By FARUK KIRUNDA
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA|After so much time wasted, so much scheming and so much false promises made, the opposition has been slapped in the face. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has dismissed a petition which sections of the opposition had filed against President Yoweri Museveni and government of Uganda in respect of clashes that broke out between security forces and militia allied to the Rwenzururu kingdom in 2016. The clashes saw a number of people and security officers killed.
Movers of the petition included four-time unsuccessful presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye, Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago and a host of other regulars in the politics of Uganda.
The team apparently collected two million signatures to lend a semblance of mass acceptance of the petition and paint a picture of widespread discontent at the human rights record of Uganda and the NRM leadership. How they drummed up the matter! You would think Museveni was going to hand over power and flee for dear life just by hearing that he was being dragged to ICC.
Where they expected to reap political capital, they have reaped shame because they should have known better that they had no case since we told them this during the time they were patching up the document.
From the beginning, the petition was laughable because President Museveni is the greatest defender of human rights, democracy and good governance. The petitioners were attempting to use the ICC to advance their political interests on account of failure to gain mass acceptance and popularity among Ugandans.
The ICC prosecutor ably responded and indicated why the petition lacked merit. The petitioners should sit down and internalise the document properly so that next time they do no waste everybody’s and their own time.
The whole thing was is a time wasting gimmick to blackmail the ICC and tarnish President Museveni’s name, hoping to dent his chance at reelection. Ironically, they have campaigned for him.
Personally, I don’t doubt that opposition is capable of staging anything to provoke the state and the public; anything to win sympathy or cause the fall of government. ICC should in fact look into their conduct regarding the Kasese incident and other violent outbreaks.
The petition further failed because the movers are the wrong parties. They are active politicians who have always abused the rights of other Ugandans who do not agree with their position including President Museveni. Besigye is a well knonw political rival of Museveni who has, over time, raised spurious allegations about the Principal to a level of provocation that very few leaders in the world today would tolerate.
Uganda is reputed as “an island of stability in a sea of volatility” because of the correct and people-responsive policies of the Museveni-led government. Uganda hosts the largest population of refugees in Africa, a role which has placed it among great host nations of people fleeing and persecuted in their home countries. How would so many people flee to a country with a deplorable human rights record?
Uganda is a free country where everybody enjoys their rights with dignity. But Ugandans also cherish that liberty so greatly that government cannot tolerate any group that comes around to try and distabilise that peace and freedom.
The Kasese conflict clearly fell in the ambit of an attempt to destabilize Uganda using illegal means. I commend ICC for meticulously studying the matter and reaching a proper conclusion.
Africans should learn to solve their problems internally and responsibly to prevent continuing to look ridiculous in the eyes of foreigners.
The author is a Presidential Assistant in Charge of Media Management