JUNE 17, 2010: Opposition Tell Off General Aronda on Demos

Opposition Tell Off General Aronda on Demos
 
SOURCE: The Monitor
 
By Gerald Bareebe
 

Opposition politicians have reacted furiously to the remarks made by the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, on Tuesday that the army will crush their demonstrators if they do not desist from using violence in settling their political disagreements.

The Forum for Democratic Change Secretary for defence and security, Maj. John Kazoora, said the general's remarks show how power has corrupted his intelligence and thoughts.

"The problem of the likes of Gen. Aronda is that power has corrupted their heads to an extent that they have stopped reasoning," Maj. Kazoora said. "We shall not be intimidated by such statements. We tried dialogue, it failed and we opted for demonstrations because we were being pushed to the wall."

Mr Reagan Okumu, FDC presidential envoy for campaigns and planning, described Gen. Aronda's statements as unprofessional, partisan and empty. "It is just an act of indiscipline," Mr Okumu said. "He knows very well that he is not supposed to engage in partisan politics but he has chosen to remain arrogant. We reject his comments and we demand an apology from him. Let him retire from the army so that he can wear NRM combat and confront us."

Gen. Aronda told journalists during a ceremony to send-off State Minister for Defence, Jeje Odongo, who retired from the army at the rank of General, that opposition politicians who use violence to solve political differences will be confronted with full military force if the police call for the army's reinforcement.

"I assure this country that we are ready to support the police in case of violence and we will do it in a very serious way." Gen. Aronda said. The Interparty Cooperation, a loose coalition of five opposition parties, has resolved to stage nationwide protest against Electoral Commission bosses who were reappointed last year despite widespread irregularities in the 2006 election which they oversaw. The Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the current EC was incompetent to preside over the country's general elections.

Partisan?

IPC spokesman, Mr Ssemuju Ibrahim Nganda, told Daily Monitor yesterday that Gen, Aronda's remarks were a sign of how President Museveni has entrenched the national army into his political party, the NRM.

"The problem with Gen. Aronda is that he is not an army commander because of his military and professional background but because of the current system. He therefore feels obliged to defend all the wrongs the system has done," Mr Ssemuju said.

"He should know that he is not serving an individual or a party but the whole country. If he wants to crush the opposition let him crush us but he should know that one day, he will be held accountable."

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