Thought and Ideas
The banishment of honour and imprisonment of truth in Uganda
Posted Sunday, January 20 2013 at 02:00
Examination and analysis of recent events, utterances and promises in the politics of Uganda give cause for concern and worry. Many Ugandans are beginning to wonder about what has happened to the terms honour and truth, which in the past, have been the hallmark of decency, ethics, integrity, governance and social interaction.
Mr Frank Tumwebaze, the propagandist of the Office of the President, commented on the President’s remarks made on several MPs, who were shocked by the death of their colleague, Cerinah Nebanda, and wished to know the cause. Some of them were surprised by the government’s immediate reaction to it which sounded like a poor attempt to cover up the cause of her death and silence those who were wondering whether some government agency had actual knowledge of its cause.
The views by the MPs and public are really natural expressions of grief, speculation and the desire to discover the truth. As far as we know, until the government and the police bungled the process of determining the cause of a suspicious or unnatural death, no one had pointed an accusing finger at any particular individual, let alone the President or government. It is only when the government reacted strangely to the death that public opinion began to shift as to the cause of death.
Following the MP’s death, her colleagues consulted one another and officials, the police and doctors as to how they should proceed to determine the cause of her death. The decisions they took which are accurately described by the doctors and MPs appear to have been the correct ones.
That some of her colleagues and government officials took steps to have the cause of her death discovered should have been welcome news to the family, colleagues and friends. The news that on the orders of the government, the police reversed themselves and halted the process of finding out the cause of death expeditiously should be the one to be questioned.
Up to now no one in the government has satisfactorily explained the bizarre manner in which they halted the process. Subsequently, MPs and the doctor who had legitimately and correctly commenced the process were arrested and detained.
It may be true that one or two of them may not have known the details of how the police work but that alone cannot be the kind of ignorance a citizen should be arrested and imprisoned for.
Mr Tumwebaze refers to the President’s namecalling of those who were claiming that the NRM party killed Nebanda as “idiots and fools” and that the President “despises such people”.
Mr Tumwebaze then asks whether such words were fair comments. He then responds with emphatic “certainly, yes.” Mr Tumwebaze is one of the persons on whose advice President Museveni apparently relies for his decisions and acts.
May God save Uganda from the likes of Tumwebaze! This minister must think that Ugandans are fools. Firstly, no one has said or can claim that the NRM party is capable of killing anyone.
In any event, it is the likes of Mr Tumwebaze who killed the NRM. No government and certainly not the one in which Mr Tumwebaze serves today is capable of murdering any person directly even if many Ugandans today regard this government as not one of the best that has ruled this country.
However, Mr Tumwebaze’s contribution illustrates, that the terms honour and truth are strangers to him and to his kind. Incidentally, a colleague of his in Cabinet, I believe the Prime Minister, is alleged to have said that some of the signatures on the petition to recall Parliament were forged. If this is true, then there can be no honour or truth in those MPs who either forged or are withdrawing their signatures.
Has Mr Tumwebaze, told the President that the majority of Ugandans, including those who are generously and financially facilitated by him and the NRM party, no longer believe what today’s government says or promises to do anymore? Does he know that people’s beliefs and aspirations count in governance?
Justice Kanyeihamba is a retired
Supreme Court Judge. email@example.com