Thursday, January 24, 2008




COMING on the heels of the midweek rapping of the President Yoweri Museveni by Forum for Democratic Change members over his hurried endorsement of Mr Mwai Kibaki’s election, leaders of Opposition parties have now joined in and heavily criticised government’s action.
In separate interviews with Sunday Monitor, all the leaders concurred that President Museveni’s message, the first by an African leader -- and only one worldwide -- was a grave blunder.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all. He (President Museveni) is an illegitimate President; he is anxiously looking for company. What again is not surprising is the behaviour of the Ugandan government. From what has been published, the President has been in constant contact with the Kibaki government as the crisis developed. What Kibaki has been doing has been at the advice of the Uganda government, presumably,” Dr Kizza Besigye, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader said.

Dr Besigye himself has on two occasions lost to President Museveni in elections that he insists were rigged by the incumbent, and which the Supreme Court adjudged to have been characterised by malpractices including.

Hajji Hussein Kyanjo from the Justice Forum told Sunday Monitor that President Museveni’s action was irresponsible. “His action should be discouraged. Ugandans living in Kenya are put at risk. It is a very bad idea,” Mr Kyanjo, also Member of Parliament for Makindye West, said.

The criticism was echoed by Mr Ssebaana Kizito, leader of the Democratic Party. Mr Kizito was, however, less scathing in his comments saying, “I don’t know why he said that. Maybe he has more information. He must have reasons to send such a message amidst what is going on. He must be convinced that they were free and fair, but indications are that they were not” Mr Kizito said.

In turn, Mr Ssebaana said Uganda should learn from the Kenyan experience that elections should be free and fair. “Any attempt to tamper with the results can be disastrous. All our election organisers should learn that you must put on a good programme. One should not impose himself. Rigging elections can kill.”

While the People’s Progressive Party leader, Dr Abed Bwanika expressed “disappointment” at the quick congratulations despite the fact that the international community was already sending the unanimous message of doubt at the sanctity of the electoral process.

The violence in Kenya has certainly left Uganda with something to chew on. The Opposition in Uganda has a history of not resorting to violence even when it feels an election was rigged.

The only the notable exception was post-1980 when Mr Yoweri Museveni launched a guerilla war against the elected government of Dr Apollo Milton Obote (RIP) who he accused of rigging.

In other instances the political Opposition has taken their grievances to court FDC’s Dr Besigye told Sunday Monitor that Uganda’s best hopes of maintaining this culture of ‘civilised’ protest at electoral fraud lies in “the necessary reforms - laws, non-partisan institutions, free media,” before adding ominously that: “if the state doesn’t do what is needed, people should resist.”

Just like Dr Besigye in 2006 accused President Museveni, Mr Odinga has accused Mr Kibaki of appointing a biased Electoral Commission which fact affected their ability to organise a free and fair poll.

Dr Besigye noted that the opposition in Kenya now finds itself in a tricky position because the courts in Kenya cannot be deemed to be independent.

“There is no doubt the institutions that would engender fairness are not in place, and the fact that they cannot go to court because they are not independent. The Chief Justice was at hand to swear in the president after a false declaration,” Dr Besigye said.
Indeed, it is against this background that Mr Odinga has rejected Mr Kibaki’s willingness to have a re-run but on condition that it must be ordered by a court.

Commenting about the Kenyan violence, Hajji Kyanjo used the opportunity to take a swipe at the government saying tongue-in-cheek that: “I now hope they know that the Opposition [in Uganda] loves its country.” Hajji Kyanjo then observed that Tanzania, which has been hesitant about fast-tracking the political federation of the East African Community because it felt there wasn’t enough democracy in Kenya, has now been vindicated.

Meanwhile, Dr Bwanika said the post-election violence in Kenya should be an eye opener which indicates that when people are oppressed, anything can happen. “It should also caution leaders that resources should be fairly distributed so that we don’t go the Kenyan way,” he said.
Source: http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/sun_news/Party_leaders_now_criticise_Museveni_over_Kibaki.shtml

Achieng wonders why Museveni decided to delay his departure. This is what she says:

"Thanks for your really informative blog. One has to wonder what the Ugandan president is up to in getting so involved in our country's events. Why did he delay his departure when he already knew that the Kenyans had been scheduled to meet with Annan and his team for mediation talks? He has an obvious bias so he should stay out of this, and he obviously shows no respect for other people's time and effort. It should be noted that months prior to the now disputed elections he had stated that it would be better if the status quo prevailed rather than have the opposition win".

Via email
Related video: http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=YtO5CZRb9 … re=related

Ruud Elmendorp of Wikiboom has an excellent chronology of the events that led to all these. You can see them at: http://rocketboom.wikia.com/wiki/Kenya

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