Museveni says no chance of new war

Sunday December 20 2009
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Presidet Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

Gulu/Kampala

President Museveni has warned politicians against inciting violence ahead of the 2011 election. The President made the comments a day after Sunday Monitor reported that opposition politicians and a top European diplomat were increasingly growing concerned about threats of violence and the training of paramilitary election scouts by the ruling NRM party.

The newspaper report also referred to comments allegedly made by Makindye West MP Hussein Kyanjo at the Buganda Conference on Friday, that Buganda could resort to armed violence if the ruling NRM government failed to abide by the rules of democratic process.

Mr Museveni told this newspaper in a telephone call yesterday morning that political disputes should be resolved constitutionally or through the courts, not through violence. “If there are adventurers Museveni says war is impossible

who have such ideas, they will be crushed like we did the rioters in September,” he said, adding, “If there is somebody who wants to use a butcher’s knife on our people, we have the capacity to stop them.” At least 27 people were shot dead during the September pro-Buganda riots in and around Kampala. Several observers are concerned about the possibility of violence recurring during the election season like happened in Kenya after the disputed December 2007 ballot.

“I am going to seek a meeting with my fellow ambassadors to see how we can appeal for calm,” EU envoy Vincent De Vischer said. Despite those concerns, President Museveni said the Sunday Monitor report, which highlighted the growing unease over the political tone and the state-sanctioned training of paramilitary election scouts, would only work to scare investors.

Warns Monitor
“These people of Monitor, I am going to deal with them if they don’t change their ways,” Mr Museveni later said yesterday afternoon in Gulu while officiating at the consecration of Rt. Rev. Johnson Gakumba as the seventh bishop of the Northern Uganda Anglican Diocese. “They want to scare away investors by such reporting,” Mr Museveni said.

Speaking in a part of the country that bore the brunt of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebellion over two decades, Mr Museveni said the LRA threat had now been neutralised. He said the LRA fighters, who are scattered in neighbouring countries, will never return to torment residents as feared by some leaders, among them Acholi Paramount Chief, Rwot David Achana.

Mr Museveni said he cannot be extracted from State House through a civilian uprising or combat. At yesterday’s consecration, attended by Mr Olara Otunnu, the President’s strong critic and former UN under-secretary for Children and Armed conflict, religious and political leaders all called for reconciliation and forgiveness to clothe the country from falling apart.

Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi implored government to invest heavily in the development of the region and warned the population against instigating fresh conflicts over land and historical grudges. “We pledge to work with government, but make rebuilding of this region a priority. Your Excellency, I believe that your government is in the best place to provide these services,” he said.

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