Former FDC party president Kizza Besigye has blamed the Rwenzori region deadly attacks on the government which he accused of partitioning the country into tribal enclaves and fuelling ethnic friction. He said the attacks on Kasese, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo districts that left about 90 civilians and security personnel dead, are a political time bomb
the government is sitting on.
“This is not tribal violence as government claims. Why is it only the Police and UPDF being targeted as if they are tribes? It’s because people are fed-up and feel that these are agents of the bigger problem up there,” Besigye told the press at his office on Katonga Road in Kampala on Friday.
He also blamed the violence on the failure of the government intelligence agencies.
“This situation in western Uganda cannot be detached from the problems in the whole country. The causes are not a local dynamic as it has been reduced but rather a political time bomb government is sitting on,” he said.
Col Besigye, a three-time presidential candidate and former leader of the largest opposition party, described President Museveni as a “king of sectarianism” who is disorganising cultural institutions and pitting them against each other.
He warned that this ethnic friction is a political disaster not for Museveni alone but the whole country.
His remarks provoked angry charges from the government. The government spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo, described Besigye as a “prophet of doom”.
He said “tribes are to blame” for the clashes but added that the situation would be contained. Dr Besigye, a bush war hero and Museveni’s former doctor during the bush war, said the escalation of the situation into violence in the Rwenzori region is a result of Mr Museveni’s “sectarian and opportunistic rule” heightened by exclusion, national-political grievances and the ever-escalating land conflicts.
Dr Besigye, added that the Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga, who hails from the Rwenzori region and a senior member in Cabinet has been overwhelmed by his boss’ “opportunism” and has since chosen to bury his
head in the sand for a comfortable life in government.
“Kiyonga was there when they carved out Ntoroko for the Batuku from Bundibugyo for the Bamba and have plans to further divide Kasese into four other constituents for the Basongora and other small tribes they want to create.”
GOVERNMENT REACTS TO BESIGYE
Mr Opondo noted: “Besigye has predicted doom for this government for the last 14 years and even planned to bring a political tsunami which has all come to pass. So he is also missing a point here.”
The government, Opondo said, had followed due procedures in giving what rightfully belongs to all the cultural institutions currently fighting and there is no need to pit one institution against the other.
“The Obusinga (Bwa Rwenzururu) was carved out of Tooro (kingdom) which itself came out of the greater Bunyoro (kingdom). Why didn’t the latter take up arms? For us we think it’s tribes failing to manage internal
problems but government will address the matter,” Opondo said.
However, the Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere in an interview with Daily Monitor on Friday denied his kingdom played a role in the clashes and urged the government to investigate the matter.