Beginning of Ramadhan
The forum for democratic change (FDC) congratulates the entire Muslim community upon reaching the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of peace. We would like to ask our Muslim brothers and sisters to pray for peace in this country and the rest of the world during this month of Ramadhan. It is possible for human beings to co-exist and live in peace with each other. It is people of bad hearts with overwhelming appetite for power and wealth that have caused wanton suffering. Muslims must not only pray for peace but must shun these people who worship wealth instead of the almighty.
Congratulations upon reaching this month of Ramadhan. We wish you a peaceful fasting period. Ramadhan Kareem.
Disruption of FDC mobilization program.
As you are aware, the FDC launched a two months countrywide mobilization drive at the beginning of April. The mobilization includes meeting FDC leaders, the public at rallies and those who are unable to attend rallies through mainly radio talk shows.
The people we are meeting in town halls are FDC leaders. All these meetings have been blocked by Resident district commissioners and (RDCs) who are appointed and supervised by Mr. Museveni, police and other security agencies. The RDCs and police have switched off transmitters of radio stations and physically removed FDC president Eng. Patrick Amuriat, people’s president Dr. Kizza Besigye and other FDC leaders from studios.
In Kasese you all saw military vehicles, mambas being brought on streets. The operation in Kasese was headed by special forces command (SFC) which is an illegal outfit under our constitution and the UPDF act. This specialized military unit is secretly recruited by Mr. Museveni and he uses it the way he wants. There was real threat to life in Kasese. You need to speak to Dr. Besigye and Eng Amuriat to know what they personally went through to appreciate my point. In kiboga citizens demanding to meet their leaders were heavily brutalized by police and other state functionaries. We are solely creeping towards the Amin-Obote era.
These are very primitive methods of work that Mr. Museveni has employed to shield himself and his party from legitimate competition. Mr. Museveni agents working with police have teargassed innocent citizens buttered and destroyed their properties. As a party we condemn these actions and we want to warn Mr. Museveni once again not to stretch citizens beyond limits which has resulted in imprisonment and trial of former heads of state in Egypt and now in Sudan. When you batter citizens you make reconciliation very difficult.
As FDC we think Mr. Museveni should benefit from amnesty. He should be retired with dignity and facilitated to live the rest of his life comfortably. Let him not test the patience of citizens, he should learn from Bashir.
Despite these disruptions which we condemn, as a party we continue with our program, we will be in Buikwe tomorrow Tuesday and in Buyende to condole with citizens who lost dear ones and property in the devastating storm. We will continue with the rest of the program as earlier issued.
We welcome back Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi from prison. His arrest and trial like many others before is an attempt by the regime to intimidate citizens. We salute his resilience. It is possible to overwhelm the dictatorship, let everybody raise up. We must reclaim our country and our rights as citizens.
Deteriorating media freedom
Every year Uganda spends more than 16 billion shillings on economic and commercial diplomacy. The aim is to attract direct foreign investment and tourist into our country. In fact this year Shs.16bn has been requisitioned by ministry of foreign affairs. Each mission has asked for 355 million shillings.
Yet the same country is trying to market itself abroad, it is busy battling citizens and journalists. You are aware that every year we earn more than 1.3 trillion shillings from tourism which is the biggest foreign exchange earner for Uganda.
The whole of last week Uganda was in the international media for ordering 13 media stations to suspend their staff over live coverage of Bobi wine’s brutal arrest and the battling of citizens. The directive by the Uganda communications commission (UCC) which we now know was issued after Museveni quarreled over live coverage during a Monday cabinet meeting was illegal draconian. It must be rescinded immediately. These individuals issuing these directives should now be held responsible. Let them not taste the patience of citizens. We don’t want citizens to drag them to the NRM graveyard once Museveni has finally gone. They should know there is tomorrow.
As result of these excesses Uganda is now ranked country number 125 on the list of press freedom index by an international media freedom watchdog –reporters without borders. These 180 countries are categorised into five:- good situation, satisfactory, problematic, difficult and very serious situation.
Uganda is now in category 4 (difficult situation) together with countries like Zimbabwe, Rwanda and DRC. Agencies like UCC, police, SFC and other security agencies must know that they are contributing to this bad perception of our country. In fact they should be individually made to pick the bill for cleaning the country’s image.
Hon. Semujju Ibrahim Nganda
FDC Party spokesperson