Government seizes pro-Besigye book

Sunday October 10 2010

OUTLAWED? The book that a ‘certain government’ arm has seized.

OUTLAWED? The book that a ‘certain government’ arm has seized. PHOTO BY JOSEPH KIGGUNDU 

By Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi

Government officials have seized a consignment of books that largely profile opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye’s challenge to President Museveni in the 2001 and 2006 general elections.
The book titled: “The Correct Line? Uganda under Museveni” is authored by Dr Olive Kobusingye, a surgeon.

Dr Kobusingye is Dr Besigye’s sister. The book questions the fundamental change promised by President Museveni when he took over power in 1986 to-date and goes into detail to explore at what points and how the promise failed and the movement got derailed.

Published in London, The Correct Line? was couriered into the country by a major international courier but was seized at Entebbe International Airport first by the Uganda Revenue Authority Customs department under pressure from another unnamed arm of government.

URA Commissioner for Customs Peter Malinga, when contacted for a comment on Friday, said he was aware of the controversy but declined to comment further saying the matter was out of his hand.

“Yeah, I am aware about the book but I have no comment to make about it,” he said, adding when pressed, “It’s another arm of government. I am aware that there is something going on,” though he declined to say which arm.

Dr Kobusingye, sounding distraught told Sunday Monitor that she had been told her book was being held because it was “anti government.”

“This morning I went back (to the courier company) and I spoke to the lady I had spoken to yesterday, I asked if my consignment would be released and if there was an issue I should know and we sort it. She did not give me an answer but promised to call me back at midday,” Ms Kobusingye said.

Start investigations
“True to her word she called me but said she had bad news; the books were not going to be released because they are anti government and that a department of government was going to start investigations.”

Asked whether the book actually contained anti-government information, Dr Kobusingye said, “I don’t know what is anti-government in writing about government mistakes? The book basically talks about what happened to the fundamental change, it is a journey examining the promises President Museveni made when he got this country from a pit in 1986 and how we have lost course,” she said.

The book has a cover picture of President Museveni in full military combat with an AK47 strapped around him taken when the President visited Bududa after the March 1st mudslides that killed at least 350 people.

Every chapter of the book carries a quote from President Museveni and explores contradictions of his leadership of the country on some of the key issues he promised to anchor the country.

Makerere University law Professor Joe Oloka Onyango wrote the foreword while Dr Frederic Golooba Mutebi was one of the editors.

Information and National Guidance Minister Kabakumba Masiko said she was not aware about the seizure of the book.
In the late 1970s the government of Idi Amin banned the Daily Nation from distributing in Uganda especially after the Entebbe raid by Israeli commandoes after Kenya reportedly helped them refuel before attacking Entebbe.

Several international news magazines were also banned both during the Amin and Obote regimes notable among them New Africa, Africa Confidential and South Magazine whose former Editor in-Chief William Pike reported embedded with the National Resistance Army rebels of Museveni.

Neighbouring Kenya under Daniel Arap Moi banned the sale and circulation of celebrated novelist Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s Devil on the Cross.

Dr Kobusingye, however, said she was still hopeful the book would be released adding she plans to launch it and release it to book stores on Wednesday.

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