News 2008


Museveni censured over troops allegations

February 4, 2008


By Samson Ntale

Ugandaís opposition leaders have tasked President Yoweri Museveni to respond to persistent accusations about the countryís military involvement in the raging unrest in Kenya.

They warned Museveni that he would be held personally responsible for possible disintegration of Kenya.

"It is completely absurd to expect that sending troops to Kenya under the guise of protecting Uganda transit goods will provide the answer as that country disintegrates into a Somalia fiasco," Mr Jaberi Bidandi Ssali - one of the respected opposition leaders - told Museveni.

In an open letter published on Friday, Bidandi observes: "The media have been awash with Ugandaís involvement in what is happening in Kenya. Unfortunately, there has been no categorical response about these accusations from you (President Museveni)."

Reports published in Ugandaís media show that Ugandan troops are now attached to the Kenyan police. The reports, which have not been refuted in Uganda, reveal that embattled President Kibaki is now guarded by members of Ugandan Presidential Guard Brigade - an elite force - and has scaled down his Kenyan guards.

"It is absolutely important and imperative that your Excellency distance yourself and the people of Uganda from the unfortunate events taking place in Kenya."

"Otherwise the people of Kenya and indeed of Uganda will hold you personally accountable for the disintegration of our sister neighbour and the destruction of lives and property, which so far claimed more than 800 innocent Kenyans," Bidandi wrote in a letter published in the Daily Monitor and Weekly Observer, both independent publications.

"Of course the consequences shall be dire to our country," Bidandi noted.

He called for harmony, appealing to Museveni to mend fences with Kenyans saying "the sooner the better".

"Let us align ourselves with Kenyans and not with either of the protagonists. Let us join them in finding a solution, which to me should be advocating for fresh elections supervised by AU and UN."

"Let us prevail on Mr Kibaki to resign and leave room for a government of national unity which neither he nor Mr Raila Odinga should head, and whose main task shall be to prepare for fresh elections within a period not exceeding one year," Bidandi suggested.

Museveni remains the only African leader to endorse Kibakiís disputed re-election.

At the AU summit in Ethiopia, Museveni told UN boss, Ban Ki-Moon that the solution to the Kenyan political crisis is to institute a commission of inquiry to authenticate the messed election.

But opposition MP, Mr Reagan Okumu, dismissed Museveniís suggestion as useless saying, "it adds insult to injury to entrust Kibaki to appoint and commission an inquiry in a matter where he is a key suspect".

"Only a neutral body by world institutions like AU and UN are suitable, just as Bidandi proposed in his letter to Museveni. Certainly it has to work after Kibakiís resignation," Okumu said in contribution to his fellow opposition politicianís publication.

"It has to be fresh elections and not vote recount like Museveni seems to suggest, because the whole process was a mess. If no one took care to store the ballot papers, they could play in the hands of suspects especially after the violence that followed the results,í Okumu told The Standard.