The ongoing age limit debate has exposed the government of Uganda, its weakness, the level of panic and emotion in which its personnel act and the incompetence of government senior officials coupled with the recklessness.
I will quote four people, Hon Frank Tumwebaze minister for ICT and information, Hon Anite Evelyn – minister for investment, Hon Dr Chris Baryomunsi- state ministry for lands and Mr Ofwono Opondo the government spokesperson.
According to the procedure, given their positions, all these people qualify to speak for government and whatever they say can’t be mere propaganda or Street talk but an official view and position of government of Uganda.
When grenades were found in the homes of Opposition members of parliament, Ofwono Opondo made a statement on his Twitter that opposition members were hurling grenades at their homes in order to frame government, the same was echoed by the Presidential advisor Tamale Mirundi on his NBS show on the same day.
Some may believe that as usual this was a mere excuse and scapegoat by these senior government officials trying to shy away from truth but royal citizens of Uganda who believe in whatever government says have a reason to worry. Many questions should be answered by Ofwono Opondo and his government.
One that people who are opposed to the NRM regime, whose activities have been criminalized to the extent that three of them can’t legally hold a meeting without a permission from the Inspector General of police as per law, now have a capacity to either purchase or manufacture grenades or other explosives and throw them wherever they what and they explode without being detected, is not only negligence of duty by security but also a signs of a failing state, if indeed it’s opposition MPs doing so, then next time they have the capacity to throw them not near but inside state house or any minister’s residence!
It’s is quite ridiculous, that the police which monitors opposition politicians twenty four hours to the extent of detecting and foiling their planned demonstrations, cannot detect an explosive or grenade, is not only a sign of failure but incompetence of the highest order on part of national security.
And to make matters worse, the minister of information Frank Tumwebaze also recently made a similar statement while talking to media at parliament, he said that opposition leaders connive with the police officers to arrest them so as to gain sympathy and get media coverage. I think it’s not true, nobody would wish to sleep in police cells or to be brutally arrested, but also going by that, in making such a statement what message did minister Frank send to the world?
That Ugandan police officers can be manipulated or compromised to do a wrong thing to suit ones interest!
He was showing that so long as one has a personal friendship or contact with a police officer then he can use it to arrest anybody or perpetrate own arrest! That police doesn’t work on intelligence information but rather on individual people’s wishes, and that police doesn’t follow the law in executing their duties!
But how comes this is a police force that has been professionalized for thirty one years?
Now as all this happens, in the same period a minister enters parliament chambers with a gun, and security claims that he wasn’t checked because he entered not through main gate, so what meaning does such a messages carry to the world, moreover in a country like Uganda that is at the forefront of fighting terrorism?
So our ministers are telling the world that we are such a reckless country that once you compromise police you can do anything you want? They are demonstrating to the world that even the deployments that they make are simply scare crows that can neither detect a gun whisked to parliament by a minister nor can they detect a grenade or any explosive purportedly planted by an opposition politician!! What a shame! What a shame!
Before I conclude this piece, let me talk About Hon Anite and Hon Dr Baryomunsi. The two are the leading ministers campaigning for the removal of age limit from the constitution.
The whole world knows that the MPs pushing for this amendment are fortune hunters either looking for money or appointments, they have vehemently denied this fact, again the whole world knows that this amendment is being made to favour and help Mr Museveni, they denie this fact too.
However, Dr Baryomunsi has twice on NBS front line program alleged that opposition leaders including Dr Miria Matembe have been going to state house to beg for money from the President, the same statement was echoed by Hon Anite Evelyn while talking to the media after a chaotic parliamentary sitting in which she was accusing Hon Odongo Otto for failed attempt to export money from Museveni to support age limit!
I know and believe that these Honourable ministers make these statements to blackmail and discredit opposition leaders and also to divert people’s attention from real issues, however, I wish also to analyse these statements with the soberness they deserve!
First, these ministers are confirming that Museveni is the beneficiary of age limit, because if he wasn’t the beneficiary why would anybody attempt to seek a bribe for him to support a motion that is not intended to benefit him?
Secondly, they confirm that Museveni has been compromising opposition leaders with money to silence them, forgetting that in an act of bribery, the giver and the receiver are all guilty.
They confirm the fact that once anybody gets money from the President then it is paid pack through giving political royalty and selling ones conscience.
That Museveni has turned state house into a bank where people go to pick money.
But also assuming that these ministers saw any opposition politician or activist at state house, is state house a house for NRM only or it’s a house for all Ugandans? So in their sense, State house and the Presidency should only serve those who politically serve Museveni which to me is unfair and out of order.
I believe our ministers and senior government officials should avoid making statements that cast government in bad light when they are talking to public.
Muhimbise Ntawangwa George
muhimbise @gmail.com, 0787836515.
The writer is a political analyst based in Kamwenge district