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‘Security will question Otunnu upon return’

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ByaseL, Jun 30, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Jun 30, 2009
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    Gerald Bareebe & Andrew Pacutho

    The Government yesterday said that it would grant a passport to Mr Otunnu but he might have to answer charges relating to seditious statements he made in 2006 against the government over the war with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

    In an interview with Daily Monitor yesterday, Internal Affairs Minister Kirunda Kivejinja said under the dual citizenship Bill, which was passed by Parliament last month but still awaits signing by the President, Otunnu can legally re-acquire Ugandan citizenship if he is not considered a security risk by the National Citizenship and Immigration Board.

    Later at a press conference at State House, Entebbe, President Museveni said Mr Otunnu was free to return to Uganda, but with a disclaimer that only the Police was in position to comment on whether he had a case to answer or not.

    “Olara Otunnu is a Ugandan although I heard he had gotten a Namibian passport (Otunnu is said to have attained Ivory Coast citizenship after Uganda declined to support his bid for the UN secretary generalship-Ed). However, he can throw it away and come back. He is welcome,” Mr Museveni said.

    “If he made a mistake, you could ask the police and as you very well know, I am not a policeman – I don’t work in the CID. So if he has a case to answer, that is a question of the police.”
    Mr Kivejinja said the new duo citizenship Bill could be a big opportunity to Mr Otunnu, giving him a lifeline to return and play a part in Ugandan politics, if he so wishes.
    “Our laws were rigid against people with two citizenships,” Mr Kivejinja said.

    “But the reality emerged that we have a big group of Ugandans who are living abroad and contributing tremendously to our national economy. We realised that we cannot alienate these people from their mother country. We come up with the idea of duo citizenship. So, Mr Otunnu has a right to acquire a Ugandan citizenship.”

    Mr Kivejinja, however, said Mr Otunnu should be brought to book over what he called ‘exceeding the limit’. It is reported that, in a speech in Australia in June 2006, Mr Otunnu accused the Ugandan Government and President Museveni personally of carrying out a “methodical and comprehensive genocide” against the Acholi people of northern Uganda.

    He also accused Mr Museveni of leading a “campaign of ethnic racism and dehumanisation” in the north, using HIV/AIDS as a “deliberate weapon of mass destruction” and sabotaging all efforts to end the war.

    Mr Kivejinja said: “Let him come. What matters is that we have laws. When you go beyond your talking limit we can also see how to react. It is not my job as a minister but we have a department of criminal investigation if there is a case, he will be prosecuted.”

    Mr Kivejinja said Mr Otunnu must first renounce his Ivorian citizenship before contesting against President Museveni or else he will be technically kicked out of the race because the Ugandan laws do not allow people with duo citizenship to occupy ‘sensitive offices’.

    “There are sensitive positions which we emphasised that they should be a reserve for people who only have Ugandan citizenship because someone can come here and mess us and then go away,” Mr Kivejinja said.
    According to the new duo citizenship Bill, no person holding a duo citizenship can qualify to hold the office of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister or be appointed a minister.

    But Mr Otunnu has been quoted denying that he applied for and was granted Ivorian passport. “I have never switched my citizenship; this is vintage Museveni disinformation, designed to conceal the dark deed of his own hand,” Mr Otunnu was quoted by a local paper last week. “It is Museveni himself who, for over 20 years, has rendered me a stateless person by robbing me of my Ugandan passport.”