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Besigye: Museveni risking Bakiga lives

Discussion in 'Ugandan News and Politics' started by ByaseL, Aug 3, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Aug 3, 2009
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    Robert Muhereza & Tabu Butagira

    President Museveni’s proposal to shield elective political positions in Bunyoro region exclusively for natives is not only illegal but a serious “error of judgment” his biggest opponent, Dr Kizza Besigye said on Saturday.

    Speaking in Kabale, Dr Besigye, leader of Forum for Democratic Change party, the biggest opposition party, also criticised Mr Museveni for putting to risk, the lives of immigrants, particularly the Bakiga in Bunyoro.

    “The president’s statements leave the Bakiga at a great risk because they are living in Bunyoro,” he said during a talk show on Voice of Kigezi FM radio in Kabale, a district dominated by the Bakiga. “How do you ban a Ugandan from being elected into a political office yet it is their constitutional right.”

    In his July 15, letter, Mr Museveni proposed “ring-fencing” Bunyoro’s key political positions such as Parliamentary seat, District and Local Council III chair against immigrants, a proposal that would largely affect the Bakiga, the predominant immigrant community in Bunyoro.

    “Banning non-Banyoro from participating in politics is unconstitutional; it’s equal to abuse of their rights and a terrible error of judgment,” the FDC President said.
    Although Dr Besigye is a Muhororo, he hails from Rukungiri, a predominantly Bakiga District. Many people from there have since moved to the volatile Hoima, Masindi, Buliisa and Kibale districts of Bunyoro. Dr Besigye said structuring political participation on tribal inclinations shows that Mr Museveni “is not a nationalist.”

    Mr Museveni’s proposals have been flatly rejected by leading Bakiga politicians such as MPs Barnabas Tinkasiimire (NRM; Buyaga) and Marble Bakeine (NRM; Bugangaizi), both representing constituencies in Bunyoro who view the suggestions as a ploy to hamstring them politically. The President earlier vowed to fight ‘rebel MPs’ such as Mr Tinkasiimire during the next elections for publicly opposing party positions.

    The government has not responded to criticism that has met Mr Museveni’s proposals ever since Daily Monitor broke the story on Friday but yesterday, top government officials stepped in guardedly to do a late damage control.

    Dr Beatrice Wabudeya, the minister for the Presidency and principal recipient of the July 15, 2009 missive, said critics had misconstrued Mr Museveni’s intent. “If people have interpreted the letter as promoting sectarianism, then that is wrong,” she said, suggesting that they would have reached a more comprehensive position by Wednesday.

    She added: “Those who have jumped on the bandwagon from the wrong angle to criticise the central government would be embarrassed when we give our concrete position.”

    It was not immediately clear whether cabinet would have to reach a collective position on Wednesday before the government issues an official statement clarifying on the potentially divisive matter. The Presidential Spokesman, Mr Tamale Mirundi, said last night that the President had been bold enough to offer a proposal on an intricate problem.