Uganda President's "Death" Threats?

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[International: Uganda Opinion]


There are few missives in which we get an insight into the thinking that shapes and informs our President’s actions and I believe his expose in the Sunday Vision of February 10, 2008 ( is one of them.

The extent of his vindictiveness towards those that do not view Uganda from his perspective is apparent in the venom that he spits in response to Beti Kamya’s forthright handling of a sensitive issue.

Museveni contends that by saying that ‘like the Kenyans, we are going to have to fight to extricate ourselves from Museveni’s paws,’ she is violating the Constitution of Uganda. But why is Museveni annoyed by Beti’s call on Ugandans to fight for their rights?

Was it constitutional for Museveni to choose the ‘bush’ option in 1980? Did he not follow through with his threat to fight Milton Obote if he stole an election in 1980 with a five-year bush war in which thousands of Ugandans were killed? Is he not the one who came to power through a furnace?

The President states: ‘If Museveni and NRM are so terrible, why does she not call for Ugandans to vote them out of office in 2011? Why war?’

Has Museveni not recently stated that had the opposition won the election in 1996 he would have returned to the proverbial bush? Why does Museveni think that he will be the last liberator of our people? Why should anyone be admonished for suggesting a solution to Uganda’s problems that is similar to the one Museveni proposed and executed not so long ago?

It is not the Beti Kamyas of this world that are inviting war, but an executive that is intransigent and refuses to build mechanisms that can be entrusted with a free and fair political transition. The President surely knows more than anyone else that a state which fails to hold free and fair elections is inviting war.

The state has slowly and systematically eroded institutions and taken control of all resources and opportunities available in the economy and society either directly or by proxy through its patronage network. Dissenters are isolated and deliberately impoverished, making it difficult for opponents to build strong political institutions.

A government that weakens other branches of government and ensures that political change cannot be achieved through elections; one that exercises control over the legislature through bribery and intimidation to ensure that it’s interests are promoted over and above the people’s social, political and economic priorities; a government that controls the judiciary and ensures compliance through appointing cadre judges is inviting war.

The President rejects Beti’s reference to his regime as a vicious dictatorship because ‘Beti can continuously write seditious articles and engage in incitement over the radios and sleep in her bed.’ Museveni ought to know that it is the responsibility of his government to ensure that Beti continues to sleep peacefully in her bed even when she writes negatively about his regime.

Ugandans know that while some opposition MPs are sleeping soundly in their beds, other activists are sleeping eternally in their graves thanks to this benevolent dictatorship. The name Andrew Lutaakome Kayiira comes to mind.

By now the public has figured out that dictatorship in Uganda is so sophisticated that it does not always shatter the heads of its opponents with blunt objects like in the case of Mamenero. Evidence of the viciousness of Museveni’s regime is written all over his response to Beti.

He writes, ‘Anybody who tries to initiate war in Uganda, especially now, will perish. I guarantee Beti and her like that anybody who tries to promote or execute genocide will also perish... Moreover, it is not acceptable that anybody should threaten war even by words.’

So in one paragraph, the President not only creates the impression that Beti is promoting genocide, he also threatens her with death! (Unless someone can give me a new definition for the word perish!)

Unfortunately for Beti, the President is protected from prosecution and Beti does not have the luxury of threatening him with criminal prosecution until he is forced out of office.

Beti has been afforded a unique opportunity to deal with the issue of nepotism in open court. If she carefully gathers information to support her assertion of the disproportionate number of Museveni’s tribesmen and women in positions of influence throughout Ugandan society, she would have done the nation a great service.

She should also use the floor of Parliament to speak up against such raw intimidation of opposition activists and to highlight the threat that is not only aimed at her but at all Ugandans who are foresighted enough to realize that war is a natural consequence of oppression.

But by far the most revealing part of Museveni’s response and vindictiveness is his vulgar attempt to link Beti Kamya to the failures of Idi Amin’s regime by drawing her late father’s name into a debate where he has no place.

The most sinister remark being the closing one that reminds Beti that ‘Even the children of former Amin soldiers, like Beti, were not victimized’ In other words, Beti should fall on her knees and thank Museveni for upholding the law. That remark surely is beneath contempt.


The article first appeared on The Weekly Observer in Uganda


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