By Amb Henry Mayega
President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni, while attending one of the most recent Martyrs’ Day celebrations at the Catholic Shrine, Namugongo informed the audience of the incalculable time he takes in order to ensure the safety of Ugandans. That, unknown to some, defines his utmost job namely to protect us all including his opponents; he’s been there whenever duty called. This is why Uganda’s population has grown astronomically in these peace times since 1986.
In stark contrast, Both Patrick Amuriat and Wine Bobi, whose appetite for peace is blurred by their egoistic and short-term political ambitions, outlandishly rejected the EC guidelines and SOPs at the start of this electoral season! The fragrant fracases that were started by the duo, right from the presidential nominations to-date were judiciously responded to by the security forces in order to enforce adherence to those guidelines and SOPs. The un-deadened chorus from some quarters regarding the forces’ actions has resonated with the enduring opposition’s parroted narrative of being harassed. That begs the question: has every Ugandan become a security expert?
First, the participants in that chorus need to be upskilled and groomed about the basis of security forces’ actions. They, in executing their duties, rely on intel information as well as footages from CCTV cameras, not hear-say. This is why many goons who foolishly took part in last week’s horrendous riots have been harvested and their networks unwrapped. The furor of last week was punctuated by damaging of private and public vehicles, looting of shops, burning of tires on roads and dismembering their pavements into debris that was used to pelt security forces – the tires were meticulously distributed by a well-networked group of NUP goons, erecting illegal roadblocks to extort money from the general public, beating and undressing of both yellow-clad and other pedestrians, vandalized CCTV cameras, dismantling candidate Yoweri Museveni’s campaign billboards, some attempted to burn a petrol station in Mityana. One of the goons, Ashraf Simbwa was seen in a clip hammering a policeman who was clearing debris. Those goons, according to police, had been undergoing training and had formed cells, etc. And the forces, according to the chorusing groups, were expected to massage such goons. Is that kind of group we should bequeath our country to?
Secondly, the chorus from the unity pack of Mugisha Muntu, Nobert Mao, Henry Tumukunde and one Zedriga at their November 20 press conference at Makerere’s guest house about the actions taken by security was not surprising, though injudicious and gormless; put together on the political weighing scale, the pack is light weights compared to Uganda’s best President, Yoweri Museveni. Out of the pack, one should have expected Muntu and Tumukunde to appreciate security matters better and guide the other gullible duo. Opposition unity has always been a powder keg in Uganda in particular and Africa in general; Uganda rode that path with devastating sequels in 1962, 1979, 1985, etc. Elsewhere in Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe bestrode those apocalyptic experiments as well.
Thirdly, the hair-brained civil society and social media joined in the chorus of condemning the forces particularly oblivious of the latter’s exclusive consumption of intel information and usage of CCTV cameras which captured well-coordinated NUP goons distributing tires and debris which were used in the malfeasances of last week. Indeed some in our midst need nudging about matters of security which are not characteristically browned in public; they might be a subject of candid discussion though but this column must add, they are not for gallery consumption purposes.
The CCTV cameras captured well-coordinated NUP goons distributing tires and debris which were used to stage illegal roadblocks and pelt security forces respectively.
Fourthly, the inter-religious council, in tow, rightly weighed in on the matter; they, however, glossed over the goons’ psychosis state by parroting the opposition’s narrative of being harassed; they muted their condemnation of the goons’ misdemeanors. A glance at the handling of riots elsewhere on the globe tells volumes of how riots are handled: France did not massage the yellow vest rioters in Paris and other cities last year; they were teargassed, truncheons were used against them and security forces employed everything in their power including live ammunition to quell the recalcitrant rioters. That, unfortunately, resulted in a number of deaths.
Relatedly, President Museveni was quoted by the New Vision of November 20, 2020, saying, “some… groups are being used by outsiders - homosexual groups… who don’t like the stability and independence of Uganda…” Food for thought for our religious leaders! The goons and their coordinators, whose job it has been to break newly constructed road pavements handsomely paid for by bombastic taxpayers, are actually being bankrolled by those uranian and inverted groups.
The coordinators of the goons had, initially after the arrest of wine, posted fake news that he had been killed; that was deliberately intended to shove the country into a crescendo of chaos. And the exhibits found with the goons arrested: bows, arrows, and piles of used vehicle tires, bottles, drums of fuel, and evidence of mobile money transactions to fund the rioters!
Amb. Henry Mayega
Deputy Head of Mission Designate,
Uganda Embassy, Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates