Former Security Minister Lt Gen (rtd) Henry Tumukunde has blamed President Yoweri Museveni for allowing violence, vote rigging and bribery to take centre stage in recently concluded National Resistance Movement (NRM) primaries.
Tumukunde, one of the bush war heros that participated in the guerilla war that brought the current government in power said that the vices which were seen in the recent party elections are some of the reasons that forced them to go to the bush to fight former President Dr Apollo Milton Obote.
Obote was first overthrown in a coup d’état in 1971 by General Idi Amin, who established a military dictatorship. Amin was overthrown in 1979 following the Uganda-Tanzania War, but his loyalists started the Bush War by launching an insurgency in the West Nile region in 1980. Subsequent elections saw Obote return to power in an UNLA-ruled government. Several opposition groups claimed the elections were rigged, and united as the NRA under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni to start an armed uprising against Obote’s government on 6 February 1981.
In a strong worded missive on Wednesday, Gen Tumukunde revealed that the values they fought for in the war that cost over half a million of lives of people are slowly being eroded away at the watch of President Museveni because he wants to cling onto power.
“Elections in Uganda have been reduced to a show of financial might and power by those in positions of responsibility. This presents a very dangerous trend that has been growing over the years, and if it is not addressed, the electoral process shall continue losing credibility and legitimacy. These most sacred of democratic tenets are being progressively eroded. They have been eroded by a government, which is averse to any differing political views, to the extent that holding such views is criminalised. The process of NRM internal elections has unveiled the sad reality that as a country, we have become inwardly and institutionally corrupt, militaristic, patronising, and institutions have been misused, especially the security ones that are expected to be politically impartial,” he said.
The presidential hopeful further noted that their intention to go in the bush was to see a beautiful Uganda free of violence where every person has the right to a fair chance, however, as the years go by, the values that they fought for over the fives years are fading away because of one or few groups of people.
“Many who sacrificed to bring this government into power and rid Uganda of dictatorship did not envisage that the situation would deteriorate to this level. I for one wanted to see an Uganda that respected democracy and the rule of law. An Uganda that was fair for all, an Uganda where every person had a fair chance in life, where people lived in peace and harmony. That is not where we are now. Something drastic must be done to restore normalcy in this beautiful country,” he added.
“Most importantly we, the people of Uganda, must not accept this as the new normal. We must not allow being drawn into senseless battles that leave us vulnerable to injustice just because a few individuals want to be elected to certain positions. Uganda is at a crossroads. We have a chance to choose between a political party which prides itself as the harbinger of chaos or a platform that promises a way forward for the Uganda that we all love. Uganda is a great country. I know this. I have had the chance to serve it in various capacities. I have been very proud to wear the uniform of our national institutions, which has now been reduced to aiding political war-mongers to excel in their game.”