Uganda Peoples Congress
UGANDA PEOPLES CONGRESS
THE NRA/UPDF IS TREATING SYMPTOMS OF A NATIONAL PROBLEM
- A number of events last week demonstrate that Lt. Gen. Yoweri Museveni and his UPDF/NRA has totally failed to address itself to the real causes of the civil war in Uganda. Instead the frustrated General and his army have chosen to treat the symptoms. We shall today only deal with the sentencing of Corporal Gimaro Pimindu to death by firing squad and the bitter diatribe addressed to the Monitor Newspaper by Lt. Gen. Museveni.
- The sentencing of Gimaro Pimundu to death over last weekend by firing squad will be like other cold blooded murders committed by the NRA regime. It is alleged that the soldier, a corporal in the UPDF, failed to respond adequately and promptly to information that rebels had attacked nearby his area of posting. Instead he was charged of "cowardly behaviour and failure to execute his duties", by the Court Martial of the UPDF chaired by a one Colonel Andrew Guti. The Uganda Peoples Congress views the shooting of Pimundu as a murder of a sacrificial lamb.
- The Uganda Peoples Congress opposes the death sentence imposed on Gimaro Pimundu on two grounds namely:
- That the death penalty especially by a field court martial with no right of appeal, is an evil and a murder in itself which does not allow the offender time to reform and realise his or her mistake. If the death penalty were to be followed religiously, then most of the current leaders would have been put to death a long time ago because of their heinous crimes against humanity (e.g. the Mukura massacres, the Acholi Pii massacres and the continuing tortures and murders in safe houses and CMI outfits).
- That such a murder is merely an act of treating symptoms of a wider national political problem which can be solved peacefully without a single shot being fired. The problem in our country is lack of democracy and tolerance of each other's views. In this respect, Lt. General Yoweri Museveni has performed dismally. At the start of the current rebellion in Teso four UPDF commanders hailing from Southern Uganda were arrested for failure to detect the impending rebel infiltration into Katakwi. Have they also been court martialed and murdered in cold blood?
- In the infamous letter to the Monitor Newspaper, Lt. General Yoweri Museveni accused the paper, and by extension, the independent press in Uganda of:-
- Being the allies of Kony and the LRA.
- Being liars
- Being enemies of democracy, principled unity of the people and social transformation.
- The Uganda Peoples Congress wishes to salute the entire independent press in Uganda for exposing the failed and ill-fated militaristic policies of Lt. Gen. Yoweri Museveni. We applaud the press for joining the religious leaders and the peace loving people of Uganda in exposing the dangers posed by the illegal "armies" recruited and armed in Acholi, Lango, Teso and Karamoja to do the work that the UPDF, which is maintained at great expense to taxpayers, has miserably failed to do. We encourage the press to continue with the patriotic duty to fight militarism in Uganda. Along the way, your papers and offices may be closed, journalists may be jailed or even killed but the press has a duty to stand for the truth. By publishing the truth, the press does not become an ally of Kony or LRA; rather it stands out as an ally of the peace loving people of Uganda who yearn for democracy.
- While Lt. General Yoweri Museveni accuses the Press of being liars, UPC wants to put it on record that it is Lt. General Museveni who is the greatest liar of our time and the enemy of democracy and national unity. Examples of his lies are many and include his claims that the UPDF has defeated Kony. If that were so, then:-
- Why are over 1,000,000 Ugandans still living in internally displaced camps (IDC) with no descent shelter, food, clean water, medicine or sanitation?
- Why are over 400,000 people stranded without shelter, food, medicine, sanitation or clean water in Soroti town alone?
- Why is Lt. General Yoweri Museveni, his son Muhoozi and a large component of the Presidential Protection Brigade still camped in Soroti? Are they on some luxury holiday?
- Why is government desperately asking for arms from the USA?
- Why is Mukula crying out for more guns?
- Why are the Karimojong warriors being recruited and armed to fight in Teso?
- The list of question marks is endless.
- The claim by Lt. General Museveni that the "Arrow Boys" and Mchakmchaka "graduates" are UPDF's reserve is a blatant lie. Under what legal framework are the arrow boys recruited, trained, armed, deployed and if they die in battle, compensated? Doesn't Lt. General Museveni know that the so called two million Mchakamchaka graduates were largely conscripted before the enactment of the 1995 Constitution against their will because they were civil servants who hoped to save their jobs by attending these worthless courses. Doesn't he know that thousands have since died, been retrenched from the civil service which was the condition of their conscription. Anyway, why conscript two million Ugandans out of the 6 million who are of working/fighting age (18-55 years) out of the population of 24 millions? Is this not the evidence of the defeat of the UPDF?
- It is also a lie for Museveni to suggest that the UPDF is synonymous with the people of Uganda. Surely, doesn't a person who claims to be an elected President see distinction between an institution and individual citizens?
- The other distortion and lie by Museveni is his claims that under article 3(4) of the Constitution, all able bodied Ugandans are obliged to master military science. There is no such provision in the Constitution. That article simply obliges Ugandans to resist the overthrow of the Constitution. The resistance need not be military. Evidently, Museveni is now conceding that the war has reached crisis proportions where his government is in danger of military overthrow. Since that is the case, the overthrow of the Constitution cannot be stopped by the arrow boys and/or Mchakamchaka graduates. Since the UPDF has failed, let Museveni surrender and save the country of further blood shed. UPC has exposed the fallacy about the defence of the Constitution in a letter addressed to the leaders of the Arrow group on 8th September, 2003 (copies are availed).
- The claim that LRA has been defeated because it does not control trading centres or territory is a lie. We know that many trading centres and rural areas in Acholi, Lango, Teso and Karamoja are no- go areas for the UPDF. Several roads are closed and indeed the UPDF has had to hide inside internally displaced peoples camps. It is an insult to the suffering people who have been displaced from their homes, for over a decade for one to callously claim that the UPDF is free to move everywhere in the country. It is only UPC that is everywhere.
- UPC calls upon:
- The independent press to be more resolute and vigilant in exposing the blatant lies of Yoweri Museveni and to relentlessly oppose his failed militaristic policies.
- The people of Uganda to openly and firmly reject militarism and embrace tolerance and dialogue.
- Lt. Gen. Yoweri Museveni to concede defeat and agree to a round table dialogue with the armed and unarmed opposition so as to chart out a course and return the country to peace and democratic governance.
- The international community to impose an arms embargo on Uganda and to press for a negotiated settlement of Ugandan's essentially political conflict.
For God and My Country
Henry MayegaActing Chairman
Presidential Policy Commission
10th September, 2003