By Mubatsi Asinja Habati
Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Police, said activists for change (A4C), an opposition-leaning pressure group that is behind the walk-to-protests, want to “overthrow” President Yoweri Museveni using unconstitutional means. Kayihura revealed this at a press conference on the second day of the renewed protests against what A4C termed as entrenched political corruption and high prices of essential commodities.
The police chief said police has recorded evidence of meeting minutes by one of the A4C leaders Ingrid Turinawe that will attract treasonable charges. At the time of addressing reporters Kayihura said 45 protesters were in police custody and 15 of them will face treason charges over the renewed Walk-to-Work protests. Some of the arrested persons have been taken to court this evening. He warned anyone associating with or engaging in any acts that are designed to overthrow the Government, “like those being committed by A4C, will be deemed to have committed the same offence as the proponents of the plot,” Kayihura said.
Charging protesters with treason because they have said prices of food, sugar, fuel, charcoal, power supplier Umeme getting tax rebates but keeps the country in darkness, demand for transparency, rule of law is absurd. Why not arrest the corrupt who steal money for malnourished children in Namutumba, TB and HIV/AIDS patients in hospitals? This leaves one wondering if the police is working in the interests of one man or Ugandans.Given what mass protests have caused regime in North African and rocking Middle East countries, the regime and its police could be discouraging the Ugandans from peacefully demonstrating which is a constitutional right.
Yet events in Tunisia and Egypt have shown that regimes are toppled because of bad leadership. If there are protests against governance and leadership issues the government should come clean and address them instead of shifting blame. President Museveni didn’t see anything wrong with toppling the UPC government between 1981 and 86. Why should he complain when it is his turn to feel the heat and threats of being toppled? "Ugandans have started resisting his resistance for change. He should feel lucky that they have not resorted to what he resorted to (the gun) in 1981. For the moment they don’t want to hurt anybody: they just want to walk peacefully to change. If that is too much for Mr. Museveni to handle and make up his mind."
POLICE PRESS STATEMENT
Last week, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, wrote to me, and informed me that he, together with others, operating under the banner of A4C, planned to carry out a series of activities, culminating in a public rally at the Kololo Independence grounds on Saturday, the 22nd of October, 2011.
In my response, I laid various reasons why it would be inappropriate to hold their activities at this time, including the fact that they had not met the basic requirements for their functions to proceed. A copy of both letters is available for your perusal.
One of the reasons I gave was that I had received petitions from different groups and individuals, with the common concern that the planned activities of Hon. Mpuuga’s group, which included paralyzing of public transport, would grossly infringe on personal liberties, as well as inconveniencing tens of thousands of children sitting their national examinations, the examiners and the schools as well.
I noted the overwhelming public outcry and condemnation that followed the announcement of their plans and, in addition to the other reasons spelt out in my letter, decided that, in the interests of maintaining law and order, and safeguarding life and property, as Police is constitutionally mandated to, stopped the holding of the activities.
At this point, I wish to thank the general public, and specifically the parents, business groups and individuals, who not only expressed their displeasure publicly, but went ahead to shun the unlawful activities of this group. I wish to thank all those who called the Police to report, and those who worked with the Police, to preserve the peace, and maintain law and order.
A few criminal elements, who attempted to disturb the peace, by stoning motorists and blocking the roads, were dealt with swiftly and firmly. As of last evening, a total of 45 persons had been arrested across the country.
I would like, at this point, to address and share with you information, on one issue that has been a key concern for the Government, in relation to the activities and objectives of this spate of orchestrated disorder.
From the outset, the Government insisted that the objective of these agents of chaos was not as noble as they claimed it was. The so-called A4C insisted that they are just ordinary citizens, who are concerned about the rising cost of living and the escalating prices of essential, and they wished to exercise their constitutional right to demonstrate and petition.
Today, I wish to share with the public information, indeed evidence, that the A4C has not been honest with the country, and that its real objective is to plunge the country into chaos, and, in the process, overthrow the Government.
On 23rd of September, 2011, the A4C, led by one of its leaders called Ingrid Turinawe, hosted a group of youth, who they called ‘commanders’ from several areas around Kampala, at their offices along Katonga Road in Kampala.
A recording of the proceedings of this meeting is available, and we are willing to share it with the public.
At this meeting, Ms Ingrid Turinawe, the A4C leader commended the commanders, and singled out the group from Kisseka Market, for their violence in previous incidents, and exhorted them to forcibly stop people from driving during their walk-to-work campaigns, saying, quote, ‘LET ME START WITH PEOPLE FROM KISEKA MARKET ABOUT FORCING CARS TO STOP, BECAUSE CONVINCING THEM TO PARK WILL NOT HELP. THAT ONE, YOU ARE FREE. WHATEVER STRATEGY YOU USE, MAKE SURE THE CAR DOES NOT MOVE. YOU ARE FREE… WHATEVER ERUPTS, LIKE CARS BEING BURNT, IS NOT OUR CONCERN OR RESPONSIBILITY. THE PROPAGANDA WILL BE INTENSIFIED TO PORTRAY THAT SECURITY AGENTS ARE THE ONES BURNING THE CARS. WE SHALL TELL THE PUBLIC THAT ACTIVISTS CANNOT BURN THE CARS NOR DO ANY DAMAGE’.
The meeting further observed that, quote, ‘THE TASK REMAINING IS HOW TO BRING DOWN THIS REGIME’ and resolved that, quote, ‘WE MUST WALK WITHOUT STOPING UNTIL THIS GOVERNMENT FALLS’
Ms Turinawe called on the A4C youth to outsmart the security agencies by causing damage and destroying property at different places at the same, saying, quote, ‘WE SHOULD NOT HAVE POLICE WAITING FOR PEOPLE WALKING AT CITY SQUARE. AS THEY ARE THERE, THEY SHOULD HEAR THAT FIRE IS BURNING IN NATEETE, AND ALL WILL RUSH THERE’
She also disclosed that the A4C intends to cause the disciplined forces to mutiny, and overthrow the Government, quote, ‘THE SECURITY WILL DO A BIG PART FOR US. WE DON’T HAVE GUNS, THEY HAVE THEM. THE DICTATOR WE WANT TO CHASE WILL BE CHASED BY HIS OWN ARMY AND POLICE WHO HAVE THE GUNS. SO FOR US, WE WANT TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH THEY WILL FIND THEMSELVES INEVITABLY INVOLVED AND MESSED UP. SO, JUST DO YOUR PART IN YOUR AREA. WE WANT TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE THE POLICE WILL ALSO DEMONSTRATE. WE WANT THE POLICE TO JOIN US’.
She further advises, quote, ‘WE HAVE TO USE A LOT OF PROPAGANDA. YOU TELL THE PUBLIC THAT AMERICA IS BEHIND US. THIS BRINGS COURAGE. DON’T TELL THEM ABOUT GUNS. YOU WILL THREATEN THOSE FEARING DEATH. TELL THEM THAT AMERICANS ARE ON BOARD AND MUSEVENI IS FINISHED NOW’.
Clearly, as you can see, the whole intention of the A4C’s post-election campaign is geared at overthrowing the Government through means other than what is provided for by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. This is a criminal offence called ‘Treason’.
The A4C’s campaign, therefore, is not an innocent, well-meaning campaign as it is portrayed to be by its sponsors and campaigners. It is a deliberate and well planned plot to overthrow the Government. And today, we share proof of this with the public.
The public should be aware that any act done in furtherance of any such plot, is also deemed treason. Any person found associating with, or engaging in any acts that are designed to overthrow the Government, like those being committed by A4C, will be deemed to have committed the same offence as the proponents of the plot.
Consequently, the security agencies jointly instituted an investigation, and, as of this morning, fifteen people have been arrested. We are consulting with the DPP, and they shall soon appear in court.
I call upon the public, especially the innocent youth, not to be duped into committing serious crimes, by self-seeking leaders, whose evil machinations are disguised under the cloak of democracy and alleged exercise of their constitutional rights.
Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura
Inspector-General of Police
18th October, 2011.