By Ronald Musoke
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has come out to deny claims carried in both local and some international media that a bullet was fired near President Yoweri Museveni shortly after he had finished addressing members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on June 5.
“The SFG would like to inform The Red Pepper and all Ugandans that there was no bullet fired at the said venue after the President had attended EALA,” Capt Edison Kwesiga, the UPDF spokesperson said in a statement released on June 6.
The Red Pepper reported today that the UPDF was investigating an incident in which a soldier attached to the Special Forces Command (SFC) fired a bullet after President Museveni had addressed EALA at Parliament on June 5.
Shortly after his address, the tabloid reported that, Museveni went for a group photograph with the MPs and the Speaker. However, a few seconds into the photo-shoot, Museveni entered his car and then a bullet was fired.
The paper reported that everyone in the vicinity was stunned for a moment, and the president was seen talking to his Aide de Camp who immediately got out of the car. She then spent a few seconds asking her fellow guards what the problem was and went back into the car and spoke to the president.
Museveni’s car, The Red Pepper reported, remained stationary for several minutes and there was commotion around the Parliamentary steps.
However, immediately after Museveni’s convoy sped away, the SFC guards were seen moving towards the CHOGM gardens gate where they were seen disarming a soldier bundling him onto a double-cabin pick-up truck and drove off at break neck speed.
Kwesiga explained in a statement posted on a Uganda Journalists social media forum that nothing of the sort happened. Below is the statement in full:
06 JUNE 2013
NO GUN SHOT NEAR MUSEVENI
I write in response to a story carried in the Red Pepper edition of June 6, 2013 under the headline “BULLET FIRED NEAR M7.”
The newspaper reported that UPDF is investigating an incident in which a soldier attached to Special Forces Command fired a bullet after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni had addressed the East African Legislative Assembly at parliament on 05th June 6, 2013.
It also quotes UPDF Spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda as having confirmed the arrest.
The SFG would like to inform the Red Pepper and all Ugandans that there was no bullet fired at the said venue after the President had attended EALA.
What happened is that as the president was about to enter his official car, one of the drivers on convoys ignited his car engine and it gave a back blast or call it de-carbonization of the engine and exhaust pipe.
When the President heard the back blast in one of his convoy cars, he tried to inquire as to what had happened like a concerned commander of his troops.
The president was briefed of what caused the car to behave in a manner that it did and there after the convoy drove off.
There was no arrest made whatsoever for there was no reason to and therefore there are no investigations made in regard to the behavior of the vehicle by UPDF.
The Red Pepper chose to bypass the office of the spokesman of SFC and chose to contact other persons for comment for the reasons best known to the Pepper yet responsible journalism demands otherwise.
Special Forces Command has got well trained soldiers who have tested challenges of imaginable attitude, a reason why we are referred to as elite and special.
To suggest that such a highly trained force could have fired a bullet in whatever circumstance is an abuse to our attributes and it also alarms Ugandans.
We implore Red Pepper to stick to professional journalism and consult all relevant authorities in such cases of national security to avoid misleading and alarming the nation.
Capt EK Kwesiga