Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security Minister Gen Elly Tumwine has praised security forces for the decisiveness with which they quelled what he called a pre-mediated riots across the country last week.
Over 40 people are said to have died, many of them shot by security officers, after protests broke out following the detention of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
Appearing in a heated UBC’s Behind The Headlines show Wednesday, Tumwine shrugged off accusations by MP Ssemujju Nganda that the security forces were high handed, and should be prosecuted for extra-judicial killings.
“The General blames everybody except himself. Majority of the people you killed were bystanders, and you don’t feel sorry?. You should change the way you speak. You’re an elder now, you shouldn’t be speaking like an iron fisted young man who went to Luwero,” charged Ssemujju.
Tumwine said those who started the protests should be blamed, not those who worked to protect the lives and property of other Ugandans. He said focus was on the consequences, not the cause.
” In my culture, when one starts a fire here, you go and start a fire the other end, so that when the two fires meet, they can’t continue burning,” Tumwine shot back.
“All security forces have one responsibility, protect the sovereignty of the country, protect the life and property of the people. I really congratulate our security forces for what they have done, restoring peace and order within two days was not an easy thing for a premeditated plan to burn Kampala and destroy property.”
Tumwine went to condemn genocidal talk on social media. ” It’s not in the interest of any tribe to make genocidal statements. Cultural leaders should come out to condemn the act,” said.
Impact of elections
The show’s focus was on ‘Can Uganda have peaceful 2021 elections’, and included parliamentarian Margaret Muhanga and Makerere University don Ramathan Ggoobi. It was hosted by Charles Odongtho.
Ggoobi argued that failure to share power after elections was a major cause of tension in the country’s history.
“Gen. Elly Tumwine, we have to find a way of sharing power because whenever you win elections you take all the power and you leave others with nothing,” he said.
On the economy, he said, “The problem is that Uganda’s economy has been progressing for a few people, it has left out very many young people. There’s a lot of unemployment, poverty and subsistence.”
Muhanga blamed the rioters and the opposition for not blaming those who instigated them to go to the streets.
“If you think insecurity is good go and live in Somalia. Don’t incite young people to cause mayhem in this country,” she said.
COVID-19 and masks
There was a heated argument before the show started with Minister Tumwine insisting that Ssemujju wear a mask, which he declined to do, despite arriving earlier in the studio with one.
Ssemujju said that Ugandans have across the country resumed their normal lives, with gatherings and crowds not being restrained by law enforcement. He wondered why the politicians were the only ones being targeted at gatherings, saying COVID-19 SOPs were being used by government to frustrate campaigns of opposition members.