Uganda Peoples Congress





Lies Against UPC & Dr. A.M. Obote Will Not Salvage Gen. Museveni

  1. There have been recent press reports calculated to tarnish the image of the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) and its President, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote.
  2. The Sunday Vision of 8th August, 2004 reported in the Gossip Column that there was panic at Uganda House because Museveni was trying to woo Obote to return to Uganda and was scheduled to meet the UPC President in Lusaka.
  3. For its part the Red Paper of Monday 9th August, 2004 reported at page 7 that "during his recent visit to Lusaka, Zambia, UPC President Milton Obote asked to meet Museveni". The paper claimed that "Obote had sent feelers that he wanted to secure an amnesty and be allowed to return in the same fashion as Binaisa. He then summoned UPC Lawyer Peter Walubiri to Lusaka to give him legal counsel, a few hours to the meeting. UPC sources have told us that when Museveni had sat in the room waiting for Obote, different faces showed up: Walubiri. Obote's son and his doctor". The paper then adds, "Where is the Mzee"? Museveni asked them. "Sorry he has fallen sick they replied". What message has he sent me? Nothing much they replied. The paper adds that "It has since emerged that Walubiri could have hardened Obote's heart-pressuring him to up the ante."
  4. The source of these false press reports are of course not UPC as claimed. Rather, these reports are fabrications of Gen. Museveni's State House that were deliberately leaked to the government-controlled press. That is why reporters from Bukedde Newspaper, a sister to the New Vision, Capital F.M. owned by William Pike, the Managing Editor of the New Vision all rang the PPC Chairman last Saturday to inquire about Gen. Museveni's planned meeting with Dr. Milton Obote. It is for the same reason that William Pike told a friend last Saturday that Andrew Mwenda of the Monitor had gone to Lusaka to cover the Museveni/Obote meeting.
  5. The story in the Sunday Vision contradicts that of the Red Pepper and exposes the difficulty of sustaining a naked lie. While the Sunday Vision alludes to Gen. Museveni's scheme to woo Dr. Milton Obote home, the Red Pepper, known to be associated with a member of the first family, panders the lie that Dr. Milton Obote is begging Gen. Museveni for amnesty; one wonders what crime Obote committed? Returning to Uganda for any citizen is not a privilege but a birth right.
  6. UPC wishes to remind Ugandans and the international community that the series of lies about UPC and its Party President, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote by Gen. Museveni are not new. A few examples will suffice:
    1. A few years ago Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda went to Lusaka and told lies using dubious letters that cabinet had agreed on conditions for Dr. Obote's return.
    2. Two years ago, another lie was told to Obote's family Members in Lango that Government had negotiated with Dr. Obote his return and that his Lira residence would be renovated at a cost of Shs. 400m. Nothing came of these promises to renovate the house.
  7. Contrary to these lies about meetings with Dr. Obote and arrangements for his safe return, the NRM/NRA government has over the last 18 years been in the business of suppressing the inalienable fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Uganda including members of UPC and its leader, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote. In particular: -
    1. The UPC has been denied a voice in the politics of Uganda since the advent of the NRA administration.
    2. On the occasion of opening of Hotel Africana, General Museveni issued a public "fatwa" to the effect that if Dr. Milton Obote stepped at Entebbe Airport he would be put six feet down. This "fatwa" still stands.
    3. When on 12.1.2002 UPC tried to organise a public rally in support of the global campaign against terrorism and dictatorship the NRM military machine forcefully cordoned the venue and shot dead a journalist student, one Higenyi. The Government later consented to a court order to pay damages to the deceased's family for this cold-blooded murder.
    4. On 28.12.2002, the NRM military cordoned the venue (Hotel Bativa) for Dr. Milton Obote's birthday.
  8. Regarding the recent Lusaka affair the facts, devoid of NRM lies, are as follows:
    1. On 16.7.2004 Dr. Milton Obote was approached by one Dev Babber, a Zambian/Kenyan citizen of Indian extraction, with a proposal that he consents to a meeting with Gen. Museveni in Lusaka when the latter travels to Lusaka on 30.7.2004 to officiate at the Zambian Agricultural Show.
    2. Dr. Milton Obote's response to Gen. Museveni's emissary are contained in an e-mail message to the Chairman of PPC copied to Chairmen of PRC, NOC and MOF dated the same day. The letter reproduced below reads (See today's Monitor newspaper at page 14).

      2. Today, 16 July we met at the residence of a Zambian/Kenyan citizen of Indian extraction who told us that at the Kampala COMESA meeting, he provoked a discussion about Museveni and I, meeting. The man said that he did so because he had known as far back as last March that Museveni would be in Lusaka to officiate at the Zambian Agricultural Show on 30 July. He said he first raised Museveni and had a meeting with Prime Minister Nsibambi who after a day or so said there was a possibility, which made him to raise it with Museveni. It was the discussion with Museveni, which made him seek a meeting with me. We sought first to establish whether he was delivering a request by Museveni to meet me to which he responded in the positive.
      3. I was able to tell the man that his message did not need time to consider and was difficult to entertain because from 1981 to date when Museveni went to the bush, he and I have had only bad mouthing about the other and I cannot see a situation where a visit for an Agricultural Show can turn into a reconciliation. My ideas given to the man were that if Museveni wants reconciliation, he should start with having discussions with the PPC. I told the man that personally I have matters such as the killings of my father and mother by Museveni's army, which would be difficult to deal with before I meet Museveni.
      4. The discussion ended with why Museveni wants to meet me. Please advise.
    3. In reaction to Dr. Milton Obote's letter that sought for advice, the UPC leaders in Kampala deliberated on the matter and mandated the NOC Chairman who was already scheduled to travel to Lusaka to meet Dr. Obote and brief him on NOC matters and the upcoming UPC Petition against the Political Parties and Organisation Act to deliver the party's advice on Gen. Museveni's overtures.
    4. The NOC Chairman, Peter Walubiri travelled to Lusaka on Thursday 6.8.2004 and on arrival in Lusaka briefed the Party President on NOC matters, the upcoming Petition and also delivered the Party's advice on the Gen. Museveni request for a meeting. The advice was that any meeting with Gen. Museveni should involve the Government of Zambia that was hosting Dr. Obote and should involve the Party and start at the level of emissaries. It was clear that Dr. Obote was not going to meet Gen. Museveni. This position was communicated by one of Dr. Obote's staff, Mr. Stephen Mila, to Gen. Museveni's emissary, Dev. Babbar, in an e-mail sent in the early hours of 31.7.2004. A copy is reproduced below. (see today's Monitor Newspaper at page 14).
      1. MEETINGS

      2. "You contacted me by phone twice last night. In the first, you peremptorily said that "the meeting between Museveni and Milton Obote shall be held tomorrow" and you gave no time nor place. In the second phone contact, you said that you will come to the Residence of Milton Obote in the morning to discuss whether the meeting you spoke about should be held at the residence or State House.
      3. Judging from how Museveni acts and treats National matters, he is probably not aware that Milton Obote is not a free agent but a bounded servant of the UPC and does things on behalf and in the name of his party the UPC. I am therefore authorized to inform you that there is no meeting to which Milton Obote has consented to be held "tomorrow" in Lusaka and that Milton Obote shall therefore not be going to any meeting. I am also authorized to inform you that if indeed Museveni wants or wanted to meet Milton Obote who is a guest of the Zambian Government, his using you, a private person, is not the proper protocol, which can and would endanger Obote's life very much like the lives of his parents which you do not know but were both killed by soldiers. You will agree that since you began this matter, you have not told Milton Obote why Museveni should be so eager to have a meeting with him which is either personal or otherwise which Dr. James Rwanyarare and Hajji Badru Wegulo, the two UPC leaders in Uganda could not handle. The channel being open, Milton Obote takes cue from your desperation and proposes that instead of his meeting Museveni, you arrange for Museveni to meet his emissaries composed as follows:

        Mr. Peter Walubiri
        Mr. W. Osindek Wangwor
        Mr. F. Kermit
        Dr. H. Opiote
        Mr. J. Akena

    5. There was no further communication from Mr. Dev. Babbar that Saturday. Surprisingly on Sunday morning when the NOC Chairman was bidding farewell to the Party President to return to Kampala, Mr. Dev Babber rang to say that he was coming to Dr. Obote's residence. Before his arrival a staff from the office of President Levy Mwanawasa came in and surprised the staff at Dr. Obote's residence that he had come to sort out the modalities of the meeting to be held between Dr. Obote and General Museveni that morning as requested by Dr. Obote. The official was briefed of the background and given a copy of Stephen Mila's letter. She was surprised and had to summon a senior officer from the Zambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to sort out the mess created by the lies. Dev. Babbar also arrived and the trio had separate consultations.
    6. After the private consultations of the trio, Dr. Obote's team and the trio it was then agreed that Dr. Obote's emissaries would meet a team from Gen. Museveni's delegation. A venue was arranged but shortly before we could leave Dr. Obote's residence for the meeting, we were informed that Gen. Museveni now desired to meet Dr. Obote's emissaries himself. We then proceeded to Pamoza Hotel for the meeting.
    7. At Pamoza Hotel Dr. Obote's emissaries namely Peter Walubiri, Dr. H. Opiote and Mr. J. Akena met Gen. Museveni, Major Tom Butime, Prof. Rugumayo and two members of staff. We exchanged greetings and thereafter Gen. Museveni asked about Dr. Obote's age and health. We told him the age and that Dr. Obote was in good health. Gen. Museveni then asked us for Dr. Obote's message to which we replied that we had none and had actually come to receive Museveni's message to Dr. Obote since Gen. Museveni was the one who wanted to meet Dr. Obote. Gen. Museveni said he had no message. Prof. Rugumayo interjected and said that it was their long time friend Dev. Babber who had arranged the meeting and that even Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda knew him. Gen. Museveni then feigned ignorance of Dev Babber and inquired whether he was African. Prof. Rugumayo replied that he was an Asian from Punjab who was originally in Kenya but now settled in Zambia. In view of the statement about messages the meeting ended after approximately four minutes without agreement on anything.
  9. In view of the above eye witness account, the State House leakages to the media are blatant lies that Gen. Museveni wishes the world to believe. Unfortunately given the past record of Gen. Museveni and earlier lies about these new set of lies can only come to pass as part of the usual series. What Uganda needs today and what will salvage Gen. Museveni's political career and set the stage for realistic dialogue with the opposition and UPC in particular and through UPC dialogue with Dr. Obote is for the NRM Government to unveil a genuine political road map to a return to civilian multiparty governance. No amount of lies will salvage Gen. Museveni.

For God and My Country.

Peter M. Walubiri
Chairman NOC/Member PPC

11th August, 2004