Hours after attending his wife’s swearing-in at Parliament yesterday, President Museveni issued a strongly-worded statement faulting the police for failing to “eject” Dr Kizza Besigye after he spent more than one hour on Entebbe-Kampala highway last Thursday.
The President, who was clad in military fatigues at Parliament where 133 MPs were sworn in on the second day of the exercise, in a letter to media houses, however, largely endorsed the police action of stopping the walk-to work demonstrations, saying its perpetrators had sinister motives.
“Those who were of the view that the ‘walk-to-work’ was harmless were wrong. The Police was right to, straight away, block these efforts,” Mr Museveni wrote: “Yes, the Police has made its own mistakes, including its reluctance to eject Besigye from Entebbe road when he failed to meet the one-hour deadline as had been agreed upon.”
Though the Nigerian government has denied claims that their President’s convoy was stoned by people in Besigye procession, President Museveni repeated the claim yesterday.
He said not only was President Goodluck Jonathan’s car pelted with stones but that of his Congolese counterpart Joseph Kabila, was attacked too.
In what might spell tough times for the media, the President said: “The media houses both local and international such as Al-Jazeera, the BBC and Daily Monitor and NTV are enemies of Uganda’s recovery and they will be treated as such.”
At the swearing in ceremony, Ms Janet Kataha Museveni, was accompanied by a traditional dance group from Karamoja sub-region - chanting her name as she took her oath.
Cheering his wife, Mr Museveni later joined the group, singing in Ngakarimojong language. Ms Museveni is the former minister in charge of Karamoja Affairs.
To date, at least 256MPs have taken their oath. The last batch of 119 MPs-elect will be sworn-in today.
Like on Monday, a number of MPs messed up the binding oath and others like Lubaga South legislator John Ken Lukyamuzi and Mityana South MP Jerome Ssozi Kaddu-Mukasa were forced to re-take their oath.
Mr Lukyamuzi imported the phrase “the man” to the swearing in oath and Kaddu-Mukasa added “Musajja-Wakabaka”- Luganda for “the king’s man”.
However, even before the House opens its chambers to the legislators, the first timers led by Kyotera MP Kyeyune Haruna (independent), have promised to table a motion forcing the government to deal with corruption, increase salaries for teachers and health workers.
Mr Matthias Mpuuga, the coordinator of the walk-to-work protests and Masaka Municipality MP, said he will not rest until democracy thrives in the country. “We shall work to ensure that the democracy which is entrenched in gunmanship and impunity ends,” he said.
Counselling the new legislators, Mr Ssekikubo warned the ruling party MPs against sycophancy. “They have come to serve the people and supporting everything from government including the wrong policies will be a disservice to the voters. Even the opposition has good ideas and as MPs, we must put the country first.”
Mawogola MP Sam Kutesa promised to unite Ssembabule while Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire said the only challenge the NRM government has is the widespread poverty.