A tough-talking President Museveni yesterday scolded pro-Bobi Wine protesters in Kampala and other towns across Uganda to stop playing with fire and reminded those attacking civilians that he is a skilled fighter.
The President also made it clear that the people who will die in the protests will not be compensated. Mr Museveni was campaigning in Kotido District where he warned that with time, the protesters will disappear from the streets because the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party knows the art of fighting correct wars.
Mr Museveni spoke about the riots for the first time since Wednesday but did not mention Bobi Wine’s name anywhere.
“Those who have been attacking NRM people in Kampala, they will soon lose that appetite. You will see a uniform of NRM, you will lose apatite to touch it. Even if they abandon it there, you will not be able to touch it. They have entered the area we know very well, of fighting and they will regret,” he said.
The NRM leader also warned that those who will lose their lives in the ongoing protests will not be compensated.
“Some of these groups are being used by outsiders; the homosexuals and other groups outside there who don’t like the stability and independence of Uganda. But they will discover what they are looking for” Mr Museveni said.
Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, who is the National Unity Platform (NUP) candidate in the presidential race, was arrested on Wednesday for defying Covid-19 rules. Mr Kyagulanyi is accused of holding mass rallies in violation of Electoral Commission guidelines.
Protests immediately erupted in Kampala and other parts of the country as his supporters demanded for his release. Police authorities have since confirmed that 29 people have so far died in the protests.
Mr Museveni reiterated that despite calls to postpone the polls because of the riots, the 2021 General Election must be held on January 14 as planned.
Mr Museveni, who continues to hold meetings with only NRM leaders and flag bearers, said rallies are not supposed to be held because the party does not want to see more people infected by Covid-19.
The virus has so far killed more than 158 Ugandans.
Today, Mr Museveni will return to Moroto District to meet with the youth from the districts of Moroto, Amudat, Napak, Alebtong and Nakapiripirit, before heading for his campaign leg in Teso Sub-region.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the Greater Kotido area asked the President to fulfil the outstanding pledges from the 2016 election campaigns. Mr Peter Abraham Lokii, the NRM chairperson for Kotido District, said the people in the four districts of Kotido, Karenga, Kaabong and Abim are wallowing in poverty, which needs to be addressed.
“You need to brief us about the strategy to end poverty which is at 60 per cent. There is a problem of livestock compensation, which has remained lingering in the minds of the people” he said.
Mr Lokii also reminded the President about the need for a general hospital in Kotido District.
In his response, the President said the hospital will be worked on while the issue of poverty is going to be tackled by extending electricity to all the sub-counties and also tarmacking the Moroto-Kotido-Kaabong-Kidepo road.
Mr Museveni said the Chinese will build the Moroto-Kotido-Kaabong-Kidepo road that will link the Karamoja agricultural products to the market in Southern Ethiopia through Kenya. The President directed Dr Kenneth Omona, his Principal Private Secretary, to get in touch with the Attorney General’s office to finalise the issue of compensation for the animals lost to rustlers.