Uganda Peoples Congress

Ignore military men, Miria tells voters

From MONITOR News, February 21, 2006 ARUA


UPC presidential candidate Miria Kalule Obote has said her militant opponents in the race should not be voted because they would plunge the country into anarchy through military expeditions.

"I appeal to the electorate not to vote these militarists," Miria said in apparent reference to Gen. Yoweri Museveni, the NRM party candidate and the FDC leader, Col Kizza Besigye - who are the only contestants with military background.

"I am a woman of peace. When we have wars, it is the women who suffer most, remain as widows and shoulder the burden of bringing up the orphans in a miserable life," Miria said in a press statement issued from Heritage Gardens in Arua town on Monday. She said she was worried about the threats of looming war in the post-election war and "the youths of this country should not be drawn into wars. Lets us embrace peace and reconciliation".

Miria launched a scathing attack on Museveni for letting soldiers live in 'dreadful conditions.' "Our soldiers are living in a very deplorable situation, they sleep in funny, funny small huts called mama ingia pole. Others wear tattered uniforms and some do not have anything to put on. I was shocked to see some wearing rubber sandals and some torn gum boats," Miria said.

She added: "I have heard that some of the soldiers in up country areas whose salary is eaten by their bosses in Kampala stay without salary for six months and start selling bullets to drink alcohol and make ends meet. UPC will ensure that our sons and daughters in the armed forces get duty-free shops, better barracks and salaries and improved welfare".

The UPC leader, who returned to West Nile for a mop up of the votes pledged to construct Olewa hydro dam on River Enyau in Terego county, Arua district so as to attract industries and job opportunities in the area. Miria appealed to Ugandans to forgive past UPC leaders for any misdeeds that could have offended them individually.

She said Museveni had impoverished most Ugandans but made his relatives, friends and in-laws to be "filthy rich" and this is not acceptable. She repeated the pledge of establishing a university loan scheme for bright students from humble economic background so that higher and quality education is accessible and affordable to all Ugandans.

She later flew to Entebbe where she was scheduled to address a rally before proceeding to Ntinda and Makerere University in Kampala.