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Besigye wants to topple the government – Kabushenga

By the independent team

On May 3, the New Vision Group Chief Executive Officer, Robert Kabushenga, Yoweri  spoke to the BBC’s Akwasi Sarpong, who introduced him as a media advisor to the ruling NRM party.

(Kabushenga starts) What has happened on our part is that Mr. Besigye did promise during the campaigns that this is exactly what he would do. And what we have on our hands is not a protest about the cost of living; what we have is the use of the excuse of the cost of living, which has justifiably gone up, to contest the victory and try and have the government removed by some kind of an insurrection, that is precisely what we are dealing with in Uganda.

What do you mean by an insurrection, what we have seen is Mr. Besigye and a few protestors choosing to walk to make a statement about how the cost of living in Uganda has gone up, how is that an insurrection?

People who walk to work do not burn tyres on highways and grab stones and pelt people and fire bows and arrows at the people.

But the burning of tyres as you say, and throwing of stones has been a reaction to police action by deterring them from walking and in some cases an assault to some of their protestors?

No, that is not true. These are very organised.

What is the truth?

The truth is, for instance two nights ago two trucks full of tyres were arrested doing rounds in the city distributing tyres that were to be burnt before people go to their work. So that is not a reaction to so called police provocation.

Did Mr. Besigye instruct for those tyres to be distributed?

He is responsible for the plan of action which includes the distribution of tyres for burning, organising of stone throwing youths whom we now know have been paid to carry out these protests. So what is being seen as a simple protest is actually an insurrection.

Do you condemn how Mr. Besigye has been beaten by the police on all the times he has attempted to walk to protest?

It is better to start from the begining, this was an act of provocation on his part.

Who did he provoke?

The police, actually the footage that you are seeing has been very well edited to remove his behavior for two and a half hours on different occasions. This is a person who has been told that his actions are interfering with the ability of other people to go about their business but he would not budge.

Which people?

Ordinary people going on about their business; because he is leading processions through market places, through highways- so that other people who are going on about their businesses are in danger.

Last Thursday he was in his car trying to get into town, he was not protesting.

No that was the tail end of the footage that you saw, he was out in his slide roof calling on processions to follow him, when he was asked to take a different route; he simply parked in the road and refused to leave. We are talking about issues of law and order.

So why was the window smashed?

Because Dr. Besigye before raising his windscreen, he had spray which he sprayed on a police officer who was asking him to leave. So there was an act of assault.

What spray?

Pepper spray.

So they sprayed him in return?

This was what happened. Now what you people were seeing is well edited material that removed all those acts.

So someone who resists arrest should he be beaten up and manhandled the way Besigye was?

Someone who resists arrest and breaks the law should be apprehended.

How did he break the law?

Because you are abstracting other road users, preventing them from moving, inciting groups of people to break the law and refuse police orders.

Do you think the government has handled this as best as it could, why not allow the protests to carry on, they have their field day, everyone goes home; you are all happy?

What you don’t see, those whose businesses have been inconvenienced, those who are not working because we have those who should be allowed to have a field day as call it. I think this country has 31 million people from the last time I checked and we are all entitled to co-exist. So tomorrow, I should wake up and have a big street party in the middle of town because it’s my right to go and have a field day?

What are you scared of?

What do you mean what are we scared of? You are talking about order and stability. Are we not entitled to it? In the U.K there was a lot of hooha because a couple of students were making a statement on the streets about school fees and you saw what damage they did. These (Uganda) are very fragile economies, we do not have insurance, we do not have the kind of monies that you guys have, you allow this kind of action to happen; we probably will take years to recover from the economic damages we suffer.

This interview was first aired on the BBC World Service

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