APRIL 15, 2010: Police Summon Otunnu Over LRA Remarks

Police Summon Otunnu Over LRA Remarks
SOURCE: Monitor

By Issac Khisa

Uganda People's Congress leader Olara Otunnu will tomorrow appear before detectives to explain comments he allegedly made about President Museveni giving money to rebel leader Joseph Kony.

The police yesterday announced that they had issued a summons for Mr Otunnu, a former UN diplomat, to explain himself at the Criminal Investigations Directorate in Kampala.

Addressing a press conference yesterday in Kampala, Mr Otunnu said he would not retract his words, adding that he has evidence to back his claims.

In Lira, where the statements were reportedly made, it emerged yesterday that the local radio station owned by NRM party MP Felix Okot Ogong had been forced to apologise to the President for hosting Mr Otunnu.

It also emerged that Gulu RDC Walter Ochora had been asked to investigate all the comments Otunnu made, Daily Monitor reporters in the area said.

International Affairs Minister Okello Oryem separately warned Mr Otunnu against "making reckless statements".

Insisting he had no reason to fear for what he said, Mr Otunnu stated, "The LRA war was a war of convenience. It was a war that was sustained for political reasons. Somebody had interest in it and that person was Mr Museveni and the NRM government. It wasn't the opposition parties, people in northern Uganda or anyone else."

Mr Otunnu said he committed no offence in the remarks, insisting that President Museveni sent his Principal Private Secretary, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, to the bush to deliver money to Kony. He said Col. Ochora could confirm the allegations.

But when contacted, the Gulu RDC denied giving Kony money, clarifying that all he had was his (Ochora's) facilitation when he visited Kony.

"I visited Kony six times in Garamba Forest and every time I would go together with his late mother and two PGB soldiers, we would go with money for our facilitation, which was provided by the Ugandan government," Col. Ochora said.

The deputy CID boss, Mr Moses Sakira, confirmed they have opened inquiries into Mr Otunnu's utterances.

Mr Sakira said the UPC leader could have wanted to bring hatred to the person of the President and to incite the public, an offence under the Penal Code Act.

"We have the summons and we are trying to deliver one to him," Mr Sakira said, although Mr Otunnu by last evening denied receiving the summons.

Mr Otunnu asked President Museveni to stop interfering with the work of the CID, saying it is supposed to be independent. "CID is supposed to be an independent investigative body; it should not be President Museveni's business (to tell it what to do). And I therefore condemn it in the strongest terms," Otunnu said.