directly to Otunnu himself. However, nobody has even tried to provide the basis or any evidence of Otunnu’s alleged involvement in the coup. Although he has denied and addressed the allegations on several occasions before, some still continue to push the matter.

That is likely one of the reasons why Otunnu has recently avoided answering those same questions. There have also been some reports that UPC President, Maria Obote and some party officials are allegedly fronting the same allegations against Otunnu. Additionally, another report says that Obote’s family and his cousin, Nekyon Adoko, have rejected Otunnu's request to visit the late President Obote’s grave for the same reason.

So far, none of the people accusing Otunnu of involvement in the 1985 coup has provided any single evidence. What the accusers forget is that Dr. Obote himself gave several press interviews, both in print and live on radio. Andrew Mwenda, now publisher of Uganda's The Independent, did some of the interviews both in Lusaka and on Ugandan radio live; where Dr Obote himself answered some questions put from callers.

Additionally, Obote wrote numerous papers, and letters some of which are on the UPC website. At no time did Dr. Obote ever accuse Olara Otunnu of complicity in the 1985 coup. Who else would have known better than Obote himself?

In fact, in the last serialized interview of Obote by Mwenda shortly before his unfortunate demise, he clearly re-stated that Otunnu was one of the people he had considered to become a leader of the UPC or Uganda.

Obote named additional people, including Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and a couple of others. He then lamented as to why the brilliant Rugunda had got himself entangled with Yoweri Museveni and the NRM. At that time Obote could have also stated something if he believed that Otunnu was part of the 1985 coup.

Obote never accused Otunnu at the time of the Mwenda interview; or at any other time ever since he had gone into exile in Lusaka, Zambia. In the interview, Obote discussed many events including the coup, both Gen. Tito Okello and Maj. Gen Bazillio Okello and many others.

Otunnu was appointed Minister of foreign affairs in the Okello Government just like many others appointed ministers in previous governments not because of involvement in the change of the governments.

So, why are some people now attempting to manufacture unfounded allegations? Those who have real facts should present them openly and let the public make a determination.

If some of the reports that Nekyon is possibly among persons behind denial of Otunnu a visit to Obote’s grave is true, then many questions could be raised.

People who know Nekyon’s history should speak up and let the truth be out. Although Nekyon is one of Obote’s cousins, he was one of the biggest thorns in Obote’s side right from independence and during his administrations.

One main aspect in Uganda today is that many of us are totally influenced by Museveni’s dirty tactics of creating bogus stories to divert facts.

Unfortunately, such activities have become common play in Uganda to obscure the truth and prolong Uganda’s decline and sufferings.

What Uganda needs now are transparent democratic processes and not such allegations or tricks which stifle progress and prevent clean electoral processes.

Otunnu’s biggest problem may be that he sadly trusted Museveni during the Nairobi Peace Talks in 1985 --some have derided it as the Nairobi Peace Jokes-- which paved the way for the rise of Museveni and lead to the untold sufferings in Ugandan up today.

Please feel free to comment directly online or submit remarks to milton@blackstarnews.com

"Speaking Truth To Power."

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