By Fred Kiva
President Yoweri Museveni has used the 55th Independence Anniversary Celebrations to warn whoever wants to suppress those with dissenting political views.
Mr Museveni says in the spirit of democracy every Ugandan should respect each other’s views, even though they may not be on the same political divide.
Without being specific, the president said that such people, who intimidate those that have divergent views will not be tolerated, saying “that is not what we fought for”.
The president who was presiding over Uganda’s 55th Independence Anniversary Celebrations at the Municipal Grounds in Bushenyi District said patriotic Ugandans paid heavily for self-rule and democracy.
“Democracy is about the harmonious coexistence of containing views. A democrat is therefore a person who disagrees with a view but at the same time defends the rights of someone to express their view he or she doesn’t agree with,” said Mr Museveni.
“Uganda’s independence and democracy was bought with blood or our patriots, therefore, nobody, nobody, nobody will be allowed to undermine it. I also wish to assure all Ugandans that the NRM government will continue to maintain peace and stability in Uganda,” the president said emphatically.
To put his statement in context, the president explained that he had recently heard some people trying to suppress other people's views, saying “this will be resisted in the strongest terms possible”.
“…in the recent past, I have seen people who for a long time have claimed to be democrats, attempt to violate the right of freedom of expression of the people. This intolerance is not what we fought for and it will therefore be resisted in the strongest terms possible,” Mr Museveni added.
The president’s remarks come just weeks after a sharp division in Parliament over a move to amend the constitution article 102(b) to lift the presidential age limits at 35years (lower) and 75years (upper). The rift became apparent last month, before and after parliament granted leave to Igara County West Member of Parliament Raphael Magyezi to draft a private member’s bill on the constitutional amendment.
Earlier the President had warned Permanent Secretaries who fail to punish civil servants that sabotage government work through engaging in acts of bribery and other forms of corruption.
Mr Museveni also urged veterinary officers to always guide farmers on how to apply acaricides in order to fight the deadly ticks and mites which have terrorized the livestock among the cattle keeping areas in the country.
He however noted that researchers under the ministry of agriculture are working on anti-tick vaccines which will help overcome the ticks and their associated problems.
Aga Khan decorated
Meanwhile, President Museveni awarded His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, the 'Most Excellent Order of Pearl of Africa, The Grandmaster' to recognise his decades of work and contribution to Uganda’s development.