Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Kizza Besigye has said remarks made by President Museveni branding him and Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago as murderers are “harmful and constitute hate speech.”
Dr Besigye, who was addressing journalists at his home in Kasangati, in Wakiso District yesterday morning, demanded a parliamentary debate or investigation against the President for promoting hatred.
“Mr Museveni made a serious and criminal statement about spearing us, in other words he is inciting the people to attack and kill us. The person occupying the office of the President is promoting hate speech,” Dr Besigye stated.
“This matter will most likely go to the international courts of law because our courts may not have the powers to handle.”
President Museveni while presiding over the climax of Kampala Capital City Authority’s 3rd anniversary at Lugogo in Kampala last week criticised Dr Besigye and Mr Lukwago over their several demonstrations in the city.
“Lukwago and Besigye are not only opposition people but they do murderous and malicious activities. If they came to my kraal in Rwakitura to cause chaos and demonstrate, I would strike them with my spear,” he said then.
In response, Dr Besigye said: “I have never moved with a stone or gun or anything to cause violence against the people. It is Mr (IGP), Kale Kayihura and the NRM police who are destroying people’s property directly and indirectly to cause the masses to hate us.”
“He (Museveni) should prosecute us if we have committed any crime. But for the last three years, I have been taken to court and not at any one time have I been required to defend myself,” he said.
However, presidential spokesperson Tamale Mirundi said Dr Besigye was trying to borrow hate speech from Kenya which doesn’t exist in Ugandan laws.
“The President has no role to praise him when he (Besigye) is always demonising the President and sabotaging development in Kampala. If Besigye attacks the President over the comments, it means that he is doing something wrong.
He has been causing mayhem directly in the city. If anybody says that if a thief is caught red handed, they should be killed, why would a non-thief get worried?” Mr Mirundi said.
Dr Besigye took exception with the President’s remarks that the new KCCA law had emasculated the Lord Mayor and was walking around with his robes and chains but without power. The real power, according to Museveni, is with the Executive Director, Ms Jennifer Musisi.
“He clearly admitted taking a coup against the people of Kampala and his speech helped the people of Uganda to know through his very words that he is not a democrat and that he is subversive,” Dr Besigye said.
Dr Besigye said the President’s speech shows that he doesn’t respect the rights of Ugandans to choose the leaders they like as provided by the Constitution.
He noted the office of the President serves all Ugandans and should not be used to punish those who didn’t vote according to the wishes of the sitting president because that is treasonable.
The politician-turned-activist asked President Museveni to apologise for claiming that he is giving services to the people of Kampala out of courtesy yet they contribute 70 per cent of the taxes in Uganda.
“What I heard from President Museveni was an annoying way of running from his responsibility,” Dr Besigye stated.
what is hate speech?
Hate speech which entails any communication that ridicules a person or a group on the basis of some characteristic such as race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristic is not explicitly provided for in the Ugandan laws but the offence of promoting sectarianism under Section 41 of the Penal Code and defamation are some of the laws that are often quoted.