JULY 29, 2010: Museveni Orders On Election Violence

Museveni Orders On Election Violence

SOURCE: New Vision

By Milton Olupot

Kampala — President Yoweri Museveni has instructed the Police to take stern action against politicians who use abusive language and incite violence ahead of the general elections next year.

The President attributed most of the violence during and after elections to "indiscipline" by candidates.

"As an aspiring political leader, you need discipline in what you say and do," said Museveni.

He was speaking at the opening of a national conference on prevention of conflict during elections, organised by the Uganda Human Rights Commission at the Imperial Resort Beach Entebbe.

"The law is against use of bad language before, during and after elections, but these people use it and the Police do nothing. When I use bad language, I must be questioned. Telling lies and inciting violence must not be tolerated."

"If you want your country to be stable, make sure you get rid of irresponsible talk and actions."

He castigated politicians who use money to woo voters, saying bribery is criminal.

In attendance were government ministers, opposition leaders, the electoral commission officials, resident district commissioners, leaders of political parties, district Police commanders and other security agencies. the conference is aimed at creating ways of monitoring and thwarting conflicts and unrest during elections.

The UHRC chairman, Medi Kaggwa, said violence had been experienced in Uganda during elections and the commission was focusing on "prevention" as a solution.

"Preventing violence is not only a means of protecting people's lives and property, but also enables the promotion and protection of their human rights," he said.

Museveni dismissed calls by opposition leaders for electoral reforms, including the disbanding of the Electoral Commission, which is headed by Badru Kiggundu.

He said enough reforms had been carried out and the only issue left was the sensitisation of voters. "The basis for any form of violence or even talk of violence does not exist, it is only illiteracy, which can also be addressed."

The opposition wants the electoral commission to be made up of members nominated by all political parties. But the President said such a commission cannot be neutral, but will be a centre of fights for partisan interests.

"It is like saying all parties propose names of lawyers to be appointed to the Judiciary. That principle is very dangerous; it will paralyse and undermine the adjudication centre. These should not be coalition, but neutral centre," Museveni said.

Asked about opposition calls on people to take up arms and fight the Government, Museveni said warfare was scientific, not based on emotions. He said Ugandans are enjoying good governance and would not be lured into wars.

"If you deceive yourself that the conditions are ripe, try and get the taste of it. Talking of the bush now is like planting in July (dry season); the seeds will dry," he said.

Museveni, however, said the NRM was ready for dialogue with other political parties. "We have an inter-party forum. The matter of dialogue can be discussed in the inter-party forum."

Asked about the notorious stick-wielding (kiboko) group in the city, the President said he did not know about it and asked Police chief Kale Kayihura to explain. Kayihura said it was made up of business people protecting their merchandise from demonstrators.

Museveni said people's businesses were their livelihoods and they would kill for it. Conservative Party president John Ken Lukyamuzi asked the President why he had not been paid his award for wrongful dismissal. In reply, Museveni ordered the Attorney General to ensure Lukyamuzi is paid.

Lukyamuzi wants sh70m, but Parliament says it is not responsible for the payment.

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