Ugandans have expressed outrage at NRM secretary general Justine Lumumba’s threat that those who will protest against the 2016 elections results will be shot.
Some of the citizens who took to social media to vent their displeasure prayed that God saves Uganda from post-election chaos, while others demanded that President Museveni, who is also the chairman of NRM, replaces Ms Lumumba as the ruling party’s secretary general.
Ms Lumumba while presiding over the launch of NRM campaigns in Wakiso District at Nsangi sub-county headquarters is quoted as having warned parents: “When President Museveni, the chief fighter, is still seated on the throne, whatever they are planning, tell them the government of NRM is not going anywhere! Don’t send your children to bring chaos in Kampala and cause confusion during elections, disrupt peace in the country, government will handle you…. you will be shot.”
Ms Lumumba added: “ The state will kill your children if they come to disorganise and distablise the peace and security in Kampala and Wakiso.”
Ms Lumumba’s threat must have been informed by utterances attributed to Opposition politicians, urging their supporters to prepare to defend their votes. Both the Opposition and the ruling party presidential candidates have been trading accusations of a ploy to rig the February 18 elections.
Mr Crispy Kaheru of the Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) said political leaders should be reassuring Ugandans of peace, not sounding war drums.
“Instead of sounding war drums…leaders like Lumumba must be re-assuring Ugandans about their commitment to ensuring a peaceful election,” Mr Kaheru said yesterday
He said when the time for accountability comes, acts of threatening violence would be pegged to individuals, not institutions. He said leaders should not in way shirk accountability or feign ignorance of the crimes committed by those under their command.
Through a January 29, press statement, NRM campaign spokesperson Mr Mike Sebalu claimed Ms Lumumba had been quoted out of context.
“The secretary general’s message was an appeal to all parents to prevail over their children not to engage in violent actions that may result in injury and possible loss of life,” Mr Sebalu said in the short statement.
On social media, some Ugandans said it was presumptive of Ms Lumumba to think it would be the Opposition and not NRM supporters protesting in the aftermath of the elections since the winner is not pre-determined.
Some cheekily asked should Forum for Democratic Change beat the NRM at the polls, the new administration should shoot NRM supporters who might protest the results, if things turn around. “God should help us in this election,” posted a one George Okwalinga on Facebook.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the police are aware of reports that some people could be planning to cause chaos. “We are aware of concerns about people secretly mobilising,” said Mr Enanga.
“If we establish the mobilisation is connected to illegality, we will counter the criminality,” he told Daily Monitor.
Electoral Commission spokesperson Jotham Taremwa neither answered the Daily Monitor’s repeated phone calls nor replied a text message while his deputy spokesperson Paul Bukenya said Mr Taremwa would be best placed to answer questions about Ms Lumumba’s utterances.
“I am not updated on the issue,” said Mr Bukenya; call the PRO. Or try the secretary,” he said.